During Dreamforce 2017, Jeff Cheng and Rob Mercado gave a talk entitled Performance Optimization: Greater China Region and Beyond (see the full talk, and refer to the slides). In this post, we cover the portion of that talk relating to the China-specific performance issues and mitigations.
China has Unique Challenges
Living up to the reputation of delivering the world’s most trusted enterprise cloud in the Greater China region is a unique challenge. Along with the usual characteristics that can slow down any org, such as its design, how customers are using it, and the speed of the open internet, China’s infrastructure includes The Great Firewall (content is regulated at the national level) and in-country bandwidth congestion.
Salesforce Performance Principles
Salesforce commits to these four performance principles to help guide us in delivering the best performing cloud to all our customers worldwide, including China.
Trust is Salesforce’s #1 core value, and that value extends itself into everything we do, including Performance. Our plans for ‘better, faster’ never compromise on trust.
Performance at Scale
Salesforce is helping our customers grow their business. As we make infrastructure performance improvements and innovations, we also account for our customers’ growth. We design our infrastructure and processes for the long term.
Global Access for All
Our data centers are located in strategic global locations to optimize performance in every region. Our customers businesses have become more global, their users have become more global, and Salesforce continues to architect for this complex global traffic footprint.
We continuously explore and implement new innovations in global performance. When we find a way to optimize global performance, we implement it at scale for our customers.
Performance Optimization in the China Region
Customers anywhere can experience unoptimized performance that is not region specific. The design of your org, how your users access your applications, your network configuration, and the state of the open internet can all contribute to less than ideal performance. As mentioned above, in the Greater China region two specific categories of performance impact need to be taken into consideration.
The Great Firewall of China
The combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate the domestic Internet is known as The Great Firewall. Its practical effect can be to slow and disrupt traffic as it travels across political borders, sometimes resulting in a less than optimal user experience.
Local and Regional Congestion
Opportunities for performance improvement in China are not limited to international traffic. Regional and local ISP traffic inside of The Great Firewall is heavily congested during business hours, which compounds performance challenges, and results in inconsistent experiences for Salesforce users.
Salesforce Best Practices
Salesforce recommends the following three best practices to optimize performance and connectivity in Greater China: Salesforce Express Connect, Network Peering, and Content Data Networks (CDNs).
Salesforce Express Connect
A multi-partner program enabling our customers to access their Salesforce orgs via a private, reliable, secure connection (VPN) rather than using the public internet. In China, Salesforce Express Connect partners (Orange, TATA Communications) work with local Chinese network providers to make this available.
By working with major network providers, we can enable customers to connect directly with the same network that hosts the Salesforce application. This provides a more reliable connection and consistent user experience. Additionally Salesforce has privately peered with China Telecom to further improve connectivity from Greater China to the Salesforce global infrastructure.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
CDNs have been around for awhile, and they help to efficiently provide video streaming, software downloads, web and mobile content acceleration, and transparent caching. In China, we suggest ChinaCache (a Chinese licensed CDN provider).
Raising the Bar
In December 2016, Salesforce acquired Twin Prime. Twin Prime, now branded as Salesforce EDGE, utilizes machine-learning technology to improve connectivity and performance to Salesforce. Test data from initial pilots show at least 34% performance improvements.