UK government still dragging its feet on cloud says Salesforce boss

Salesforce logo with software image crossed out

The UK government is “way behind” when it comes to cloud computing and has backed the wrong horse by committing to the G-Cloud concept.

That's the view of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaking at the company's Cloudforce event in London. The ebullient cloud evangelist said that governments around the world were not moving quickly enough to embrace the sorts of changes that businesses were making.

Benioff, who revealed that he has spent time in the UK talking to Francis Maude, the cabinet minister responsible for IT, said that many of the government’s problems in the UK were the problems shared in the US. “Governments have too many data centres - In the US, we have 3,500 government data centres all of which have single-figure utilisation. The UK has single-figure utilisation rates too and needs to start consolidating them."

However, he warned that the government was not looking at all the options. “The UK government is way behind and is far too interested in the G-Cloud and virtualisation,” he said.

In his keynote presentation, Benioff introduced a UK audience to the offerings that the company had unveiled at its Dreamforce including the company’s Data Residency Option which offers customers the option of hosting some of its data within their own data centres.

In a briefing afterward, Benioff stressed that this wasn’t about the company turning back on its commitment to the public cloud. “There’s been some confusion about this,” he said. “It’s about the evolution of the cloud product – they may be some information you want to keep encrypted in a secret installation. Moving a bit of a data is a lot different from a whole scale migration,” he said.

Benioff also confirmed that the company was looking to open a London data centre and was on schedule to open it in 2012. “We’ve been looking at vendors have narrowed it down to four and will be making a selection soon,” he said.

In his keynote, he also made a swipe at established IT vendors’ attempts to get into the cloud business when he spoke of what he called the False Cloud, when major IT vendors tied their cloud offerings to particular hardware: it’s not efficient; not democratic; not environmental and not economic, he said.

Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.