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Salesforce to cut its dependency on Oracle with a new project

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May 17, 2016

Salesforce said today it is working to cut its dependency on Oracle with a new initiative it calls Sayonara.

The cloud-CRM provider’s new project is reported to be headed by former Microsoft software architect Pat Helland who co-developed Microsoft’s first-generation Bing search engine.

Helland worked on Bing’s Cosmos-– a multi-tenanted system architecture of massively parallel computation to slice-and-dice several petabytes of data and achieve a new level of performance in number crunching.

Helland joined Salesforce.com in March 2012 to a “cloud-based multi-tenanted file system and database technology”, according to the site LinkedIn.

Salesforce refused to comment on what it called “rumors.” The SaaS-CRM cloud initiative has been anchored on a multi-tenant version of Oracle’s relational database from the beginning of Salesforce’s life.

While not commenting for now, moving off Oracle would be consistent with a new trend emerging at other Oracle customers, some IT industry observers say.

Namely, reducing dependency on a single vendor in a critical business area. Oracle has many tentacles these days and Salesforce.com is well aware of that.

That would be important for a company the size of Salesforce that’s intent on growing and hitting $10 billion in annual revenue but that has yet to make a profit.

Ironically, the Salesforce’s chief operating officer Keith Block is ex-oracle, former head of U.S. sales.

Dropping Oracle would be Salesforce’s second biggest platform switch in its seventeen-year history, however.

Eight years ago, Marc Benioff’s company ripped out the former Sun Microsystems’ Sun Fire Sparc servers from the data centers running its cloud for x86 systems from Dell.

At the time, Marc Benioff said Dell offered the “highest quality/lowest cost.” “The Sun has set at Salesforce,” Benioff asserted.

For its part, Salesforce has tried to branch out of Oracle in recent history-- it acquired AWS-based Heroku for $212 million six years ago.

The firm’s Internet of Things cloud, announced in September 2015, will also run on AWS via Heroku.

Also, there have been lesser attempts to break out from the Oracle architecture that seem to have failed.

In November 2013, Hewlett-Packard partnered with Salesforce on a Superpod, for a dedicated instance in the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud, on Converged Infrastructure HP hardware.

But little (if any) seems to have come from VMforce, a 2010 partnership with VMware to run Java apps on Salesforce's Oracle-powered stack. We'll keep you informed.

Source: Salesforce.

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