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Dreamforce 2013: Force.com Rebranding, HP Team Up

The annual Dreamforce conference finally reached street-blocking proportions this year, with a reported 120,000 attendees registering for Salesforce.com's biggest event, winding down this week at San Francisco's Moscone Center. (I remember when it barely took up an auditorium and a hotel hallway.) Attendance-wise, the 2013 edition of the event crushed this year's Oracle OpenWorld, which drew an estimated 60,000 to the same venue in September -- if those numbers are accurate. City officials are dubious, because the conference center can only hold about 60K. And yet, the Salesforce event sprawled beyond Moscone into nearby hotels, including the Palace on Market Street and the Intercontinental at Fifth and Howard. And a bunch of people attended online.

But who's counting?

The event's turnout probably says more about the rise of cloud computing than Salesforce itself. Although, to be fair, the San Francisco-based hosted CRM giant has been a significant driver of that rise. More important than attendee numbers. The company now claims nearly a million-and-a-half developers, which is double the number from a year ago. That's something everyone should be counting.

The company hopes to crank that number even higher with its newly announced Salesforce1 development platform. Launched at the Dreamforce show, Salesforce1 isn't just a massive rebranding of the company's Force.com dev platform, says IDC analyst Al Hilwa, but the launch of a major mobile effort into enterprise mobility.

"Salesforce has been working on this for some time and is now putting together a set of APIs to expose many aspects of the platform to developers," Hilwa told ADTmag. "The company is preparing for the big dive into the Internet of Things (IoT) the industry is expected to make. The mobile stack which connects to Salesforce has been completely updated to allow integration with the backend Salesforce platform.

Salesforce is billing the latest incarnation of its development platform as "the first CRM platform for developers, ISVs, end users, admins, and customers moving to the new social, mobile, and connected cloud." The platform was built "API-first," the company said, and comes with ten times more APIs and services. The company promised to make such ISVs as Dropbox, Evernote, Kenandy, and LinkedIn available on the platform.

The update of Force.com includes an update of its Visualforce component-based user interface framework to Visualforce1. As the company put it in a press release, "With Salesforce1, the more than 10 million Visualforce pages and custom actions are mobile-enabled."

"Enterprise mobility is happening today as companies are investing most of their new application development efforts on mobile related projects," Hilwa added. "IoT, however is still nascent and will be embraced first in the consumer space over the next two years."

Another notable piece of Dreamforce news was the announcement of a teamup between Salesforce and HP to create the "Salesforce Superpod," which is a dedicated instance of the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud running on HP's "converged infrastructure" technology, which manages equipment across an entire data center.

"This deal is noteworthy because of what it says about Salesforce and its strategy to reach higher up into the enterprise," Hilwa said. "Salesforce has determined that it is already extremely successful in the small to medium sector, but that there is still a lot of opportunity in the Global 1000 set. Large companies prefer to run dedicated computing environments, or even private clouds. The HP Salesforce deal brings this type of solution inside the Salesforce cloud. We are at the point now where Salesforce is letting go of multi-tenancy as the only defining criteria of its as-a-Service offerings."

BTW: Salesforce commissioned what has been reported to be the largest inflatable structure ever erected in North America to cloak Howard Street between the north and south wings of the Moscone Center. It was very cool.

Posted by John K. Waters on 11/21/2013 at 3:02 PM


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