Salesforce Challenges Oracle, Changes Future of the CloudWondering what the future of cloud computing holds? According to CEO Marc Benioff, it holds the enterprise. That is, the CRM company's latest release,, provides a hardware and software-free database alternative for storing the next wave of enterprise apps. It's searchable, automatically scalable, totally open, and sky high. 

The Next Evolution of Cloud Computing

Essentially, is's answer to Oracle's database systems marketplace. Revealed at this year's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Benioff's claimed that "the cloud is not a box" (Oracle, by contrast, launched Exalogic, a “cloud-in-a-box” hardware with a starting price of US$ 1 million). 

Accordingly, exhibits three associated core principals:

  • Any Platform: Accessible to developers on all platforms – cloud or on-premise – through standards-based API’s and protocols.
  • Any Language: Being open to any language is critical to supporting the innovation of the developer community. 
  • Any Device: This one gives a hat tip to the growing popularity of mobile devices. Databases must be open to use from any and all of these clients in a clean, consistent and secure manner.

database_open_platform.jpg core principals

On the security tip, has been designed to comply with major security certifications such as ISO 27001 and SAS 70. Moreover, because of multi-tenancy, any fix for an individual customer will automatically apply to all customers.

Goodbye, Maintenance 

This if obviously another major push for the cloud, and an additional way for companies to save money and free resources. For example, Salesforce argues that developers can now use their time to build more apps, rather than manage hardware and software. Why deal with the maintenance issues of a traditional client/server relational database when can a cloud database can automatically resolve th will be available as a standalone service in 2011. The offering will be free for three users, and up to 100,000 records and 50,000 transactions per month. Beyond that, customers will have to shell out US$ 10 per month for each set of 100,000 records beyond the first 100,000, and US$ 10 per month for each set of 150,000 transactions beyond the first 50,000. Basic services include database access, file storage and automatic administration.