Salesforce to Launch Government Cloud

Leading Web-based CRM vendor Salesforce.com looks to build on its established position as government cloud supplier with new dedicated, multi-tenant cloud, app marketplace and integrator training program.

By Kenneth Corbin
Wed, April 25, 2012

CIO — Salesforce.com, already a leading provider of cloud services to the public sector, is doubling down on its government business, unveiling on Wednesday a major initiative to host federal, state and local agencies' computing operations in a multi-tenant cloud environment, along with a new app marketplace and a training program to equip integrators with the skills to help government clients shift to the cloud.

The cornerstone of Saleforce's announcement is a new government cloud, a multi-tenant, dedicated cloud computing environment for public-sector databases and applications.

Modeled after Salesforce's existing multi-tenant architecture, the government cloud will enable agencies and government-approved outside organizations to rapidly scale their deployments as their computing demands grow or shrink, with a particular emphasis on delivering to government clients the social and collaborative features that have already taken a firm hold in the enterprise.

"Today what we see is a social revolution and that social revolution is all about the social enterprise," said Dan Burton, senior vice president for the global public sector. "Our whole focus today is to lead the way to the social enterprise."

Salesforce already has a strong foothold in the government market, boasting that more than two-thirds of Cabinet-level agencies and the governments of 80 percent of the states have already deployed the company's cloud services.

Feds Embrace 'Cloud First' Strategy

At the federal level, the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to advance cloud computing ahead of legacy technologies, including a so-called "cloud first" policy, a government-wide initiative directing agencies to prioritize cloud solutions over traditional alternatives as they plan new IT deployments. The architect of the cloud-first policy, Vivek Kundra, the nation's first federal CIO, has since left government to join Salesforce as an executive vice president in January.

In addition to the cloud-first policy, some of Kundra's most notable initiatives centered around cloud computing and working to streamline the federal government's $80 billion IT apparatus, including the launch of Apps.gov, an online marketplace for cloud applications geared for government, and an ambitious initiative to consolidate federal data centers.

Salesforce is including its own gallery of apps with the announcement of its government cloud. The AppExchange for Government, built on Force.com and patterned after the firm's AppExchange for the private sector, will launch with more than 60 applications specifically geared for government entities. Salesforce has allowed some 30 trusted providers to showcase their products on the marketplace, which will offer public-sector clients a mix of free and fee-based applications.

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