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The Salesforce Trusted Infrastructure

Alex Dimitropoulos
Dec 20 - 5 min read

To kick off his keynote about the infrastructure supporting all Salesforce products and customers, EVP of Infrastructure Engineering and Chief Infrastructure Officer Randy Kern started with a bit of an understatement: “There’s a lot that happens on our systems every day, everywhere in the world.” He then delivered a whirlwind tour of this year’s most exciting infrastructure news and innovations, from further expanding Salesforce service locations through Public Cloud to beating a sustainability target — by more than 30 years. Read on!

The Five Elements of Trust

To run and continually improve its infrastructure, Salesforce relies on Five Elements of Trust.

  • Trusted Security — Keeping your data safe through unmatched application- and infrastructure-level security.
  • Always-On Availability — Allowing you to access the Salesforce service and your Salesforce data at any time.
  • Performance at Scale — Ensuring that the Salesforce platform and any applications that you build on it deliver excellent performance.
  • Multitenant Infrastructure — Delivering next-generation, efficiently shared infrastructure resources to your company and its Salesforce org.
  • Continuous Innovation — Continuously improving our infrastructure with minimal disruption.

Delivering Customer Success

In 2017, the Salesforce infrastructure became sleeker, more efficient, and better distributed.

Private or Public, It’s All Cloud Goodness

For 18 years, Salesforce CRM ran exclusively on Salesforce-managed data centers. 2017 marks the rapid growth of those data centers, as well as landmark deliveries of the Salesforce service through Public Cloud.

Salesforce Data Centers
Salesforce follows a build-forward strategy, regularly refreshing its instances to ensure the best possible performance and availability. It’s a “spring cleaning” that the company continuously dedicated to.

  • Adding instances — So far this year, Salesforce added 84 new instances to its data centers, more than twice as many as were added in 2016. (A Salesforce instance is a logically contained unit of the Salesforce infrastructure that hosts Salesforce orgs.)
  • Refreshing instances — To manage infrastructure capacity, deliver innovative infrastructure upgrades, and ensure that your instance gets the best performance possible, Salesforce sometimes needs to perform something called an instance refresh. During an instance refresh, an instance’s orgs are migrated, often to an instance with newer-generation hardware than the original. In 2016, refreshing a single instance took about four hours. In 2017, Salesforce performed 14 instance refreshes simultaneously in two hours.
  • New Marketing Cloud data center — It’s in Dallas, Texas!

Public Cloud
Through Public Cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Salesforce can get its service up and running in new-to-Salesforce geographies quickly, while still providing the same Salesforce service that customers know and trust.

  • Public Cloud debut — By leveraging AWS, Salesforce was able to deliver its service through Public Cloud to two new locations in 2017: Canada and Australia.
  • Learning fast — Setting up Salesforce service in its second-ever Public Cloud location (Australia) took less than half the time than setting it up in the first (in Canada).

Taking High Availability Even Higher

In 2017, we’re “giving you more and more useful time out of the system,” Randy said. Thanks in part to smaller planned maintenance windows, “we’ve returned almost 25% of that time back to customers,” he said.

  • Overall site availability — Salesforce has upped it year over year! In 2016, it rose from 99.97% to 99.98%. As of October 2017, the 2017 availability percentage is even higher: 99.99%.
  • Recovery from events — To ensure that you can continue to operate on Salesforce effectively, even when disaster strikes, Salesforce is now site-switching each instance twice per year. Site switching involves redirecting data traffic from an active instance to its ready instance, which then acts as the new active instance. You continue with the same login journey and are seamlessly directed to your active instance.

No-Pain Performance Gains

“Even with massive growth, in the past two years, we’ve had almost twice the number of transactions and have managed to improve transaction speed by 30%,” Randy said.

The mobile news was just as exciting. This year, Salesforce acquired TwinPrime (now “EDGE”), a company intently focused on improving mobile performance using machine learning. In a Salesforce EDGE pilot program, a customer saw a 63% performance improvement in China. “Imagine the amount of time that puts back in users’ hands,” Randy said. In an internal pilot, which involved testing the performance of the Salesforce mobile app in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, EDGE improved mobile performance 42% in the United States and 35% in Japan.

Going, Going, Green: Salesforce Sustainability

Salesforce became carbon neutral this year — more than 30 years ahead of schedule. “By focusing on the power efficiency of our physical equipment, we’re able to ensure we’re getting the most effective systems and operations back to our customers with the smallest environmental footprint possible,” Randy said.

Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you attended Dreamforce, you’re probably quite familiar with the session disclaimer about forward-looking statements. Make your purchasing decisions based on what Salesforce currently offers, not what it’s planning for the future! Speaking of the future…

“We’ll be ready, we’ll be there with you,” Randy said. Salesforce will be GDPR-ready by May 2018, when the regulation replaces the current set of national privacy laws in the European Union (EU) member states. It represents the first major change to EU privacy laws in more than 20 years.

To dispel a couple of myths:

  • It’s about the people who reside in the EU and their data, not where that data is hosted.
  • It applies to all companies, not just EU ones.

Key Takeaways

The Salesforce infrastructure is the bedrock of the Salesforce platform, and it’s built on a foundation of Trust. No matter how Salesforce service is delivered — through Salesforce data centers or Public Cloud, to mobile phones or other devices — the company treats its security, availability, and performance as its top priority. Salesforce is committed to continually improving its service, and earning your trust and business, and we’re looking forward to delivering even more infrastructure value to you in 2018.

Check out the recording of the Salesforce Trusted Infrastructure keynote presentation!

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