Salesforce.com touts Web 3.0 as platform as a service

Company hails cloud-based application deployments that allow companies to have apps on-demand without the accompanying infrastructure

Salesforce.com championed the platform-as-a-service concept, which company Chairman/CEO Marc Benioff also called Web 3.0, during an event on Monday that emphasized deployments of enterprise applications in the cloud.

With platform as a service, a cousin to SaaS (software as a service), developers can deploy enterprise applications on-demand without having to also provide infrastructure. Salesforce.com calls its platform-as-a-service offering Force.com.

"Just as applications have moved to SaaS, really, platforms are now moving to this platform as a service capability," Benioff said at the company's Tour de Force event in Santa Clara, Calif.

Afterward, he elaborated on his use of the term, Web 3.0, to describe platform as a service. He acknowledged this same term has been used to describe the so-called semantic Web. "Web 3.0 is broadly defined today as the semantic Web. I think Web 3.0 really could be platform as a service," said Benioff.

Web 3.0 service providers cited included Amazon, which offers CPU and storage space; Facebook, furnishing social applications; Google, offering Web applications; and Force.com, enabling enterprise application deployment.

Benioff noted the newness of the platform as a service term. "We came up with this term, platform as a service, six months ago, and I'm surprised at how much traction it has already," he said;.

With cloud computing, developers are being empowered because they can build an application and have it be accessed from anywhere around the globe, according to Salesforce.com.

The company also hailed its multi-faceted alliance with Google and unveiled the Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs. This toolkit improves integration between Google application services, including spreadsheets, documents and calendars, and the Force.com environment. Data and content can be shared between Force.com and Google applications via Salesforce.com's Apex programming language.

Salesforce.com introduced users of its Force.com services, including Narinder Singh, founder of Appirio. He showed an application intended for Dolby that enables remote monitoring of movie theatre screens and leverages the Salesforce.com Visual Force interface development tool. Appirio is looking to develop a platform that Dolby would use to help manage relationships with cinemas.

"Basically, it was a concept demo that we put together to show Dolby the power of the platform," Singh said.

Salesforce.com also argued that its multi-tenancy strategy for applications provides a single place to implement security and performance improvements as well as upgrades. Salesforce.com will deliver 4 billion transactions this month and is heading toward more than $1 billion in annual revenues, Benioff said. 

The company also is setting up a new datacenter in Singapore that will run Dell systems and Linux exclusively. Salesforce.com is in the process of migrating two other datacenters, in San Jose, Calif. and Reston, Va., to Linux and Dell. Those two centers have been running different types of systems.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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