Feeds

Survival instinct drives Salesforce's Java embrace

Sweating with VMware

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Structure 2010 There's trouble at the top for Salesforce.com - and software developers are to blame.

Once riding the bow-wave of Silicon Valley's trends with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the company's opening it's proprietary heart to keep pace with the latest big new thing: cloud computing.

Chief executive Marc Benioff told Structure 2010 he's making a "big bet" by bringing Java into his hosted platform that has been a closed coding environment.

Salesforce.com last month announced VMforce, with VMware, to host Spring- and Tomcat-based Java applications on the Force.com service - like Heroku but for Java.

"We have to transform," Benioff told the San Francisco conference. "We're moving this forward because if you don't move forward you are going to get left behind."

Benioff claimed Salesforce is spending more than half its R&D reworking its core platform to cater to Java and also Chatter, the company's collaboration application launched this week. The core platform is based on an Oracle database and Salesforce's proprietary but "Java-like" Apex language.

Benioff's not the only one sweating - so, too, is Salesforce's new partner, VMware.

VMware chief executive Paul Maritz, speaking at the same event after Benioff, conceded he's worried about whether we are at the tail end of one generation of computing or the beginning of another and - if we are - whether VMware is missing out.

VMware made it's "big bet" a year ago by writing a "big check" - $362m in cash and stock - to buy SpringSource. VMware wants to work closely with developers using frameworks for application portability in a world of virtual machines in data centers running clouds.

"We got a lot of hard work ahead of us at the infrastructure level," Martiz claimed.

Salesforce, like VMware, is not exactly in trouble in terms of raw size and business performance. Since Benioff launched Salesforce.com in 1999, the company's notched up 70,000 customers - not bad considering it's been up against giants such as Oracle and Siebel in the enterprise, and battling an array of incumbents in what's commonly called the "mid-market."

Success, though, is founded on a customer base of non-technical suits and managers who care about or use line-of-business applications like CRM - in the early days, Salesforce provided the low-cost, easy-to-use alternative to software like Oracle and Sibel.

When it's come to customizing Salesforce and developing apps running on the platform, Salesforce's shtick has been to provide simplified programming with a drag-and-drop environment. That uses Apex so the suits didn't get snared in a thicket of curly brackets and command lines.

Salesforce might as well have lived on a different planet as far as the coders working with Java, PHP or even .NET is concerned.

Now, Salesforce's seen opportunity in hosting applications from those who've typically overlooked hosted CRM and SaaS. Java's been largely overlooked by cloud services providers.

It's also recognized the risk to its future inherent in being wedded to a single language not used by the coding world at large. Adding Java to Salesforce means coders inside existing and new customers can update and maintain their Salesforce applications. That openness is important as customers challenge the idea of relying on an external service that they cannot control or modify to the extent they want, and that does not let them move their data.

"We've been growing and working really hard for eleven-and-a-half years, but we have to work harder and go faster and make a bigger change," Benioff said.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.