Interesting things happening at SalesForce.com. I believe the recent events at SalesForce.com could influence the progress of Cloud Computing industry in a big way.
Its a Cloud database offering from SFDC. Using this DB, developers can write applications in any language of their choice, host it on the platform of their choice and connect to this cloud DB, as if they are connecting to on-premise database. There are news that some of the vendors are even developing database drivers (like JDBC) for database.com, so that development community can connect to the Cloud DB with ease. In fact, if those drivers become available, it will require very few changes for legacy apps to be able to talk to Cloud DB.
2. SalesForce.com acquire Heroku.com
Heroku.com is a Rails Cloud Provider. Anyone can write a Rails application and host it on Heroku cloud. With this acquisition, SFDC would have the capability to support Rails PaaS in addition to Java like Force.com platform. This would increase the choice of platforms available to end users for developing custom applications.
3. Cloud 2 Vision
In the DreamForce conference, SFDC CEO has unveiled its next version of Cloud Computing Strategy. And He goes on to say that SFDC architecture has been reworked to support mobile, cloud and social capablities. And now Enterprise business applications can acquire the capabilities of cloud/mobile and social, all three in one offering by partnering with SFDC. Sounds promising?. Its interesting to note that newly launched Database.com comes with native support for modeling social applications (such as integrating with profiles/connections) and connecting to mobile based applications. In a way, SFDC strategy is already demonstrated in databse.com offering.
It is good to see lots of traction on Cloud Computing and increased number of options becoming available to Cloud Development Community. With the rate of progression, I hope to see developers would using most of their standards languages and tool sets to work with Cloud with minimal or no changes to their existing skill sets. This will accelerate the adoption of cloud in the development community and subsequently the same community will influence the adoption within their respective organizations as well.
But, What bothers me is that - SFDC primarily is a business service provider to line of business users. But do you see the change in their course, now morphing themselves to become a platform vendor. And that transformation will only appeal to Enterprise IT and not the line of business users. No doubt, platforms are required to give rise to creation of new applications. But, I would personally like to see lots of innovative business applications served on SaaS from SFDC and others competing vendors and not just the infrastructure.
Another disturbing phenomenon is the disintegration of various layers in Cloud Computing. Now, if someone wants to develop a vanilla enterprise application from scratch, he/she can assemble various layers of the application from various clouds - application layer, database layer, [Am not sure someone provides UI layer/presentation frameworks alone on Cloud]. Now, just imagine, running a single transaction that spans across multiple networks, multiple data centers in different geographies. Am sure that would increase complexity of Enterprise Apps to multifold. And We would need a new set of tools to manage the complexity. I wouldn't be surprised if someone provides those tools also on the cloud..:-)