Dreamforce: Salesforce-Oracle rivalry heats up with launch of Database.com

Salesforce jumps into Oracle territory by bringing databases into its cloud ecosystem, launching Database.com at the Dreamforce conference
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

At the Oracle OpenWorld conference back in September, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff exchanged on-stage jabs as Ellison played up his company's push into Salesforce's territory: the cloud.

Later today, as Benioff takes the stage to kick off his company's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, he'll announce his company's push into Oracle's territory: databases.

Today, Salesforce is launching Database.com, pitching it as "the world's first enterprise database built for the cloud." In a statement, Benioff said:

We see cloud databases as a massive market opportunity that will power the shift to real-time enterprise applications that are natively cloud, mobile and social. For the first time, we are making Database.com, the database that is proven and trusted by our 87,000 customers, available as an open, stand-alone service to accelerate the creation of these new apps.

It's yet another push into the cloud and another way for companies to save money and free resources. Salesforce argues that developers will be able to now spend their time building the applications that make the companies stronger and more competitive instead of managing the hardware and software.  Oracle, by contrast, launched the Exalogic, a "cloud-in-a-box" piece of hardware that, at a starting price of $1 million, can put quite a dent in CAPEX budgets.

Previous coverage: Salesforce’s Benioff: “Clouds aren’t in a box” Oracle’s Exalogic box: Cloud washing at its best?

Salesforce's Database.com, which will be available as a standalone service in 2011, will be free for 3 users and up to 100,000 records and 50,000 transactions per month. Beyond that, it will be priced at $10 per month for each set of 100,000 records beyond the first 100,000 and $10 per month for each set of 150,000 transactions beyond the first 50,000. That's the price for basic services, which includes database access, file storage and automatic administration.

Database.com Enterprise services will be priced at $10 per user per month and include user identity, authentication and row-level security access controls.

The openness of Database.com, with the ability to use any programming language for any device, is developer-friendly, while the pricing, without the massive investment of hardware that might be too much or not enough for a company's needs, is CFO-friendly. For the CIOs, the elasticity of the cloud, the automatic upgrades, backups and disaster recovery are all big plusses.

But what about security? There's still that lingering concern, especially as company's take into consideration the sensitivity of the data in their databases. The company notes, in its announcement:

Database.com is proven and secure. More than 87,000 customers have been using it for more than 11 years to store their most sensitive data. Database.com benefits from the security of salesforce.com’s global service delivery infrastructure, offering SSL, single-sign on, identity confirmation and anti-phishing tools. It also provides secure access, including user and role-based security and sharing rules and row-level data security. Database.com has also received some of the most stringent security certifications in the industry, including ISO 27001, SAS 70 Type II and SysTrust.

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