Unveils Cloud Computing Architecture

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-01-17 Print this article Print
  introduces a new pricing model and new features as it pushes its Platform-as-a-Service play,

San, at its Jan. 17 Tour de Force event at its hometown headquarters, announced new features to its developers toolkit and a new pricing model, all designed to increase adoption of the company's Platform-as-a-Service play called

The company, which has confusing nomenclature to begin with, announced its Cloud Computing Architecture, which includes a $5 pay-per-login pricing model (priced at 99 cents per log-in as a promotion through the end of 2008), along with its Development-as-a-Service offering that brings a new set of tools and services to help developers more easily develop applications using

Sound confusing? It is. Here's the breakdown:

  • is's Platform-as-a-Service (PAAP) offering that includes the company's Apex programming language and former Apex platform (now, which itself includes a bunch of developer tools.
  • The Cloud Computing Architecture (CCA one would assume) is the euphemism for PAAP and includes the new pricing structure, which is meant for users and not's traditional CRM [customer relationship management] users-the real bread and butter for the company.
"Cloud computing, or Platform-as-a-Service, has enormous potential for the enterprise," said Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a statement. "Cloud computing offers almost unlimited computing power and collaboration at a massive scale. With Platform-as-Service, we are providing the necessary building blocks to make cloud computing real for the enterprise."

Despite's plethora of nom de plumes which build on the original SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) term, Development-as-a-Service, or DAAS, seems to be the real heart of Thursday's announcements. It adds new tools to's development platform, including the new Metadata API, Integrated Development Environment and Code Share. The Sandbox is also part of the offering, but that feature was announced previously.

To read more about development in the cloud, click here.

The Metadata API-similar to the existing API-helps developers to access and integrate the data in their applications. The Metadata API however lets developers create and manage the code and metadata that the applications are built with by providing access to's database schema, Apex code and Visualforce user interfaces that comprise, according to the company.

The IDE is built on Eclipse and provides a means to manage standard development tasks like project views, HTML composition and rich code editing with error tracking, according to The Sandbox provides a separate environment for application development, testing and training. With the Code Share tool, developers are able to collaborate on the development, testing and deployment of their on demand applications. The Code Share tool lets developers store the definitions of their applications in source control and deploy them in either the Sandbox or production environments. Developers can also connect to open-source communities-including project hosting on Google Code-to collaborate in building applications using the platform.

While is the first company to offer an on-demand development platform that allows developers to build multi-tenant applications using's infrastructure as a service, the company faces mounting competition from stalwarts in the software industry. Microsoft, SAP and Oracle are each making waves in the on-demand CRM sector that includes underlying development platforms., however, has first-mover-and industry darling-advantage.

"They are heading in the right direction," said Ovum analyst David Bradshaw, in a Jan. 4 interview with eWeek. "The point of being a platform is not just the platform itself; it's a healthy ecosystem playing in [the company's] direction. Right now is the place to look for an ecosystem."

The Metadata API, IDE and Code Share are available now.



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