So-called 'first' cloud database targets next-gen enterprise apps

Database.com can be used with Salesforce.com's or others' cloud services

Billing it as the first database for the cloud, Salesforce.com has announced Database.com, targeted at next-generation enterprise apps. Database.com, the underlying infrastructure for the company's Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Force.com, is aimed at powering cloud, social and mobile apps running on its namesake service.

The company announced Database.com at its annual Dreamforce conference, taking place this week in San Francisco. Salesforce.com bills Database.com as a language independent database that can be accessed by any platform or device. It will be commercially available at an unspecified time next year but is available for free trials now.

"We see cloud databases as a massive market opportunity that will power the shift to enterprise applications that are natively cloud, mobile and social," said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "For the first time, we are making Database.com, the database that is proven and trusted by our 87,000 customers, available as an open, stand-alone service to accelerate the creation of these new apps."

Calling it the first database for the cloud may be open for debate. Among others, Amazon Web Services offers SimpleDB and Microsoft offers SQL Azure. But Salesforce.com is billing Database.com as a platform aimed at next-generation apps that can be used with its own or other cloud services.

According to the company, Database.com will support applications written in any language, including Java, Microsoft's C#, Ruby and PHP, among others. It will provide connectivity via the REST or SOAP APIs. It supports identity access standards oAuth and SAML.

In addition to running their apps on Force.com, apps developed for Database.com will run on VMware's VMforce, Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, the Ruby-based Heroku and Microsoft's Windows Azure. The company said apps written for Database.com can run on a number of devices including Android, iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry.

Salesforce has released developer tools for Java, .NET, Ruby, PHP, iOS, Android, Google AppEngine, Google Data, Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Twitter and Adobe Flash/Flex. The tools are available at Database.com. In support of social apps, the company said it is designed to support activity feed schema and APIs for posting comments and providing user notification of activities.

While the trial usage is free, once it is released, the service will be priced at $10 per month for each set of 100,000 records. Thereafter, it will be priced at $10 per month for each set of 150,000 transactions. It is free for three users with databases up to 100,000 records and 50,000 transactions per month.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner and an editor-at-large at Redmond magazine, affiliate publications of Government Computer News.

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