Sites Slices Cloud in New Ways

03.11.2008 announced the availability of Sites Monday, a service that allows businesses to host their websites using the software as a service (SaaS) company's massive datacenters. Sites will also allow companies to take applications, as well as apps produced by third-party vendors on the company's platform, and make them available to customers on their publicly-facing websites.

"All aspects of the platform are open to you, so you can build apps on top of the platform," ,'s CEO, told the attendees at Dreamforce, the company's main user and developer conference. "You don't have to create your own infrastructure. Those days are over." Businesses who sign up for the service will have many enterprise application choices. Since it launched, the platform has harbored nearly 85,000 customers. Some build upon core enterprise apps such as's CRM system, while others deal with other business departments, such as HR, IT and marketing.

The announcement comes at a time when SaaS, a model of software delivery where vendors like host data while employees at companies access the application through a Web-browser, is being by more businesses due to the recession.

SaaS works on a pay-as-go model (generally per user per month), a departure from multi-year, multi-million dollar software contracts of the past where companies generally had to buy servers and host the data themselves.

While has taken a beating on Wall Street, watching its , the company has done US$1 billion in revenue this year. has generally been focused on internally facing applications. With the announcement of Sites, they are expanding their presence in a market crowded with service providers big and small. Benioff, in his remarks, seem to acknowledge this fact.