IBM To SAP-Optimize Database

That $10.3 billion blockbuster has everyone scrambling: It put Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in the unusual position of cozying up to longtime database rival IBM as he turns up the anti-SAP rhetoric. With PeopleSoft, Oracle is now the second-largest maker of enterprise apps behind SAP.

Meanwhile, as part of an effort to tighten ties to SAP, an important ISV partner, IBM is working on a version of DB2 specifically tailored to run SAP applications, said Janet Perna, general manager of Data Management at IBM Software.

"We are working on an optimized version of DB2 for SAP due in the first quarter," Perna told CRN. She cited the company's long-running tie with the ERP kingpin but declined further detail except to say IBM will likely discuss the move at its PartnerWorld Conference next month.

An IBM insider said this plan differs from past efforts to benchmark DB2 running SAP applications because IBM is enabling new features to provide easier configuration and management and better availability of SAP solutions.

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The stakes are huge. Despite public pronouncements about supporting customers that run Oracle applications with IBM middleware and databases, the world expects Oracle to use its formidable database strength to displace competitive applications. That puts SAP in the crosshairs at the high end and Microsoft at the low end. Oracle's own application servers and middleware also compete directly with IBM's software stack.

SAP declined to comment on IBM's plan, but some SAP partners were bullish.

Brad Nicolaisen, president of Et alia, a Milwaukee SAP solution provider, called it a good move, especially in SMB accounts. "IBM is a strong partner with SAP," he said. "[By] optimizing DB2, it's allowing us to reduce the total cost of ownership of any type of enterprise applications system and provides that interoperability across platforms and across data in the database itself."