September 15, 2011

salesforce.com, force.com, database.com, data.com, heroku.com — notes and context

As previously noted, I attended Dreamforce, the user conference for my clients at salesforce.com. When I work with them, I focus primarily on database.com and related businesses. I’ve had to struggle a bit, however, to sort out the various pieces, and specifically the differences among:

The pricing for force.com and database.com is clearly designed for enterprise SaaS applications whose users will be inside customer organizations. If you want to do something public-facing, prices are prohibitive without a special deal. That’s the bad news. The good news is that salesforce.com says, publicly and privately, that it’s indeed open to cutting such volume pricing deals.

When I talked with CTOs and the like at some Dreamforce-exhibiting SaaS vendors, on the whole they seemed very happy with force.com. The one repeated complaint was that force.com imposed unpleasant rate limits (e.g., number of API calls). Working around those limits involves unnatural acts of coding, phones calls to helpful salesforce.com staffers to get the limits raised, or both. When I talked with salesforce.com cofounder Parker Harris, he seemed painfully aware of the problem, and indicated that relaxing the limits is an important technical goal.

The other force.com weakness I uncovered was expected — while it may be great as long as your application matches its implicit assumptions, there are some things it can’t easily do. This has been a recurring issue since database-oriented 4GLs (Fourth-Generation Languages) came around in the 1980s. For example, one firm wanted a Flash UI — I’m not sure why — and went outside force.com for that part of the application.

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2 Responses to “salesforce.com, force.com, database.com, data.com, heroku.com — notes and context”

  1. The database architecture of salesforce.com, force.com, and database.com | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on September 15th, 2011 11:10 am

    [...] salesforce.com, force.com, and database.com use exactly the same database infrastructure and archite…. That’s the good news. The bad news is that salesforce.com is somewhat obscure about technical details, for reasons such as: [...]

  2. Dreamforce Video on Hybrid IT: The Importance of Integration to Salesforce Success « In(tegrate) the Clouds on September 16th, 2011 1:16 pm

    [...] salesforce.com, force.com, database.com, data.com, heroku.com – notes and context (dbms2.com) [...]

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