Salesforce.com has launched its cloud-based database service, Database.com, with a new ‘data residency option’ that allows customers to store sensitive data in-house.
Database.com provided an online, multi-tenant database service from Salesforce.com data centres in the US and Asia.
The service was unveiled last December; general availability commenced last week and drew more than 1000 new databases in the first 12 hours.
The data residency option was based on cloud security technology from Salesforce.com's newest acquisition, Navajo Systems.
It would be introduced next year to allow customers to store specific fields of data in-house and the rest of their databases in Salesforce.com’s cloud.
Chief executive officer Marc Benioff described the option as a “tremendous advancement of our cloud computing model”.
Although he retained a stringent definition of cloud computing as multitenant services, Benioff said some large, potential customers may have been unable to outsource aspects of their data due to corporate policies or government regulations.
“There may be specific situations – maybe in financial services – where they don’t give us every field [under the data residency option],” he said.
Benioff expected the data residency option to appeal a minority of customers who were “very important to us”, including “some very, very large banks”.
Australian banking regulator APRA considered cloud computing as a form of outsourcing.
Its APS231 outsourcing standard required any organisations that stored data with an outsourcer to demonstrate appropriate risk management procedures and allow APRA to conduct on-site visits to the service provider.
Benioff said Database.com customers taking up the data residency option would be able to “selectively choose which you would like to bring in and encrypt”.
In previous years, Salesforce.com has disputed other vendors’ use of the term “cloud” to describe hardware or software offerings.
Benioff again warned customers of “the false cloud” in a slide depicting a rebadged Oracle server at the Dreamforce conference this week.
In line with its positioning as a cloud company, Benioff said Salesforce.com would need to retain control of its applications so it could continue providing the software, maintenance and any upgrades as a service.
“I think that for us, the number one thing that we really need to hold on to is our applications,” he said.
“That means … we can continue to run our applications, provide upgrades or updates.”
Liz Tay travelled to the United States to attend VMworld and Dreamforce as a guest of VMware and Salesforce.com.