"One of the more interesting technologies I've been exposed to
in the past year is the Force.com platform. Salesforce.com, well
known for their Software as a Service CRM product, has taken the
expertise they've garnered delivering a high-capacity application
to a global market, and used it to offer the underlying
infrastructure to application developers.
"If you imagine the 'Platform as a Service' landscape as a
spectrum, you have offerings like Amazon's EC2 at one end. EC2 is
essentially a VM-based technology with some scalability
infrastructure, but you have to roll everything else yourself, from
persistence to failover. In the middle, you have products like
Google's App Engine, which allow you to deploy an application with
many of the underlying nuts-and-bolts concerns handled by Google,
but is still essentially a deployment environment that you
hand-code Python with..."