Amazon Web Services (AWS) is to become the preferred public cloud infrastructure provider for Salesforce, one of the world’s largest software vendors, it was announced this week.

The move will support Salesforce’s international expansion plans, it said, and provide the support necessitated by the launch of its recently announced Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud service.

Deepening ties

A Salesforce office in Mexico City – Salesforce

The new service is designed to link the platform to everything that sends or receives a digital message, including data from websites, applications and social interactions, as well as smartphones, desktop computers and other physical devices that constitute the Internet of Things.

The platform is currently in the testing phase ahead of the expected launch in the second half of 2016.

Salesforce’s use of AWS will extend to its core Analytics Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud platforms, although the company still plans to retain its own computing infrastructure, it said.

The deal deepens existing ties between the two companies, with Salesforce already employing AWS’ cloud services to deliver its Heroku, Marketing Cloud, Social Studio and SalesforceIQ applications.

The agreement is a notable shift for the company which traditionally preferred to use its own infrastructure.

A CRN article framed the significance of Salesforce’s move as a step away from Microsoft’s Azure public cloud service, since some of the company’s products compete with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM software.

The partnership will be of most benefit in foreign markets where laws demand the presence of an operator within the nation’s borders, said Andi Giri, managing director of the Salesforce practice for SaaS provider Softsquare. Calling on AWS’ vast network would, in such instances, be preferable to building new centers in these territories, he said.

This sentiment was shared by Brent Bracelin, an analyst at Pacific Crest. In a research note he asked: “Why build when you can rent part of the $17 billion investment AWS will have made into a global footprint of data centers and machines by year-end? Over the next five years, we estimate investments could top $50 billion if demand for its cloud services continues to rise.”

The deal between Salesforce and AWS mirrors a wider trend of using more than one cloud service provider and calling on rival services. Apple earlier this year moved parts of its iCloud network onto the Google Cloud Platform, even while it maintains a presence with both AWS and Azure.

Similarly, Netflix runs its video streaming site on AWS even though Amazon operates one of the service’s major adversaries, Amazon Instant Video.

Two weeks ago, Salesforce customers across the US were affected by an outage lasting more than 12 hours - and suffered subsequent data loss - caused by a bug in the firmware of its storage arrays, as reported in the Register.