The Next Level

What if enterprise apps were built the way you’d build an agile Ruby app? What if they were a pleasure to work with, deploy, and manage? What if big companies could adopt the philosophies of Heroku and the Ruby community? What if your company actually preferred you use Heroku to build apps?

That’s the next level for Heroku. That’s where we want to go, so we’ve made a decision we’re excited to share: we have signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by salesforce.com. We expect the deal to close by January 31st.

Why Salesforce.com?

Salesforce.com is the original cloud company. They convinced the enterprise world to consume software as a service before Gmail, Basecamp, or Facebook existed. They created one of the world’s first platforms-as-a-service and helped popularize the term. They get it.

Heroku always aspires to be trusted by more customers with their data and applications. Salesforce.com has achieved a level of trust and credibility unparalleled in the cloud. They are trusted today by the largest companies on the planet to store their most sensitive data. And their sales and support organizations are second to none.

We have long been fans of salesforce.com due to the unusual philosophies they share with us:

No software, no private cloud
There is so much value provided to customers when they consume services rather than buying software and running it themselves. Salesforce.com is religious about not selling software for private cloud use, and so are we.

Abstraction = Value
Don’t make users, customers, or developers do anything they don’t have to. Let them focus 100% on their data and their applications. Most products are more hands on and less abstract than Heroku. Salesforce.com however, is even farther down the abstraction curve than we are.

Multi-Tenancy
Multi-tenancy enables continuous upgrades and improvements, maintainability, and scale. Multi-tenancy is an architectural decision key to how both Heroku and salesforce.com have achieved success.

Salesforce.com Loves Heroku

Salesforce.com loves our developers and the community and culture they have brought to our platform. They love our maniacal focus on the developer experience. They love that we are a 100% open platform, enabling openness and choice everywhere we possibly can. They love that we support the tools and languages and architectures of the next generation of web apps.

Salesforce.com aspires deeply to these same goals and sees Heroku as leading the way. Together we can bring an open platform for modern apps to enterprise customers.

To hear this in the words of salesforce.com, see founder Parker Harris’s blog post: What I Love About Heroku.

Independence

Salesforce.com loves who we are and wants to preserve our brand, product, our values, and our roadmap. Though we’re joining forces, Heroku will remain independent.

This means the whole Heroku team, the founders, our technology and services, our free offerings for developers, our exciting roadmap, existing customer signup process, and most importantly our philosophies will remain intact and unchanged.

Our focus on design and user experience will stay as sharp as ever; we will stay purple. The Heroku you know will continue to grow.

Our roadmap stays the same, but we can do more of it, faster. Joining forces with salesforce.com gives us an enormous amount of fuel to keep building the platform toward the vision we’ve always had.

Ruby

This deal is a victory and validation for all of our early adopters, our passionate users and customers, and for the Ruby community as a whole. The combination of salesforce.com’s trust and credibility with Heroku’s developer-focussed platform will be an incredible force pushing Ruby into the mainstream.

Heroku has been designed from the beginning to support multiple languages, but Ruby will always be our first love.

As we’ve talked about before, over the long run we want to constantly support more use cases and allow developers to choose the right tool for the job, like we did with our experimental Node.js support. Joining forces with salesforce.com doesn’t change this; we will add other languages when and where we feel it advances those goals.

Amazon and Ecosystem

Our relationship with Amazon Web Services will remain unchanged. We are huge fans of Amazon’s EC2 and the fast growing ecosystem of cloud services within it, and have no plans to leave. We are likely to add additional infrastructure providers over time to support a variety of customer use cases, and as above, we will follow the same path and decision making process we always have.

Great for Developers and Customers

Heroku will always be focused on developers above all else. Salesforce.com deeply understands why that is valuable and is making an enormous bet that we will continue to make developers happy. Not only does Salesforce.com want us to continue on unchanged, but they hope through this merger some of Heroku’s philosophies will rub off on them.

With salesforce.com’s trust and credibility, it will soon be a no-brainer to convince your company to use Heroku for your important projects.

With salesforce.com’s huge reach, we will be able to grow the ecosystem faster. This means more add-on providers with more great cloud service options for developers.

For customers, this means we will soon provide better sales processes for larger organizations, add more trust and security for data and applications, achieve more IT policy compliance, and provide more premium support options.

Great for Add-on Providers

The salesforce.com brand plus accelerated growth of the developer base, the types of applications on the platform, and the number and size of customers all bring huge opportunity for add-on providers.

Our Commitment

The founders and the whole team at Heroku are 100% committed to the long term vision we have shared since the beginning. This is Heroku going to the next level; a chance to further our vision, to take things to a larger scale, and to reach a wider audience than ever before with our product and our message about next-generation deployment.

We couldn’t be more amped!

The Heroku Team


Official press release here.

Who wants a HUG?

It’s no secret that Heroku’s getting pretty big. Heck, we advertise the number of apps running on the platform right there on the homepage (over 88,000, when I last looked). We’ve got tens of thousands of developers, and you all have been doing some amazing work — the success stories we’ve posted are only the tip of the iceberg. With that in mind, we thought it was high time we started to get all of you together. So, on November 3rd, we’re going to hold the first official Heroku Users Group meeting. Join us at our office at 7pm to meet other Heroku users and engineers, hear war stories from the front lines, learn tips and tricks, and ask those burning questions that you’ve been holding on to for months.

We’re still working out the details, but rest assured it’ll be great. We’ll bring the knowledge (and the food, and whatever else is needed). You just need to let us know that you’re coming.

Announcing the Add-on Provider Program

Heroku Provider Program

This morning we are very excited to announce our new Add-on Provider Program, which allows anyone to easily build a Heroku add-on, making it available to all Heroku developers and customers to purchase with one click.

We first launched add-ons almost a year ago. Since then, they have been hugely successful, many add-ons being purchased thousands of times.

Hundreds of cloud service providers have contacted us wanting to build their own add-ons. We’ve spent the past nine months iterating with add-on providers to create an API that’s easy to use and easy to get started with. We’re excited to release it to you today!

API and Developer Kit

Provisioning API

We have a full developer kit for building add-ons, including a provisioning API, single-sign on for tight integration into the Heroku user experience, tools for local development and testing of API calls, and a smooth, well established process for building, integrating, and testing add-ons that has been used by many of our existing providers.

Resource Center

Resource Center

We have also built a Resource Center for providers that contains an overview of the program, detailed how-to guides, sample code, reference materials, and best practices for building and operating a cloud service.

Program Benefits

The provider program is an excellent opportunity to build a business around a cloud service, with an easy distribution channel to all Heroku developers and customers.

Some of the benefits of the program include:

  • Make your service available to all of our developers and customers
  • Create a detailed listing in our Add-ons Catalog
  • Allow customers to activate your add-on instantly with one-click
  • Manage billing, payments, and upgrades easily through our system
  • Use our development kit for local testing of API calls
  • Operate your cloud service with our documented best practices
  • Alpha and beta test your add-on with our established process
  • Get feedback from our large group of private beta testers

We’re Serious about Providers

We believe that the ability to consume external services from within Heroku is a critical part of being an application platform, so we have invested heavily in our add-ons system and now our provider program, and will continue to do so.

Heroku is dedicated to building a neutral marketplace of cloud services. We will encourage competition, base our policies on objective metrics everywhere possible, and help to accelerate merit-based adoption of third party add-ons.

With dozens of providers already working on new add-ons and hundreds getting started today, we are very excited about providing a high-quality, self-service program for providers.

If you have any questions about the new program or need help getting started, please feel free to contact the add-ons team.

Customer Feedback

Our primary interest in add-ons is the tremendous value they can deliver to Heroku users. We want to hear as much feedback as possible from our users and customers about add-ons. We are building some great tools to make it easy for customers to share feedback and requests with us and with our providers.

Have a review of a particular provider? Have a service you would like to see an add-on for? Let us know!


Official press release here.

Ignition!

We can’t be happier to announce that we recently closed a $10 million Series B round of investment led by Ignition Partners. We’re planning to use the money to further expand our platform, turbo-charge partner programs for add-on providers and consultancies, and accelerate our go-to-market programs.

The growth and excitement that we’ve seen at Heroku, particularly in 2010, has been incredibly energizing for all of us. We talk a lot about numbers – the 60,000-plus apps running on our platform gets quoted a lot recently – but even more motivating are the creative forces that the platform is unleashing.

Developers and companies are building and running some amazing apps with our platform (check out the United Nations app ProtectedPlanet.net for one of my recent favorites). Ruby on Rails consultants are growing their businesses and creating happier customers. Technology vendors are building some very cool extensions to our platform as part of the Add-on system.

In other words, creating an open, efficient, and reliable platform that upends the status quo is not just about technology: it’s about resources and support for developers, making it easy for partners to use the platform for their own customers, and enabling technology partners to build businesses by extending the platform itself.

It’s also about having a great team. We can’t be prouder of the team we’re building at Heroku (if you might be interested in joining, please check out jobs.heroku.com), and the team just got stronger: John Connors of Ignition has joind our board. John is a super-smart, super-seasoned executive with a wealth of experience (including stints as CIO and CFO at Microsoft) that we’ve already begun to draw on as we plan what’s next for Heroku.

We’d like to take this moment to thank all of you for your support. We’ll take full advantage of the additional resources and expertise joining us today to serve you in the future.

Official news release here.

Update & Roadmap

It’s been a great first quarter for us, and it’s time for a brief update on where we are and where we’re headed.

Growth

Heroku’s growth has continued to be huge. 1,500 new apps were deployed to Heroku last week alone, and that number increases every week. Next week we will cross the 60,000 application mark.

As you can imagine, traffic is growing even more quickly, serving billions of requests per month. In fact, traffic has grown by 4x over the last four months:

Many are finding great value in the platform and paying for features and scale. Our customer count and revenue have similar growth curves.

Roadmap

Where is Heroku’s platform going next? How can you plan for our next releases or influence our direction? When we launch new features, what’s the best way to think about how they fit into our overall strategy?

Here’s how we think about our roadmap and decide on big new areas to work on: it’s all about use cases.

We started with the simplest use case: making it drop-dead easy for developers to deploy applications, and have grown into more complex ones (like multi-tier complex composite apps). We continue to try and expand the number of use cases that we provide a complete solution for.

Here’s a brief look at our historical roadmap from the perspective of expanding use cases:

Provisionless Deployment. Instant deployment with the now famous “git push heroku master” is at the heart of Heroku, enabling the basic use case: a frictionless application platform that just works.

Caching and Instant Scaling. We introduced high-speed HTTP caching built into every app, and added dynos which can be scaled up and down instantly, enabling large scale and variable scale apps.

Asynchronous Patterns. We added background processing with Delayed::Job, followed shortly by workers which can be scaled up and down just like dynos, enabling many use cases around modern asynchronous architecture.

Platform Extensibility. We launched the Add-ons system, a way to extend Heroku apps with core functionality like full-text search or memcache, and to consume external services like New Relic, Zerigo, or Sendgrid. Use cases here are literally endless. Add-ons allow the growing ecosystem of startups and established companies building cloud services to add new features to our platform – many more than we could do on our own.

Flexible Runtime. We recently introduced deployment stacks, which enable choice between multiple runtime environments.

What’s Next?

Over the next days, weeks, and months, we will release new features that continue to expand the number of use cases supported by Heroku, whether for startups or large enterprises.

You can be sure that each time we build a feature we will be maniacally focused on simplicity and developer productivity, and will always try to maintain the cohesiveness and quality of the platform.

From our core focus on developer productivity and frictionless deployment, we’ll be expanding the footprint to include areas like realtime and event-driven apps, more complex multi-tier applications, and a broader platform for deploying advanced applications. Stay tuned, and let us know where you’d like to see us go.

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