Salesforce.com to add three data centers in Europe

Strong revenue growth in Europe prompted the investment, not NSA jitters, a spokesman says

Salesforce.com is planning to open three data centers in Europe, as well as create 500 additional jobs there after posting a 41 percent jump in European revenue during its fiscal 2014.

The company will open its first U.K. data center in August and additional ones in France and Germany during 2015, according to an announcement on Monday.

Salesforce.com first announced plans for the U.K. center in May 2013.

While lowering application latency is one common reason cloud software vendors expand data center operations, Salesforce.com's planned investments in Europe could also serve to ease potential jitters being felt by European customers over storing their information in U.S. locations following revelations of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency.

A Salesforce.com spokesperson denied this was a consideration in the company's plans, saying the new data centers will be built "as a result of our tremendous growth and customer momentum" in Europe.

The additional centers will also give Salesforce.com more infrastructure for load balancing and disaster recovery for its growing family of cloud software products.

"All major U.S. cloud companies are adding European data centers and ones in [Asia-Pacific]," said analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research. "I think the impact of the NSA and Snowden has been a catalyst, as well as tightening data privacy laws."

In August, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation released a study that estimated the U.S. cloud computing industry could lose up to US$35 billion over the following three years from fallout over the Snowden revelations.

But by building out a global data center footprint and making sure current and prospective customers know about it, Salesforce.com and other SaaS (software-as-a-service) vendors stand to sidestep that financial hit.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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