Salesforce users answer Chatter private beta

SAN FRANCISCO -- Salesforce.com's new "Facebook for the enterprise" service, called Chatter, is now available to at least one hundred companies including Reed Exhibitions, Schumacher Group, TransUnion and therefore the American Red Cross, as a part of a personal beta. Chatter may be a Web-based collaboration tool that appears and feels exactly like Facebook -- with news feeds, profiles, status updates, and groups. But rather than checking out what your college roommate had for lunch, users can see what colleagues are performing on in real-time and share documents. The Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross plans to use Chatter for the part of its organization that runs shelters. People can see what's in them, where the food is and what must be refreshed," said Harold Brooks, CEO of the Bay Area Chapter. "In an emergency, we'd like this type of data fast." Not everybody at the chapter is going to be ready to use it, however, as they are not all on the Salesforce platform, he said. Other customers had similar concerns.

"It's just another place that I even have to seem for information," said Kerry Philp, senior marketing manager at Schwab Charitable. "Most of our employees aren't on Salesforce so we'll still need to email." Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said Chatter is going to be liberal to all users at companies with a Salesforce subscription, but those without a license to the platform will only be ready to use it in read-only mode -- in other words, they're going to be "lurkers" in Facebook terms. Representatives from Schumacher Group, Motorola and Vetrazzo joined Benioff on stage at the news conference to tout the advantages of the merchandise. They seemed most excited about the power to share critical information, fast, and on mobile devices like Blackberrys and iPhones. Instead of digging through email and file systems and portals, the knowledge I actually need is pushed on to me," said Doug Menefee, CIO of Schumacher Group. Chatter will compete with Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Exchange, and IBM's Lotus Domino, also as a number of document management products that are beefing up their real-time collaboration features

. Chatter is predicted to be available to all or any Salesforce customers by mid-year for $50 per user per month, on top of the subscription price. The Daily Cloud: Rackspace reports cloud revenue up 12%Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier said in an earnings call in the week that the hoster and cloud provider would pursue aggressive moves to grow its services business. visible Technologie He cited shifting expectations by enterprises for more diverse and full-featured services and called cloud a "huge opportunity."Napier said that Rackspace's Cloud Servers unit would usher in more revenue per buy for Rackspace. He also added that, despite price cuts (and at minimum one order of magnitude difference in revenue and resources) from Amazon Web Services, the Rackspace high-touch model was proving out. Amazon has cut its price, and their price move has not had any impact on our take rate, in our cloud," he said. "We're serving a special customer." Quarterly financial statements from Rackspace (number two on our top 10 list of cloud providers) show the hoster continues to form hay while the sun shines on cloud computing and services overall. Rackspace's earning statements

 are greatly anticipated by the cloud punditry because the company details customers and revenue in much greater specificity than the retail giant Amazon. technology insurance That feeds the ravenous appetites of pundits for inaccurate speculation and gross mischaracterizations of the industry. Malicious anonymous ribbing aside, the figures are juicy and delicious for both market watchers and technical types. Rackspace hit 56,671 servers, adding 2,016 within the half-moon of 2009. It added 9,981 customers -- approximately five customers for every new server, which, if nothing else, is a particularly reasonable load for a virtual machine (VM) host. Cloud revenue grew to $17.1 million from $15.3 million, a part of $169 million in managed services revenue overall. Rackspace's revenue is up around 20% overall from last year newScale supports VMware's cloud API
In a mind-bending metaphysical feat, virtualization-free newScale has added vCloud API support to its automated iron cloud. newScale will now support API calls through vSphere and VMware machines into FrontOffice, its management toolset.

Ontologically speaking, it is a tough nut to crack. it isn't that out of the left-field, however, as newScale's cloud customers typically use the firm's on-demand iron to host their own virtualized environments as hosters, Web services providers than on. Oracle desperately seeking cloud credOracle execs will attempt to convince the universe that the corporate "gets" cloud computing with a series of cloud computing forums beginning February 23 in North AmericaOracle CEO Larry Ellison caused a stir together with his very vocal musings about the term "cloud computing," which has been abused and misused over the past few years. In his view, cloud computing isn't a revolutionary departure within the computing model but an evolution of your time and resource-sharing practices. In his view, therefore, Oracle already may be a cloud player because its database and middleware underlie such cloudy ventures as Salesforce.com's successful Software as a Service (SaaS) business and Apple's iTunes web store.

And Oracle joined the SaaS fray years ago with its own CRM OnDemand. That offering now accounts for quite 85% of Oracle's CRM sales, consistent with Ray Wang, an analyst with The Altimeter Group. Still, most pundits say Oracle has got to do more to prove its cloud cred. [Ellison] talks about Salesforce being supported Oracle? Salesforce has invested years upon years of labor on top [of Oracle technology] that has nothing to try to to with Oracle," said John Rymer, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Oracle building cloud computing credibility Even a number of Oracle's own reseller and integrator partners said the corporate has got to structure for a lost time within the cloud after having lost a number of its most visionary technologists and technologies to start-ups -- some funded by Ellison himself. This whole show they're doing is supposed to point out Oracle's vision of the private cloud … they do not want to seem just like the red-headed stepchild therein they do not believe the cloud is real," said one West Coast Oracle database reseller.

"Oracle's interpretation of being within the cloud is far an equivalent as it's combat being a part of the dot.com boom, which is: 'We're within the cloud business because everyone in there buys and runs our stuff.'" But, actually, there is a huge difference between being the building blocks of the cloud and truly stepping into the cloud business, this partner said. Ellison's verbiage and therefore the impression it created could also be hard to beat. many people at Oracle haven't any trouble grasping the implications of cloud computing and therefore the opportunity but they need to tread carefully and find how to urge started "without calling Larry a liar," Rymer said. That's a part of what this world tour is about -- showing off a number of the company's progress in cloud computing while dodging direct confrontation with a boss who dismissed cloud computing as "everything we already do."f Oracle really wanted to be an integral a part of cloud computing back when Salesforce.com and NetSuite got started, then Ellison wouldn't have supported those non-Oracle efforts and kept the cloud apps in house, this partner said

. Ellison and other Oracle veterans staked and began up those spin-off businesses. This partner could only shake his head at what Oracle would become if it had kept all that technology and expertise in house legacy software players protected their on-premises base
The play Oracle and lots of legacy software vendors is that they were so busy protecting the on-premises businesses that they were slow to rearchitect their offerings to figure optimally within the cloud. Microsoft got the message a couple of years back and put the pedal to the metal on Azure, which became commercially available early this month. Some argue that very much like Microsoft was forced to react by Google's success in getting customers to a minimum of try consumer applications via a services model, Oracle got its CRM on Demand act together to debar Salesforce.com. they might also contend that Oracle dragged its feet in other markets because it's not yet seen impactful competition there. The addition of Sun and a few of its cloud-related technologies could help Oracle regain some ground.

Customer reaction to Oracle's earlier cloud forums -- the corporate kicked them off in Europe fortnight ago -- is two-fold, said Dr. Stefan Reid, Forrester senior analyst for vendor strategy. Some customers embraced the potential immediately and were very happy about the ultimate commitment of Oracle to the cloud business. [Others] were struggling to know the disruptive difference from already existing Oracle scale-out mechanisms like grid and RAC," he said, pertaining to Oracle's real application cluster technology. Large customers still fear vendor lock-in, something Oracle is trying to deal with by saying Fusion middleware will enable deployment flexibility as against pure outsourced platform services like Salesforce.com's Force.com, Reid added. In his view, Oracle will still specialize in providing building blocks for clouds and can resist the temptation to become a full Platform as a Service (PaaS) player. it'll still offer SaaS implementations of applications as required.
CloudShare free for the masses, for the moment, need a free IT lab? Call CloudShare
CloudShare has announced that, for now, 

it's getting to divulge CloudShare Pro, its cloud sales service to the company, comfortably padded out with risk capital dollars and customers like Cisco and WebSense, bills its product as a demo-oriented sales tool that vendors can use to offer potential customers a taste of software applications during a virtual network environment, sidestepping the normal on-premise demo model It is actually more of a full-featured virtual lab/virtual desktop environment with a heap of management and monitoring tools on top, far closer to Skytap than to Salesforce.com. The company launched its enterprise version last fall, aimed toward the large sale for the large team. Kevin Epstein, former director of selling at VMware, said that version met with decent success and now they need to leap start 'mindshare' by letting anyone play for a limited time. It's not getting to be free forever," he warned, saying the trial offer would only stay around for a couple of more months.

CloudShare will then begin charging, likely on a subscription basis and/or a per-seat basis, very similar to Salesforce.com or Citrix, whom Epstein called "our heroes." That's not super cloudy for the pure pay-as-you-go crowd, but Epstein said there are many rooms to experiment. Still, letting sales use something like this to demo applications is quite like employing a tower crane to create snow forts. We'll see if it catches on; within the mean solar time, anyone in need of a free IT lab at Cloudshare's expense, stroll on over