Salesforce.com’s Byron Sebastian: 2011 is the Year of PaaS
Here at the CloudBeat conference, I had the chance to sit down with Salesforce.com VP of Platforms Byron Sebastian as he reflected on the one-year mark since his PaaS startup Heroku became part of Marc Benioff’s cloud empire. And his message was simple: 2011 is the year that PaaS hit the mainstream, and the market is only growing.
“[PaaS] is real. It’s here,” he said.
Right now, Sebastian said, Heroku is hosting half a million applications — a 500 percent boost from its pre-acquisition numbers. And it’s still growing. Customers have gone from auditing and debating the merits of platform-as-a-service to actually making it happen. After all, no one really wants servers, he claimed, and the cloud is bringing massive savings and scalability benefits that are increasingly hard to ignore.
It’s not much of a mystery why every vendor under the sun (no pun intended) seems to have debuted a platform-as-a-service solution, either. Sebastian said no matter which analyst statistics you like best, we’re talking about something like a $10 billion market opportunity, and everybody wants a piece of it.
But while Oracle, VMware and all the rest of what he calls the “incumbent” vendors are only now getting their feet wet with cloud technology, Heroku and Force.com — the former more for customer-facing social applications, the latter for employee-facing ones -0 have all the weight and collective experience and expertise of Salesforce behind them.
So while Oracle Public Cloud may have a strong technology background, Sebastian said competitors such as Larry Ellison’s cloud teams are going to have to learn lessons that Benioff’s figured out ages ago: It’s the difference between scaling up to a thousand applications and a hundred thousand, and Salesforce just doesn’t see customers waiting for other vendors to get their act together. There’s plenty of room in the market, sure, but customers want the best.
On a final note, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff may be in New York this week for the Dreamforce New York event (by all reports just as over-the-top as the flagship San Francisco conference I attended), but Sebastian kept right on with his Social Enterprise talking points: Over and over, I heard that enterprises need social, mobile and real-time applications, and Heroku is helping them get there.