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RDBMS as a Service? In the Cloud? Yes!

There are many amazing things emerging out of Dreamforce 2010 (I really regret that I couldn't make it) and thus far, one of the biggest may be Salesforce's new RDBMS as a Service offering. I don't suppose Salesforce could have purchased a better domain name, Database.com, but the prospect of having an RDBMS in the cloud is very appealing to a broad range of developers. So what is all the hoopla about with Database.com?

Well, Database.com is essentially an enterprise grade database that is offered as a service in a utility billing context. That means that you only pay for what you use. What does this mean for developers and organizations in terms of real world benefits? To start off, the need to pay the egregious licensing fees that Oracle charges are gone. Imagine if Oracle were to come to you as an enterprise and say "well since you only have X amount of records and execute Y amount of transactions with Z amount of users, you only need to pay X in licensing costs." Yea right! Not going to happen. The reality is that with most RDBMS products, you will pay a minimum (yet high) licensing fee regardless of how much you actually use the database. Sure, the case can be made that you shouldn't deploy such an expensive solution until you are ready for or absolutely need it, but in reality, do you want to work within those limitations? What if I told you that you could start off small for free and scale as you need to, only paying for what you actually consume in resources? Wait! That's too fair. You can't be fair in software licensing! Or at least enterprise vendors like Oracle would have you believe that.

So, with the very high level basics covered, lets do a quick summary (from the Database.com site) on what Database.com is.

"Say hello to Database.com Please leave hardware and software at the door." I definitely concur.

What’s under the covers?


Sure, you can build tables, fields and relationships with Database.com, but it’s much more than that. It includes a social data model, file storage, user management, authentication and development tools that make it easy to build killer apps.

When you’re ready to put it into production it is automatically elastic. It’s massively scalable. It‘s automatically backed up. Upgrades are taken care of for you. What’s not to love about that?

What can I use it for?


Build your apps in any language, like Java, C#, Ruby or PHP. Run them on any platform, like Force.com, VMforce, Amazon EC2 or Google AppEngine. Or run them on any device, like the iPhone, the iPad, Android or Blackberry. They can all securely access Database.com through standards based APIs, like REST, SOAP, OAuth and SAML.

Built for mobile and social apps


Database.com makes it easy to build next generation business app. It comes with toolkits for connecting apps that run natively on mobile platforms. It also includes a social data model that makes it easy to build apps with profiles, status updates, news feeds and groups.

And finally...the pricing:

Free to Get Started



  • 100,000 records

  • 50,000 transactions per month

  • 3 users


Additional Capacity



  • $10 / month / additional 100,000 records

  • $10 / month / additional 150,000 transactions




Enterprise Services


$10 / user / month

  • Identity

  • Authentication

  • Row-level Security





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