extends cloud computing service

The company announces Sites, an extension to their existing service that lets businesses build external-facing Web sites. is expanding its cloud computing service with a new option that lets customers more easily build external Web sites.

The company is expected to announce the new service, called Sites, at its Dreamforce user conference on Monday in San Francisco.

The service extends the company's existing service, used to build internal business applications, to development and hosting of Web sites targeted at external users, said Kendall Collins, senior vice president of product marketing at

A boat mooring application built using Sites.

"There are a lot of people out there who struggle with the infrastructure demands," he said. Sites lets customers publish data and applications stored in to any Web site. provides the cloud-based infrastructure services.

The company hopes that the service will greatly expand's reach in a cloud computing marketplace that is rapidly expanding. Competitors to the service include, Rackspace, and Microsoft, which last week announced Windows Azure, a cloud computing extension to its Windows franchise.

Collins applauded Microsoft's announcement as a "validation for cloud computing." But he argues that with Azure, Microsoft is "moving complexity to the cloud. They're moving the old computing model to the cloud. There is still a tremendous amount of complexity that users have to manage. Sites lets customers make changes and get updates immediately without headaches. " Sites is available in a developer preview mode. Collins said the service is expected to be generally available in 2009. The preview service is available in four tiered editions that support up to one million monthly page views. Additional page views can be added.

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