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Independent Salesforce Review

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Salesforce.com Hosting Review

Hosting and Software Delivery
Salesforce.com is only available in the software as a service (SaaS) model. There is no option for a private cloud or on-premises installation.

Salesforce runs its software products from tier 4 data center hosts managed by collocation companies, such as Equinox, Inc. The hosting structure is a shared multi-tenant architecture, subdivided into hardware clusters known as pods, with each pod made up of about 35 multi-processor Unix and Linux servers running the Oracle database. Pods are mirrored for high-availability and fail-over purposes.

Taking a lesson from some early days of repeated downtime, Salesforce created trust.salesforce.com to publicly display uptime performance. This delivers both uptime/downtime visibility as well as transparency, although it would be helpful to potential prospects if the company chose to display more than just the last 30 days of performance visibility.

Salesforce.com data center operations are heavily concentrated in the California facility, with customer data mirrored to an East Coast location. The company also operates smaller data centers in Singapore and Japan to address the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Japanese markets. Notably, there is a shortage of data centers in Europe, which may cause concern for companies in individual European countries with cultural or regulatory data privacy requirements which advocate data residing in an in-country or regional (EU) data center. This is most prevalent to European organizations in the financial services, health care and government sectors.

Salesforce.com data center operations have received ISO 27001 and other audit attestations as well as SysTrust and EU Safe Harbor certifications.

Surprisingly, Salesforce.com provides one of the least effective Service Level Agreements (SLA) in the cloud CRM industry. In fact, Salesforce generally doesn't even provide an SLA unless the customer requests or negotiates it. Even then, the SLAs are not strong as their uptime thresholds fall below competitors and their maintenance windows are plentiful.

For business continuity purposes, Salesforce says it supports disaster recovery with a dedicated team and a 4 hour recovery point objective (RPO) and 12 hour recovery time objective (RTO).

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