Salesforce.com's acquisition of cloud-application Heroku is a play for Ruby developers and their Ruby-based applications, according to analysts.
Salesforce.com has signed a definitive agreement to acquire
cloud-application company Heroku for approximately $212 million. Heroku offers
a cloud application platform for Ruby-based applications.
"The next era of cloud computing is social, mobile and
real-time. I call it Cloud 2," Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, wrote
in a Dec. 8 statement posted on his company's Website
. "Ruby is the
language of Cloud 2, and Heroku is the leading Ruby application
PAAS (platform as a service) for Cloud 2 that is fueling this growing
Salesforce believes that Heroku's assets will allow it to
make a robust play in the public IT cloud-services sector, predicted by
research firm IDC to become a $55.5 billion worldwide market by 2014. The
acquisition's expected completion date is Jan. 31, 2011.
Analysts immediately began evaluating Heroku's potential
benefits for Salesforce.
"[Salesforce] already serves the +6M community of Java
developers via VMforce, and by acquiring Heroku, [Salesforce] will be able to
serve the expanding community of Ruby developers, ISVs and customers and will
gain access to the proprietary technology of the Heroku platform," Ross
MacMillan and Sonya Banerjee, analysts with Jefferies & Co., wrote in a
co-authored Dec. 8 research note. "Founded in 2007, Heroku was architected as
an open platform, delivered via the cloud, to support Ruby applications."
is using its annual Dreamforce conference for a series of high-profile
. On Dec. 7, the company unveiled Database.com, its new
standalone cloud database for IT pros creating applications. The company claims
that developers for nearly any device and platform will be able to leverage
Database.com's features, even for applications using Amazon EC2 and other
non-Salesforce.com cloud platforms.
Database.com offers file storage and standard Web-services
APIs, as well as a relational data store for tables, relationships, enterprise
search and a query language. Supported developer languages include Java, C#,
Ruby and PHP.
"The [Heroku] acquisition should be seen in the light of
Salesforce's desire to build a fuller platform, much like its other initiatives
with VMWare and its own Database.com," Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in
a Dec. 8 research note. "Firms which provide a hosted platform for Ruby
represented the kind of new application workloads that Salesforce hopes to
attract to its own cloud offering."
Hilwa added: "In theory, Heroku customers will be candidates
for Database.com, and so the synergies for cross-selling are one of the main
Database.com not only places Salesforce in a heightened
competitive position with Oracle and its database offerings, but also Microsoft
and its SQL Azure cloud-database service.