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Salesforce App Cloud debuts Heroku for secure development

Salesforce App Cloud now sports Heroku Enterprise, a platform as a service offering that lets customers and partners build applications on top of the Salesforce platform.

Today, Salesforce announced general availability of Heroku Enterprise on its App Cloud development platform.

Acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $212 million, Heroku is an open source platform as a service (PaaS) development environment. The aim of today's announcement regarding Salesforce App Cloud is to enable customers and partners to build applications in a private cloud-like environment, while still benefiting from a managed public cloud. Creating a secure application development environment has become even more important as Salesforce opens up its platform to customers, partners and even business-line end users to build on top of it. Salesforce painted the outlines of Heroku Enterprise at its annual Dreamforce conference in September 2015.

The Dutch airline KLM, for example, is using Heroku Enterprise components to build a customer-facing application, with the aim to provide better service and an improved experience. Passengers were able to book travel with fewer clicks, and interdepartment routing for service cases -- such as lost luggage -- could be conducted faster. "KLM was searching for a platform that enabled them to put the customer at the center in real time," said Brian Goldfarb, senior vice president of App Cloud marketing at Salesforce.

Creating a secure application development environment has become even more important as Salesforce opens up its platform to customers and partners.

Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies in Wellesley, Mass., said bringing Heroku and Salesforce App Cloud together is another move by Salesforce "to better align the various components of its platform portfolio to meet the evolving needs of its customers."

There are three components of today's announcement:

1. Private spaces. Private spaces give customers a private cloud-like PaaS environment on the public cloud to develop apps. "It makes it easy to connect to on-premises data in a secure way," Goldfarb said. Heroku Enterprise enlists virtual private cloud technology, or logically divided architecture, and software-defined networks to wall off the development environment and create a secure space for application development -- even on the public cloud.

2. Global or selectable regions. Customers not only wanted to build secure apps but to also be able to place these instances "wherever they wanted," Goldfarb said. "You can deploy your Heroku app in specific global data centers to reduce latency, increase performance and help with compliance." Salesforce supports locations in Dublin, Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Oregon and West Virginia, he said.

The ability to choose a location for data is increasingly important for companies in regulated environments and helps companies address issues such as data sovereignty, where data is subject to the laws of the country in which it physically resides.

3. Single sign-on (SSO) capabilities. Security shouldn't come at the expense of ease of IT management. Historically, IT has struggled to provide identity, control, governance and an integrated identity system throughout the Salesforce platform. With SSO capabilities, "it's possible to manage everything from one place," Goldfarb said. "IT now only has to manage one set of logins."

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