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Summary:

The week in cloud: Salesforce.com rejiggers its platform-as-a-service strategy; CenturyLink snaps up Tier 3 and Apprenda snags $16 million.

At Dreamforce last week, Salesforce.com threw in the towel on its “social enterprise” push and CEO Marc Benioff trotted out a new marketing spiel around the Internet of Things and mobility.

As an example, he talked about his electric toothbrush that will update his dentist about his oral hygiene habits. Pushing these hot buttons is not a bad move for a company that’s not exactly the most mobile-savvy vendor around. Salesforce.com touted alliances with the likes of Dropbox and Evernote, and will sell their applications via AppExchange. But the whole thing also feels a bit like putting lipstick on a chicken — an attempt to assume mobile cred long after it should have embraced mobile devices better than it has.

benioffSalesforce.com also tried to erase confusion around its dual Force.com and Heroku PaaS strategy. How?  By launching Heroku1, a new version of Heroku targeting the Salesforce.com ecosystem. Yeah, I was confused too.  But, the plan is to push Apex-centric Force.com for internal applications while Heroku1 is for customer facing apps, Heroku CEO Tod Nielsen said last week. That makes some sense. But, personal opinion: Force.com fades away in a few years.

Also not crystal clear is exactly how integrated the ExactTarget marketing technology acquired in June is. Not very, is the theory, although it morphed ExactTarget into the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Magic!

Salesforce.com also cordoned off some of its infrastructure into an HP converged hardware-based cloud reserved for the biggest of big customers. This helps Salesforce.com tweak Oracle and also highlights the sort of weirdo industry collaborations that usually don’t amount to a hill of beans as far as customers are concerned. All that vendor mutual back scratching is mostly annoying.

Structure Show redux — All about PaaS

Heroku1 was just one of the PaaS stories breaking last week. CenturyLink bought Tier 3 and made it the basis of CenturyLink Cloud and Apprenda, the private PaaS for Java and .Net applications got $16 million in fresh dough. So there was a lot to talk about on last week’s Structure Show. If you miseed it, check out Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller, who zigs where other PaaS players zag.

Cloud news from around the interwebz

From Gigaom: Another bumpy day for Windows Azure

From Bloomberg news: Chinese supercomputer retains title of world’s fastest supercomputer

From Gigaom Research: The challenges facing AWS

From Clouduser.de Amazon Web Services to grab the enterprise: a reality check

From Bloomberg news: Druckenmiller shorting IBM in bet cloud computing will win

From Fortune: What does Alec Baldwin have to do with cloud computing 

  1. Aaron Slettehaugh Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Hi Barb,

    How is it that salesforce threw has thrown in the towel on it’s social enterprise push? I see no evidence of that and quite a lot of evidence to the contrary. Social was a big part of many of the demos I saw at Dreamforce. I’m not sure it would even be possible for salesforce to throw in the towel on social at this point. It is deeply integrated into its offerings.

    Did you conclude salesforce gave up on social because you didn’t see it occupy as much space on the main stage as mobile? Would you conclude that Amazon is abandoning S3 because it gave a lot of space to rolling out WorkSpaces in its most recent re:Invent conference? How do change and innovation fit into your view of industry?

    Regarding the “new marketing spiel around the Internet of Things and mobility” being “lipstick on a chicken,” I’m guessing you haven’t taken a looked at Salesforce1. I recommend you try it or talk to those who have before slamming it as “marketing spiel.” I won’t disagree that this should have been done sooner, but lack of timeliness and lack of substance are two different things.

    How clear is the integration with ExactTarget? It’s clear to anyone who is willing to find out. Rather than providing your readers with conjecture, I invite you to create an account and investigate and evaluate the services yourself. Or talk to some of the thousands of customers who have already done so.

    Finally, regarding discussions of vendor collaboration announcements being “mostly annoying,” I think you got it much more right in the last paragraph of your “Salesforce.com cheats on Oracle with HP” piece earlier this week when you pointed out that managing risk in it’s hardware strategy is part of salesforce’s “fiduciary responsibility.” In other words, annoying or not, this stuff matters.

    Aaron
    (full disclosure: I’m on the platform product management team at salesforce.com)
    @slettehaugh

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