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IBM unveils SAP optimized database to challenge Oracle

IBM is rolling out a DB2 database packaged with SAP integration tools. IBM said the product is a direct challenge to Oracle, which holds a large share of SAP's install base.

IBM is unveiling a new version of its DB2 Universal database management system that is optimized for SAP applications, in an effort to draw customers off of Oracle Corp. database software.

It can be set up to support an SAP installation without a great deal of human involvement.
Bernie Spang,
 director of DB2 strategy IBM

SAP and IBM have been longtime partners and worked together in marketing and product development in the midmarket. The latest product could draw former PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers off of Oracle database software, with a combination of support and services packages for migrating to SAP and DB2, analysts said.

Several configuration and performance tools are packaged with the DBMS and help integrate it into SAP environments, said Bernie Spang, director of DB2 strategy at IBM.

The autonomic capabilities within DB2 help support integration with SAP software, Spang said. Dynamic storage allocation and support for multidimensional clustered tables help improve integration with customers using SAP's Business Warehouse, he said.

"The work that the team's been doing is to build intelligence into the DB2 product," Spang said. "It can be set up to support an SAP installation without a great deal of human involvement to set up the database configurations and the configurable parameters."

Spang said IBM is taking direct aim at Oracle with its product. Nearly 60% of current SAP install base are running applications on Oracle.

IBM and SAP are clearly moving into an offensive posture against Oracle on the DBMS front, said Mark Smith, CEO and senior vice president of research and advisory services at San Mateo, Calif.-based Ventana Research.

"Organizations that are looking to purchase SAP should seriously evaluate IBM DB2," Smith said.

Mike Zeleniak, information systems manager at Teck Cominco Ltd., a Vancouver, British Columbia-based mining firm, oversaw a migration off Oracle DBMS onto DB2 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Zeleniak said his firm is using SAP 4.7 Enterprise for marketing and sales side operations. It also runs J.D. Edwards software, he said.

"It has some very nice tools and is tightly integrated with SAP," Zeleniak said. "I can manage the database from within the SAP GUI and adjust tables and create table spaces quite effectively without going to the OS or the system."

Zeleniak said his firm is a small SAP shop with only 50 users and about 70 GB of data being managed by DB2. The firm has seen some performance increases, reducing the report generation time within SAP from six hours to only 20 minutes.

"We've got a fantastic performance increase, but we've changed hardware and can't attribute everything to DB2," he said.

The SAP version of DB2 8.2.2 will be available at the end of this month.

IBM said it will continue selling the mySAP Business One and All-in-One SAP software suites to the midmarket. SAP and IBM also announced an agreement with retailer Fossil to provide software and services for its 120 stores. Fossil will install the SAP for Retail industry-specific suite and use IBM consulting services.

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