The completion of its $212 million acquisition of the Heroku Ruby-based cloud platform gives Salesforce.com access to Ruby developers building next-generation web apps.
Salesforce.com has announced the completion of its acquisition of
Heroku, the privately held cloud platform for writing Ruby-based
Salesforce.com initially announced a definitive agreement to acquire
Heroku on Dec. 8 and completed the $212 million acquisition within a
month. The acquisition positions Salesforce.com to take a greater share
of the public cloud services market, projected by IDC to reach $55.5
billion in 2014.
The Heroku Ruby PAAS (platform as a service) is built from the
ground up to work in an open environment and take advantage of the Ruby
language. Ruby has become a popular programming language for writing
so-called "Cloud 2" applications that are social, collaborative and
deliver real-time access to information across mobile devices. Today,
Heroku powers more than 110,000 apps, written by Ruby developers.
"Heroku is the leading Ruby application platform and Ruby is the
language of the future, driving the next generation of cloud
applications that are real-time, social and mobile," said Marc Benioff,
chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, in a statement. "With Heroku, our
platform can become the cornerstone of the next-generation of cloud
"Cloud app platforms are redefining how applications are built and
run -- with an order of magnitude improvement in developer productivity
and business agility," said Byron Sebastian, CEO of Heroku, also in a
statement. "We're excited about accelerating Heroku's -- and Ruby's --
momentum in leading this industry transformation."
Salesforce.com officials said the company anticipates that the
Heroku acquisition will help Salesforce attract and serve a critical
mass of developers, customers and ISVs wanting an open, scalable and
trusted Cloud 2 platform. Heroku and Salesforce.com share a common
vision of providing an open and portable programming environment that
does not require customers to take on the expense or maintenance
headaches that come with buying and deploying hardware and software. In
fact, Heroku was built with the same multitenant philosophy that is the
hallmark of Salesforce.com's Force.com platform, the company said.
Salesforce.com not only gains a highly talented team and access to
the rapidly expanding community of Ruby developers, but also gets
technology and intellectual property assets. Salesforce.com expects
that -- together with VMforce, the enterprise Java cloud for the more
than 6 million Java developers -- Heroku will enable the company to
become a leading platform provider for a broad array of Cloud 2
Heroku was founded
in 2007 by application developers for application developers, with the
goal of making the deployment and management of next-generation cloud
apps as easy as developing them. The application platform features a
workflow and interface designed to mirror how developers work. Because
the platform is a service, there are no virtual machines to manage, no
software to install, and no hardware to manage and tune, Salesforce.com
officials said. Developers can focus on writing their code, and Heroku
takes care of everything else -- from deployment to scaling and quality
of service. That focus on the developer experience has translated into
a passionate following and rapid growth.
Some observers view the Salesforce acquisition of
Heroku as a wakeup call for competitors such as Microsoft. Indeed, one
industry analyst, who requested anonymity, said, "Salesforce has built
this incredibly powerful set of hosted APIs that obviate the need for
business software running on Windows servers. Obviously, everyone knows
Salesforce and Oracle and SAP fight with each other constantly. But if
Salesforce has a great set of business APIs, a killer hosting solution
(you can use AWS, too, if you want), and great tools, there would be
less reason to purchase off the shelf software and Windows servers to
host them on. Putting aside Microsoft's substantial platform woes, the
Heroku move is big because it provides on-demand infrastructure
provisioning and a great set of developer tools all on the Salesforce
platform. Microsoft doesn't have anything nearly this easy for business
However, not everyone sees the Heroku move as a
positive. John Dillon, CEO of Engine Yard, a maker of Ruby on Rails
platform-as-a-service products for Web developers and Web teams, said,
"No respectable developer wants to be on Salesforce.com. This could
drive even more developers to Engine Yard's open platform."
Yet Dillon also notes that Salesforce.com's
acquisition of Heroku brings increased industry attention to Ruby as a
development alternative. "Ruby is the language for the cloud,"
Dillon said. "If you are building apps, and you are building on the
cloud, you have to build with Ruby. This deal validates it again, just
as the VMware deal did. However, both Salesforce.com and Heroku's
multitenancy approach is the wrong way to go. We believe virtualization
is a better value for any type of company that builds applications. The
value of Ruby developers is becoming a premium as this becomes the
language for the cloud. This is how many businesses will be built and
this is the best way they can scale."
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.