Thinks customers will like the option of moving software in-house.
Clint Oram isn't picky about cloud platforms. He wants SugarCRM to be run as a service from any one that customers want. "Our strategy is to run on all cloud platforms," says Oram, founder and VP of the open source CRM company.
That said, he does give a nod to Azure, where SugarCRM has been running the the past few months for a few customers. "Azure is by far one of the strongest platforms," he says. Oram adds that SugarCRM could move its code to Azure with very little engineering, despite being in PHP. Besides .Net, Azure now supports Java, Ruby, and Python as well PHP. That's important, as the platform-as-a-service competition expands: VMware and Salesforce.com just teamed up to bring Java to Salesforce's Force platform (see "VMware Plus Salesforce.com, An Unlikely Pair").
Oram thinks customers will like that Azure makes it easy to move both an application and data between an in-house data center and Microsoft's. While SugarCRM supports both MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, it runs SQL Azure in Microsoft's cloud. Oram says companies will take advantage of that compatibility. "You can opt to run SugarCRM on premises, keeping your data private, then decide to migrate to a SaaS strategy with very little engineering effort," he says. Moving to the cloud gives companies benefits such as automated high availability, he adds.
Since Azure offers standard relational database access to CRM data, companies could, Oram says, synchronize their data in the cloud with a matching set on premises. That would chew through some of the cloud's cost savings, but Oram believes it could become standard practice at some companies.