Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl Launches, Your Database in the Sky

Today, as it get its Dreamforce conference underway in San Francisco, Salesforce threw open the doors to, aimed at giving software developers a database that’s designed for the cloud.

As luck would have it, has long been running on what’s now called, and the company describes it as one of the world’s largest enterprise databases, containing 20 billion data records and serving up about 25 billion transactions a quarter.

Salesforce’s plan calls for to be a standalone product in 2011. And it will be free to get started. Developers will be allowed to write applications in pretty much any language they’re comfortable with including Java, C#, or PHP, and they can run them wherever make sense for them including on Amazon EC2, Google AppEngine or Microsoft Azure. It’s also mobile-ready: Apps can run on Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android or Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

The opportunity is potentially huge: Research firm Gartner estimates that companies spend more than $20 billion a year on database software, which implies that they also have to spend on hardware on which to run it, people to set to configure and maintain that hardware, and so on. Salesforce excels at giving companies reasons to dispense with costly hardware and software that they run on their own systems. could have a similar effect.

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”