With the announcement that Salesforce.com will be launching database.com as a “Database-as-a-service (Daas)” sometime in 2011, a new frontier in database computing has been opened up, perhaps the first in 30 years since the relational data model and client-service architecture was introduced to the IT sector.
Ironically, the move potentially puts Salesforce.com in a long-range battle with the king of Enterprise on-premise databases, Oracle.com. I say ironic, since Marc Benioff, the founder of Saleforce is a former protégé of Oracle’s Larry Ellison; and because the database.com platform is powered by Oracle databases.
Quite possibly, the hype surrounding the release of this DaaS Internet product may actually live up to expectations.
Requiring no CD, no download and no software installation, users and developers will be able to deploy remote enterprise databases over the Internet with a few clicks of a button.
Database designers will be able to design schemas, construct queries, write stored procedures, engineer triggers, set up foreign relationship keys and design 1-to-many or many-to-many relationships — with no software.
Further, database.com offers wildly open API standards, which use protocols like SOAP to interface, for example, with Amazon EC2 servers and/or Facebook FBML pages.
Intriguingly, database.com has an in-built social framework including Chatter integration ability to allow collaboration and sharing.
Database.com, claims Salesforce, will remove the need to worry about backups, upgrades or maintenance. Salesforce engineers will complete all of this in the cloud.
Further, it will be able to run off any language, any platform, and perhaps most essentially for the future, any device.
Thus it’s said to be automatically elastic, massively scalable and most importantly claim Salesforce, trustworthy.
A recent report in Venture Beat correctly stated that many companies are reluctant to ship their data off to remote cloud servers and databases because they think it will be compromised. A lot of companies also have strict security regulations that keep them from jumping on board the cloud because of compliance issues. In fact, even Facebook said it would remain with Oracle for the time being before jumping aboard database.com.
Salesforce counters that these security fears are groundless and proves it by pointing to their security protocols and heavyweight customers.
“The most important feature of any database is trust. Database.com supports the most stringent security standards around. It has all the necessary physical and infrastructure security you demand,” said Steve Fisher, Senior Vice President, Platform Division, Salesforce.com
“In database.com security is not a bolt-on; it is an inherent part of the system.”
Fisher said that some of the biggest names involved in Internet security including Symantec, Cisco, Dell and others are using and stress testing database.com. Fisher claims that their suggestions and feedback have been used to improve the database.
By helping Symantec, they are affectively helping all database.com users. Based on this interaction with Salesforce cloud engineers Fisher said Database.com has one of the most secure and robust security models in the database enterprise market.
Thus, he said, the more users they add to the system the more secure the system becomes.
Fisher said that the old traditional model of database computing is too slow, outdated and inflexible to compete with the new Internet database model.
Database.com, the sixth cloud introduced by the CRM giant, will help power 180,000 customers already consuming other cloud services such as VMforce and Force.com.
Salesforce claims that last quarter 25 billion transactional requests were made to their various clouds which equates to roughly 3000 requests every second. These grew by 50% in one year, which they say would have been impossible in the old traditional database model.
Salesforce also claims that 10 billion records resided in their core databases in 2009. By the end of 2010 this number will exceed 20 billion; a 100% increase.
Intriguingly, Salesforce said that 60% of these database records were stored in ‘custom’ tables build by clients and not just standard out-the-box objects such as Leads, Contacts or Opportunities.
Further, all these 20 billion records are now ‘social’ via the release of new APIs, authentication protocols and a new generation of mobile applications.
Database.com, what Salesforce also calls a “cloud 2 database”, now opens up the doors to any developer, any language and any platform.
Let’s see how Oracle and Microsoft (via its Azure platform) respond to this massive development in the database cloud community over the next few months. We will keep you posted!
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