VMforce launched!

After weeks of feverish speculation (if you follow cloud computing, that is) Salesforce.com (SFDC) and VMware have revealed what VMforce really is.

First off, it’s not an SFDC offering for private or hybrid clouds (kudos to SFDC for it’s continued purist public cloud stance) nor is it entirely similar to Amazon’s EC2, what some were dubbing virtualisation-as-a-service.

It’s billed as the world’s first enterprise Java cloud. I see it as something between force.com platform-as-a-service and the EC2 infrastructure-as-a-service which leverages off VMware’s SpringSource acquisition. Essentially, apps and services can be developed in java and can run on force.com and therefore enjoy the benefits of all things java and the force.com value-add features: access to analytics, workflows, triggers, chatter, user access control and the database. And it’s scalable and open.

Existing java apps can be ported without having to be re-written in Apex, investment in java resources can be leveraged and there is therefore no real fear of lock-in.

All of the above should find further favour with hitherto skeptical CIOs.

As a side note, I’m surprised that the current copy on the VMforce home page does not emphasise the force.com benefits but focuses on the other important aspects: scalability, openess and trustworthiness.

This is a promising development and one to be watched.

Zaheer Ismail