SAP, Microsoft, HP Team On Duet Appliance

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Further proving its attraction to appliances, SAP on Monday unveiled a Duet appliance that will ease access to business processes from Microsoft Office client apps.

The product itself, formally named "Duet By SAP and Microsoft, powered by HP" will comprise an HP Proliant server loaded up with Duet. The bundle will be available in June. Pricing was not disclosed.

The news came out of Sapphire 2007 in Atlanta. Sources had expected SAP to talk up appliances and other software delivery vehicles including hosted applications at this year's event.

Monday morning, a panel of SAP execs was asked if the company is becoming a hardware provider. The answer was no. SAP already fields a Business Intelligence Appliance, announced last year.

"We'll stick with applications and platforms. The trend you see in appliances is very easily explained in time-to-value [for customers,]" said SAP Executive Vice President Peter Graf.

"We can shape our BI Accelerator as software, but it's really an appliance that accelerates the analysis of huge amounts of corporate data in sub-seconds for gigabytes of information. We put these things together and configured them because it's about how the software interacts with the hardware and we've had very good success."

"We won't exclusively ship Duet as an appliance, it's an option," he added.

One message at this show will be that SAP will support software delivered in many ways.

"We're not wedded to any distribution mechanism, whether it's hosted or appliance or on-premises. Appliance is just one mechanism, hosting is another," he said.

SAP, like Microsoft and Oracle, is focusing on customer choice when it comes to software implementation whereas SaaS pioneers like offer only the hosted option

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