announces ‘database as a service’

On demand CRM and application platform vendor has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first cloud-hosted database service., which is built on database software from Oracle, will allow customers to build relational databases in the cloud that support applications across end points including web sites and mobile devices, the company announced at its annual Dreamforce conference.

When it launches next year, will provide the back end for applications programmed in languages including PHP, Java and .NET. These can be run on the vendor’s own platform, or others including Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure.

During a Q&A session in San Francisco yesterday, CEO Marc Benioff said had "seen tremendous demand from customers for database as a service". However, he admitted that the vendor was "like a start-up in [the database] industry".

Benioff said was "priced aggressively". Costs start from $10 per 100,000 records per month, and $10 per 150,000 transactions per month.

The CEO refuted suggestions that a database in the cloud was inherently less secure than an on-premise counterpart, citing recent leaks of sensitive US government correspondence to the website Wikileaks as proof of this.

He also denied that the announcement of would put on a collision course with database software giant (and Benioff’s former employer) Oracle, despite the fact that is hosted-version of one of its products. "I honestly don’t see us as a competitor with Oracle."

The chief went on to criticise Oracle’s cloud computing strategy. A central part of this is its Exalogic Elastic Cloud hardware stack, which was announced in September. "The cloud is not in a box," Benioff quipped.

Benioff also hit out at US software rival Microsoft, which this week said it would offer cash rebates to customers willing to leave for its own Dynamics CRM system. He claimed that the stunt was evidence Microsoft was struggling to retain its dominance in the enterprise software market. "Microsoft don’t want their cash cow exploded," he remarked.

At the Dreamforce conference, also announced a new version of its software development cloud, and a free edition of its social messaging platform Chatter.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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