Future Growth Driver
Thats why Tuesdays announcement about the introduction of the Winter 06 release of Salesforce.coms online CRM service and the general release of its AppExchange on-demand applications platform is important to the companys future growth. To prepare for this release, Salesforce.com spent $50 million to build two new data centers with new servers and networking equipment. It plans to mirror these two data centers in February so that customer data is automatically backed up for added data security and availability.It was the launch and debugging of the new data centers that caused at least some of the performance problems that customers experienced. Benioff says it will be these data centers that provide the capacity, scalability and reliability that will enable the company to grow to 1 million subscribers.Click here to read about the bug that caused a 6-hour service outage at Salesforce.com. But its AppExchange that gives Salesforce.com the best change of reaching that goal. The company says that AppExchange gives it the opportunity to become the eBay of software as a service because it will be the interface through which any company can launch on-demand Web applications. Salesforce.com is pitching AppExchange as a Web operating system that can serve as the development platform for countless business applications in the same way that Windows serves as the operating system for desktop PC applications. The company launched AppExchange Tuesday with in excess of 160 applications and more than 50 Salesforce.com add-on components. The development of software as a service is spearheading the development of what Salesforce.com calls the "business Web" as the successor of the "consumer Web" that evolved in the 1990s. Salesforce.com contends that AppExchange and its entire on-demand infrastructure will be robust enough to handle not only its expanding population of 351,000 subscribers but also a nascent community of development partners and nearly 19,000 customers who all can be contributing to applications to AppExchange. Ideally this will generate a critical mass of "social" application production in which any of Salesforce.coms customers or subscribers could be contributing new applications. But the big test will be whether Salesforce.coms newly tested and presumably debugged data center can deliver the robust service required to support all of this activity. Salesforce.coms ambitious plans will all come to naught if the basic features of its.com platform dont leap onto the screen with every mouse click. John Pallatto is a veteran journalist in the field of enterprise software and Internet technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.