Dreamforce 2011: Salesforce.com attempts to assert PaaS power


Salesforce.com has tried to show off its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) skills with some new and some not-so-new announcements.

Financially speaking, PaaS does not directly provide more than 10 per cent of Salesforce.com revenue. Yet the company sees the platform as key to the creation of more socially-focused companies.

The cloud company thinks it has the platform suited to the development of the social enterprise. It all forms part of Salesforce.com's move to create the "Social Enterprise Platform."

"We have to let go of the old databases, the old application servers," said chief executive (CEO) Marc Benioff during this morning's keynote.

"Are you going to use the old tools? Are you going back to IBM? No, these old legacy platforms are being left behind. We need new platforms."

Today's announcements may not appease those hungry for some major PaaS developments at Dreamforce 2011, however. Benioff's firm focused on announcements from earlier this year.

We have to let go of the old databases, the old application servers.

Database.com the cloud company's database-as-a-service offering based on the underlying technology of Force.com has now gone on general availability. The service was actually announced at last year's Dreamforce.

A Data Residency Option (DRO) for Database.com was added, allowing companies to choose what data they want to have in the cloud and what information they need in house.

Siteforce, a website development tool which was also announced last year, will finally go on general availability from October, Salesforce.com announced.

There was a small update for Heroku too, with Enterprise Packages announced. Available from today, these packages will provide businesses with 24/7 assistance for work on the platform, as well as app monitoring to ensure applications are optimised for the client's needs.

With pricing packages starting from $4,000 per month, it appears Salesforce.com is attempting to truly monetise its Heroku platform, which it acquired last year.

The Heroku platform was opened up to more developers last month with the addition of Java applicability.

"There is nothing more important than the success of the developer. I learned that through 13 years at Oracle," Benioff added.

Elsewhere, Salesforce.com uncloaked a new visual workflow tool, described by the company as a "gamechanger." It allows developers to drag and drop sections in the UI, rather than use code to make changes. It comes with an open API so developers can extend the workflow tool to other applications.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.