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Salesforce Adds Database-as-a-Service Offering And Free Chatter, known for its sales force automation and customer relationship management capabilities, is now adding a database offering. The company introduced at its Dreamforce 2010 conference in San Francisco. provides access to data for an application written in any language, on any platform and to any end-point device, Salesforce says. enables developers to focus on building applications and lets Salesforce tune, maintain and scale databases. "Databases are moving to the cloud," said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, in his keynote address.

The announcement was one of several Salesforce made at its conference this week, which drew an estimated 20,000 attendees. The company also introduced Chatter Free, a free version of its Chatter platform for collaboration in enterprises, with features similar to those on social media Web sites such as Facebook.

Chatter allows users to form communities of employees, partners, customers and others in which people can pose questions to the community and receive answers. Chatter Plus is a paid service that costs $15 per user per month and offers such additional features as a management dashboard and reports, workflow information and security features.

Anti-virus software company Symantec uses Chatter in its enterprise and has seen a 22 percent improvement in productivity due to the reduced e-mail overload, says Enrique Saleen, president and CEO of Symantec. "Productivity is going up dramatically, and it will create a competitive edge," Saleen says. "I think the people who use and embrace social media today will be ahead of the deal."

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