Kudos to Marc Benioff @ Salesforce.com on launching another cloud product - Database.com (read the WSJ article here). Great job of packaging existing capabilities into a broader offering.
It's simple and it makes sense. Considering everything else that is being offered in the cloud, it is surprising that a fundamental building block in an IT stack - a database - didn't get there first. The traditional companies probably didn't want to ruin their existing license and support revenues by pushing a cloud offering. The newbies probably didn't have the capital or market nous to create a buzz. Marc has both and right now he is running laps around the competition.
See the intro video here.
The other reason I like the announcement - we get a chance to help our customers move their content into database.com, or out of it, or reference it without using any of it. The federated content model is here to stay and database.com will simply help customers store their content in logical repositories - across different public and private clouds. It will be interesting to dig further into the capabilities and limitations of databse.com. The data model under Salesforce.com has been evolving fairly rapidly from supporting simple SFA applications and to supporting fairly complex enterprise processes and content structures.
However, the primary challenge for enterprise today is dealing with the unstructured data they own and all the relevant content that is generated outside their control and outside their systems.
It doesn't matter whether database.com is the answer to all of this today or ever. Salesforce is facilitating the massive migration of cloud based applications - and that is good enough.
As we move forward, accessing and virtually aggregating these content sources - without physically moving the content - will become the norm. Would love to understand what Google is thinking about all this. They have taken a very clever route to capturing enterprise content with Google Docs and Google Apps - all searchable and all seemingly liberated from legacy "database" norms.
Looking forward to 2011 and more content in the cloud...