Friday, December 10, 2010

Dreamforce 2010

This was my first Dreamforce and I have to say that Salesforce really knows how to put on a show. Nonetheless, it was a good take and worth the money and time. There was lots to see, plenty of people to talk to and a good number of significant Salesforce announcements . So here is my summary as it relates to app dev.

The biggest news is their mega jump into cloud-based application development with the announcements of the acquisition of Heroku, partnership with VMWare to offer the VMForce platform, and their abstraction of the Salesforce database platform into a product called

Clearly, Salesforce’s slew of recent offerings is their foray into the competition for cloud-based developers joining Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, and Microsoft’s Azure.

Salesforce is playing catch up. Amazon and Google leveraged their infrastructures for development and hosting services two years ago. Microsoft was talking about Azure soon thereafter and unveiled it for general release earlier this year.

However, with the acquisition of Heroku, a hosted application development platform for Ruby on Rails developers, and their 107K hosted applications, Salesforce has bought a development community. If you are going to be late to the game, they did a great job of catching up.

VMForce, which is a Salesforce/VMWare partnership, was unveiled this past summer and is geared towards the enterprise Java development community. Like Heroku, VMForce is a hosted application development environment.

Both Heroku and VMForce provide developers with the ability to code locally and publish to the cloud. is an abstracted version of the Salesforce database platform. The IDE is completely web-based and all development happens in the cloud. Like all demos, it looks pretty slick but time will tell whether it is scalable and its performance is up to the standards that application developers and their customers expect.

Salesforce has bet big on cloud-based application development. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out between them, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

P.S. A funny thing happened to me on my first day back from Dreamforce. I logged into LinkedIn today and saw a note in my message box from Microsoft offering me a trial version of Microsoft CRM Online. Weird coincidence ;)

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