Rides Cloud Wave To Big Dollar Deals, Bright Outlook

That success, coupled with a massive revenue increase in the quarter, pushed Salesforce to up its full-year revenue outlook, a sign that the cloud computing wave of excitement will continue through the fiscal year's end.

During its earnings call for its second-quarter revenue Thursday, the San Francisco SaaS giant raised its full-year revenue outlook for fiscal 2012 to between $2.22 billion and $2.23 billion from the previous prediction of $2.15 billion and $2.17 billion. While the increase was modest, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company has forged ahead despite economic turmoil elsewhere in the IT industry.

"We haven't seen a softening environment," he said.

Salesforce reported quarterly revenue of $546 million, up 38 percent year-over-year. Benioff said subscription and support services were $509 million, up 38 percent, while professional services and other revenues represented $37 million, a 44 percent increase. Salesforce suffered a net loss of $4.27 million, compared with profit of $14.7 million one year earlier.

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"We haven't seen revenue growth that fast in three years, and that was when we were less than half our current size," Benioff said.

Benioff said Salesforce is growing on all fronts. Salesforce added a record 6,300 net new paying customers, pushing its total customer numbers to 104,000. Those customer numbers don't include customers brought on by a pair of key acquisitions Salesforce made in the past year: The acquisition Heroku, a Ruby-based application development platform, and the purchase of social media monitoring player Radian6.

Benioff added that Salesforce has more than 100,000 companies using Chatter, 400,000 platform developers with more than 240,000 custom apps, and more than 170,000 social and mobile apps on Heroku.

Salesforce's new contracts include 60 seven-figure transactions and three eight-figure "mega deals." Benioff added that Salesforce inked another eight-figure deal with a large telecom provider just after the second quarter closed and that customer will be revealed at Dreamforce, Salesforce's upcoming user and partner conference in San Francisco which is expected to draw 40,000 attendees.

"This is a growth company. It's a growth story," bragged Benioff. "It's about the next generation."

Salesforce also increased headcount by 800 in the quarter and Benioff deflected a rumor that Salesforce plans to institute a hiring freeze.

"We plan to onboard a huge number of employees in the next two quarters," he said, later quipping "We are hiring. We're taking all resumes … Keep us in mind."

Benioff credited Salesforce's continued growth to its various product sets and its heavy focus on cloud computing. He said the virtues of cloud computing can't be denied.

"People realize that cloud, mobile and social are the future," he said.

Benioff detailed a host of major customer wins, including the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Burberry and home-security player ADT. The continuing growth in the market, Benioff said, signals to him and Salesforce that the market has found its feet and that a second recession isn't on the horizon.

"I don't think we are going into another recession, by the way," Benioff said. "I'm not an economist, but that's my off-hand comment."