The last day of Dreamforce ’12 was bittersweet. I am happy to get back home, not because the Marriot Marquis’ accommodations aren’t as nice as home (they’re actually nicer) it’s mostly cause I miss my family. Yet, I wish I could have had an extra week to pick the brains of the developers.
I had 2 breakout sessions and I attended the Q&A with Marc Benioff. The first breakout sessions dealt with non-profit organizations and their use of Salesforce.com. Winnie Stachelberg, who is Executive Vice President for External Affairs for The Center for American Progress was on hand. She lauded Salesforce.com and its ability to provide important data on the fly. Winnie said that the Center for American Progress uses Salesforce.com to keep track of their members and run reports to make sure that they match up relevant people. By this, she means that if there is a flash point in Kenya, for example, they send representatives who are experts on Kenyan affairs; or if there is an economic summit going on, that they send economists and so on. She says the low costs and ease of use are also major factors in their continued use of Salesforce.com.
The second breakout session was a virtual tour of the Salesforce.com infrastructure. From data center to data center, the presentation covered everything from database connections to routing and reinforced what makes Salesforce.com such a safe and secure place to store your data. What I found most amazing is that they maintain 5 copies of all the data in near real time synchronization and they also utilize a tape backup.
The Q&A session was amazing. Not in the sense that there was a lot to learn or that revelations would be made, but mostly it was amazing to see the personalities of the individuals who run Salesforce.com. Marc Benioff had his entire executive staff available to take questions, and they are wonderfully humble and easily approachable people. The vast majority of people either went to the microphone to thank the leadership for their service in the community through the Salesforce.com Foundation or to ask for money (seriously… most people went up to the mic to pitch some product and ask for money). Some people, however, had relevant questions about the product. It was one of these few relevant questions, which lead Marc to divulge that they are building and about to staff a major data center in Portland, Oregon.
This was the last session. After we came out of the Q&A we became witness to people scurrying about tearing down the banners, ripping up flooring and quickly bringing the convention facilities back to their normal state. I headed back to my room, packed up my belongings and headed out to take the BART to the airport. Until next November when I shall attend the next convention, so long San Francisco.