Salesforce aims to be one-stop shop for cloud development's purchase of Ruby platform vendor Heroku gives it yet another option for cloud-based applications's announcement Wednesday of plans to buy Heroku, as well as a rebranding of its array of services, makes it clear the vendor wants to be a one-stop shop for developing applications in the cloud.

Heroku is a PaaS (platform-as-a-service) offering for software written in the popular Ruby language. It underpins more than 100,000 applications.'s move is a play for "the hearts and minds of next-generation application developers," particularly of social and mobile software, said Ray Wang, CEO and principal analyst of Constellation Research.

The Heroku technology will join's core platform, which has primarily been used by ISVs (independent software vendors) and companies to build transactional business applications, as well as the recently announced VMForce partnership with VMware for enterprise Java development. also has technologies for developing websites and departmental applications, and announced a new service,, on Tuesday.

Once the deal closes next year, Heroku will be the newest member of the company's cluster of development technologies, which as of Wednesday has been dubbed 2.

Heroku deploys Ruby applications inside "dynos," each of which run independently on its grid. Dynos encapsulate the application logic, development framework, middleware, application server, virtual machine and other layers. "The number of dynos running for a given app directly affects the maximum concurrency and therefore the performance of that app," Heroku's website states. New dynos can be fired up in less than two seconds in most cases, it adds.

Like other PaaS offerings, Heroku uses metered pricing.

"Some developers complain that Heroku is expensive, but it's a get-what-you-pay-for situation," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté. "You can get cheaper, but it's just bare-cloud infrastructure with no real services or middleware included."

The Heroku announcement gives new meaning to's unveiling of, which enables customers to use its underlying database infrastructure. will no doubt sell Heroku users on using as an information store in support of their applications. But Heroku already offers a PostgreSQL-based database service.

"It's really important to us and that things don't change for our installed base," said Heroku cofounder James Lindenbaum in a phone interview. "We absolutely intend to continue to run it. What we want to do is provide more choice over time. It will be one of the choices."

There are also no plans for Heroku to leave its current home at Amazon Web Services, according to Lindenbaum. "We absolutely want to stay there. We will likely add additional data centers and providers over time, but we'll make those decisions based on customer use cases," he said.'s cofounder and executive vice president of technology, Parker Harris, also stressed that the deal will be nondisruptive to current Heroku customers. "Our goal is to simply take the Heroku vision and mission and to fuel and accelerate its success. Heroku will continue to be Heroku. And more," he wrote in a blog post.

There are clear parallels between the companies, Harris added. "Their strong beliefs on multi-tenancy and the manifest destiny of cloud computing are very similar to ours. And their almost religious commitment to doing it smart and doing it right was apparent to me in the way they architected their service. But most of all, it was Heroku's dedication to their developers -- the customers of their service -- that impressed me."

There are some cultural differences for the companies to reconcile, but they don't outweigh the potential positives, Coté said.

"The Heroku base is a bit more technical than the obviously more business application-centric Salesforce base. But Salesforce is clearly wanting to get into more general application development, and Heroku would fit well with that," he said. "Heroku has actually innovated a pretty nice [application lifecycle management] system for cloud-based Ruby applications and if they extend it to work with Salesforce's APIs, databases, and the platform, it should be good for both communities."

But is clearly looking beyond application development in order to gain relevance with enterprises, Coté said, noting Wednesday's announcement of RemedyForce, an IT service management application done in partnership with BMC.

"Salesforce is trying to build out a larger footprint in the IT world by carving out what 'the IT department' looks like in a cloud/SaaS world," Coté said. CEO Marc Benioff is expected to discuss the Heroku acquisition further during a keynote Wednesday at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesapplication developmentMergers / acquisitionsCustomer Relationship ManagementHuluSalesforce.comsoftwareherokucloud computingGrouponinternetVMware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?