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6 Ways We Deliver on Our Promise of Availability and Performance

Jae Taylor
Apr 28 - 5 min read

As companies around the world rally to navigate the new global landscape, many are trying to reimagine their business and find new ways to thrive. As CIOs and business leaders focus efforts to adapt, they need reassurance that the platforms they depend on are highly available and highly performant. Salesforce serves as a critical foundation for many such businesses today.

As our CEO, Marc Benioff, noted in a recent update to customers — Salesforce was built for this. Trust has been our number one value since our company’s inception. As the #1 CRM in the world, Salesforce powers trillions of interactions. Availability and performance are core to the way we manage our services and operations.

“Salesforce was built to handle moments like this, and our relentless commitment to your success is stronger than ever.”

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

We are proactive

Commitment requires discipline, empathy, and consistency. Frontline medical workers across the world foster this type of commitment. Many of them are working tirelessly, showing undeniable work ethic and compassion every day. Their hard work continues to inspire and will for years to come. At Salesforce, we try to emulate that same attitude. We are committed to the quality of our services and we proactively work to make our systems resilient. Some key ways we do this are:

  • Site Switches
  • Org Migrations
  • Instance Refreshes

As unexpected events impact businesses, we may need to quickly pivot our environment using these techniques to ensure our performance is consistent.

Ready for the unexpected

Similar to how schools have fire drills to practice safety procedures, we routinely practice our ability to recover from a disaster as well. If one of our data centers (where our systems are physically running) has a disaster, we can direct user traffic to a completely separate data center located in a different region. This is called site switching. We have an intentionally redundant architecture, meaning we maintain two copies of our customer’s systems and services in two geographically diverse locations. We regularly execute site switches to ensure we can recover consistently and keep our systems highly available.

Right-sizing your instance

Within our multi-tenant architecture (meaning some resources are shared), we may need to make adjustments to keep the environment performant. Each of our customers use our platform differently and grow at varying rates. If a customer begins to grow at an accelerated rate, we may move them to a different set of hardware to match their utilization. This is called an Org Migration. Just like having shoes that are too big or too small will hinder the performance of an athlete, we want to fit customers with the right environment size.

Nothing lasts forever

Keeping with the shoe analogy, all good shoes come to an end. Hardware, just like shoes, have a limited lifetime and needs to be replaced at some point. We call this an Instance Refresh. If customers follow our best practices, this maintenance should be seamless.

If you’re a Salesforce customer, we want to make sure you are prepared and minimally impacted by our proactive measures. Our Trust Site provides real-time updates on our maintenance schedules along with availability and performance status. We’ll also work with you to do capacity evaluations and architecture assessments to help you plan.

We are ready to act

Andrea Leszek, Salesforce EVP, mentioned in her recent blog post how our geographically diverse teams have always ensured resilient operations. In a climate where the health of our employees is less predictable, this is even more important. Here are a few ways we remain ready:

  • Site Reliability Engineering coverage
  • Problem Management
  • Change and Release Management

Worldwide coverage

In the event of an issue, our Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team has you covered. SRE is focused on proactive incident detection, rapid incident response, and mitigation. They are global and always online, providing 24/7 support. In the case of regional disruptions, SRE maintains contingency plans including regional shift coverage, leveraging teams in other regions to complete critical work.

Solving the real problems

Sometimes merely fixing an issue doesn’t address the actual underlying problem. Our Problem Management team analyzes the data for trends across the organization and helps execute strategic initiatives to address them. This contributes to a data-driven culture of innovation, always looking for ways to improve global operations, reduce downtime, and automate remediation wherever possible.

Continuous innovation requires change

In order to continuously innovate and consistently release new features, you have to get really good at managing changes to your environment. Salesforce has put special emphasis on Change and Release Management in the last year to help ensure high quality and minimal impact to customers.

Throughout our development lifecycle, we continuously create and run tests. In fact, within the development phase alone we run over 1.2 million automated tests. After our initial development is completed, we focus on quality, hardening our release by resolving bugs and performance issues. During this phase, we execute over 200 million hammer tests written by our customers.

When our code is ready for prime time, we deploy the release to our internal production systems first (Salesforce on Salesforce). If there are any issues, we have a good chance of catching them with our large, internal implementations. When we feel our high quality bar is met, we use a staggered production deployment approach. We deploy the release to sandbox instances first, then to a smaller subset of production instances. After letting the changes bake and monitoring for health, we deploy to the next batch of instances.

At Salesforce, we have an unwavering commitment to deliver the highest standard in system availability and performance. Proactively managing our infrastructure, being ready to act, and setting a high quality bar for releases help us keep that commitment.

If you found this blog useful or have a question you’d like us to address, please list in the comments below or post on our Service Delivery Trailblazer Community.

If you want to learn more about Salesforce’s business continuity plans, read this FAQ, contact your account team or join the conversation on our Trailblazer Community. You can also follow the Leading Through Change series on our corporate blog to learn more about our customers’ initiatives to navigate these challenging times.

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