Dec 9, 2008

Tech - Salesforce.com, Google Enlarge Their Cloud Alliance

Barry Levine

The cloud for enterprises is getting bigger. Salesforce.com and Google announced that they are expanding their alliance to provide Software as a Service (SaaS) for businesses.

The announcement focuses on Salesforce's connection of its Force.com development platform to Google's App Engine.

Last Month, Amazon

Available now in preview, Google's App Engine allows developers to quickly build and scale Web applications. Last month, Salesforce also announced a comparable alliance with Amazon Web Services, enabling the use of Force.com's database, logic and user interface together with the storage and computing capabilities of Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services.

In the Amazon deal, Salesforce said "developers can access these services from within the Force.com platform to build applications that seamlessly span both clouds."

The expanded alliance between Google and Salesforce is expected to integrate business data on Force.com with the applications and tools offered by Google.

The announcement expands on a strategic global alliance that Salesforce and Google announced in June 2007. One of the new offerings at that time was Salesforce Group Edition, featuring Google AdWords, which provided integration of ad options with Salesforce CRM applications.

This enabled small and midsize businesses to advertise their products and services and, using Group Edition, to capture leads, track opportunities through a sales cycle, analyze growth, and mashup other business applications using Salesforce.com's AppExchange directory.

'Makes Perfect Sense'

Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Corps, said the enlarged alliance between Google and Salesforce "makes perfect sense," since businesses want "all pertinent data right away" from anywhere, and the more kinds of applications to use the data, the better.

Such cloud computing will take a while to become fully mainstream for small and midsize businesses, she added, but economies of scale and the ability for these businesses to have such capacity without large IT departments will drive the adoption.

Salesforce has described itself as an "enterprise cloud computing company" as it tries to expand its appeal to those companies that don't want to handle servers, software updates and major IT departments. In fact, company officials have even said their ultimate goal is "the end of software as we know it," replaced by services licensed as needed.

In recent months, Salesforce has been aggressively seeking to expand its positioning in the world of business cloud computing.

In November, for instance, it announced Force.com Sites, a service for businesses to build and host Web sites utilizing applications and data from Salesforce.

And Salesforce is trying to expand the world of enterprise SaaS into the world of social networking, having made a deal with Facebook to incorporate Salesforce applications, such as a recruiting tool, into the popular social-networking site.

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