Salesforce ups ante against Oracle with launch

Salesforce is to announce a new database hosting service today called at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, escalating its rivalry with database supplier Oracle.

The database offering is described by Salesforce as “open” and will allow the use of any programming language on any platform or device. This means the database can run on a personal data centre or from cloud services run by the likes of Amazon and Google, along with PCs, Blackberry, Apple and Android devices.

The service is the same database that itself runs on. Various drivers for it have been developed by Progress Software, while NoSQL, VoltDB and Memcached are also supported. It already contains over 20 billion records, delivers over 25 billion transactions per quarter and has a response time of less than 300 miliseconds on average, making it a strong contender to other database offerings.

The service will operate a “freemium” price package, allowing initial setups to be made for free, with additional hosting requiring a monthly payment. The free service will allow up to three users, 100,000 records and 50,000 transactions per month. 

Anything over that will be charged at $10 per month for every additional 100,000 records and a further $10 a month for every additional 150,000 transactions. A further Enterprise option is available for an additional $10 per month per user, which includes identity, authentication and security features.

Salesforce was founded by a former Oracle executive, Marc Benioff, and is already in heated competition with Oracle over customer relationship management (CRM) software. At the end of last month HP ditched Oracle for its CRM partner, inking a deal with Salesforce instead, a move that is sure to cause tensions with Oracle, particularly since Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, was an early investor in Salesforce.

The move into databases marks more treading on Oracle’s territory, a sector the company has been dominant in since its foundation some 30 odd years ago. It’s not clear how much custom Salesforce will steal from Oracle, but if the CRM battle is anything to go by it could be a lot.

The service will launch fully in 2011.