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SAP highlights pact with IBM to test joint product

SAP and IBM are launching an analytics package designed to integrate the NetWeaver platform with IBM's blade and storage infrastructure.

SAP is partnering with IBM to test an analytics package designed to speed queries by integrating the NetWeaver platform with IBM's blade servers and storage systems.

We are overcoming the traditional tradeoff between the ablity to either do queries at very high speed or do them in a very flexible way.
Peter Graf,
executive vice president of product marketingSAP

The product will be aimed at customers using IBM BladeCenter and IBM TotalStorage DS4300 system configurations. The bundled products are intended to speed interactive queries against large volumes of data by using the IBM blade and storage systems.

The SAP announcement, released at its TechEd '05 conference in Vienna, Austria, comes on the heels of Oracle's agreement with IBM to cooperate on standards that will allow their applications to work together. Oracle's Project Fusion applications will be services based, allowing them to run on IBM's WebSphere platform.

Under the SAP-IBM agreement, NetWeaver will be optimized and bundled with those systems, said Peter Graf, executive vice president of product marketing. The product is designed to be used with SAP's Business Information Warehouse and SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence, Graf said.

IBM has worked closely with SAP in recent years to package SAP software with IBM hardware. The two vendors recently launched a version of IBM's DB2 database management system bundled with SAP software. The products are sold by IBM with pre-packaged configurations to simplify installation and get the system up and running quickly, Graf said.

Partnerships between large software and infrastructure vendors have been increasing in recent years as companies look to cut the costs of innovative technologies, said Charles King, principal analyst with Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Research.

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"The level of technical expertise and sheer cost of the development effort to put something compelling together from a price performance standpoint may not be beyond the capabilities of a single vendor, but it's a little easier if the cost pain is shared," King said.

Oracle, meanwhile, is trying to build out its product set through a mixture of acquisitions and partnerships, King said. In the last several weeks, the company announced it would acquire Siebel Systems Inc. in a $5.8 billion deal. In a smaller acquisition announced this week, Oracle plans to purchase G-Log, a privately held company based in King of Prussia, Pa., which sells logistics management software. The terms of the G-Log deal were not disclosed.

SAP executives have said they plan to focus on partnerships and add in much smaller, more strategic acquisitions over the coming months to add industry-specific functionality to existing products. This week SAP said it would acquire Toronto-based Triversity, which makes point-of-sale software for the retail industry.

"There is a strong movement in the ISV [independent software vendor] community of people approaching SAP from the application side, and from the technology infrastructure side -- the stuff that runs underneath NetWeaver, and we very much want to foster those partnerships," SAP's Graf said.

Graf said more than 400 ISVs are attending the TechEd conference.

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