I was reading Salesforce.com announcement made earlier this month during Dreamforce 2010 conference about introduction of a new database.com platform. I found it as an interesting turn in the future cloud platform development. You can take a look on a short video introducing the new element of Salesforce.com platform.
What is database.com is about? The main driver behind this is how to solve a problem of fast application development and deployment. Before that introducing, Salesforce spent time introducing multiple clouds- basically imitating product portfolios in a traditional application form. However, the limit of such an approach and the ability of 3rd party developers are very critical. So, database.com is coming to solve the problem.
Database.com and the database cloud is an interesting announcement on several fronts. In the simplest form, developers should find the offering of interest since many are looking to deploy apps that provide ubiquitous access, multi-device, multi-OS, etc. Having a cloud ready database to use for development could speed up that process. Database.com is the latest in Salesforce utilizing assets that they already had developed by putting a public front end on the asset and offering it as a product. If you think about it, when Salesforce.com started in 1999, building applications for SaaS was new and they had no available cloud platforms including the database tier. They had to develop all of these assets and now that they are mature Salesforce is opening them up for other ISV’s to use, starting with the Force.com platform and now with the Database.com offering. Database.com supports any development platform, any development language and any device. With the offering ISV’s get a scalable multi-tenant database with automatic upgrades, tuning and backup.
Platforms, Cloud, Data
Data is playing a significant role in every computing platform. We can see multiple efforts of platform players to provide data management solutions on cloud. The most significant players in this space, in my view, are Amazon, Google, Microsoft. Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) is a web service that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. SQL Azure is a highly available, scalable, multi-tenant database service hosted by Microsoft in the cloud. Google and some other vendors are rolling out their own proprietary data management and database technologies.
PLM Cloud Data
Earlier in 2010 CAD and PLM vendors made some announcements and introduced applications and researches leveraging cloud. However, a very small emphasize was made in the context of how data will be places and management on the cloud. The most prolific statements were made by Dassault and SolidWorks. DS V6 platform was mentioned as a future cloud platform. In my conversation with Jeff Ray of SolidWorks, he mentioned the first cloud V6 enabled product (the current name – SolidWorks Connect) to be available later in 2011. PTC and Siemens PLM are keeping neutral positions with regards to the availability of their product on cloud.
What is my conclusion? Data becomes an important piece in the next step of cloud platform development. In my view, Salesforce.com is proving that by introducing database.com cloud layer. This data layer takes us back to a very fundamental point of granular and flexible data management introduced in PDM back 15 years ago. To manipulate data on cloud can be a next serious differentiation characteristic of future PLM cloud platforms. Just my thoughts…