So should you worry about using a service — one such as Salesforce.com’s Force.com, for instance — in “The Cloud”?
Ten years ago Oracle was ahead of its time when it tried to kill off Microsoft with the Network Computer. At that time it was a combination of the cost and reliability of the underlying network together with the lack of applications to run on it that likely killed it off.
Today these barriers have all but disappeared. Connectivity is orders of magnitude cheaper and the number of uses for the network has exploded.
WordPress, for example, is the platform that I use to write this blog. WordPress has 6,760 plugins available for download and they have indeed been downloaded 52,448,569 times to date.
A plug-in or widget is a small application that is used to run on a platform to enable certain functionality. In the case of trefor.net these applications provide the functionality in the right hand column – twitter feed, add/subscribe etc. I also use applications invisible to the reader such as wordpress seo, search engine optimisation.
I think nothing of using WordPress which is a totally cloud based application, unlike Dreamweaver for example, which at one time I used to use to design websites and which resided on my PC.
So as a final note on the Salesforce.com CIO council meeting last week I thought I’d look more into their cloud offering. The Salesforce.com Force.com platform has have 200+ native apps and 550+ partner apps. Not as many as WordPress but there again many of the WordPress plug-ins will never see the light of a real website and they are free.
The Force.com applications that are used, however, are of major interest to business, at least collectively. They must be because Salesfor.com has 63,200 paying customers with 81M+ lines of code with 16M+ customizations – modification that integrate the Force.com platform with other services used by these customers.
New WordPress plug-ins appear daily whilst Salesforce.com restricts itself to three releases a year – coming up to release number 30 this Autumn. In the business world a software release needs to be bug free as possible and fully tested which is certainly not always the case with open source equivalents.
So it is clear to me that the move to the cloud is well underway and anyone looking at their information roadmap strategy should have this at the forefront of their mind. Of course this isn’t going to kill off Microsoft anytime soon…