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Microsoft and SAP Integration Pact Is Perhaps Their Broadest Yet

Microsoft and SAP have inked a broad partnership that integrates some key offerings including Azure and Office 365 with the SAP HANA data platform. The pact, which includes ties with other products from both companies, was the big headline at the 28th Annual SAP Sapphire NOW user conference, which kicked off Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

The two companies have aligned in the past but today's announcement promises to benefit many organizations that use both companies' respective offerings, while boosting SAP's efforts to broaden its reach into midsize organizations with the new SAP Business Suite 4 HANA offering. SAP had decided rather than support third-party databases underneath the various components of its suite -- targeted at transaction-oriented, business critical functions -- that it would tie the components only with its own HANA in-memory database.

The two companies have agreed to certify HANA and the suite to run dev, test and production workloads in the Microsoft Azure public cloud.  On the software-as-a-service side of things, the two companies are integrating SAP's Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and Ariba offerings with Office 365. The Office 365 integration will include document sharing, calendar, communications and other collaboration and data sharing functions offered by Microsoft's service with SAP's SaaS apps.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared on stage during the keynote session yesterday at Sapphire NOW, led by SAP CEO Bill McDermott. Addressing McDermott, Nadella said: "This partnership is perhaps one of the broadest things that we've done. We have a long heritage of working together but when I look at the footprint of what you're accomplishing today to benefit customers, it is breathtaking." In addition to the Office 365 integration with SAP's SaaS offerings, Nadella noted Microsoft will offer security and management of the HANA portfolio.

"The applications you build can be managed with EMS and Intune, so you can set security principles for data loss protection," he said. "Now that seamlessly flows into the apps that you build. This combination of integration is really going to accelerate the growth that our customers really seek by bringing together things they're bringing with us."

Pund-IT Principal Analyst Charles King said both companies have thousands of customers in common, which all stand to benefit from the new integration capabilities announced at Sapphire NOW. "Both companies are leading players in their respective spheres -- Microsoft's Azure is one of the industry's largest business clouds while SAP's HANA is the fastest growing in-memory database solution," King said. "Business customers will applaud bringing those platforms closer together but the move should also cheer SAP and Microsoft's technology partners, most of which are delivering or building Azure- and HANA-related service offerings."

While the extended pact with Microsoft was among the most prominent, a number of other key SAP partners announced new capabilities this week. Among them were Amazon Web Services and Dell. AWS launched a new X1 Instance Type designed for workloads generated by in-memory databases such as HANA. The new x1.32xlarge instance size is powered by an Intel Haswell Xeon E7 8880 v3, available with up to 64 cores and 128 virtual CPUs. AWS today posted the specs of its high-end compute node.

Dell announced appliances for its new "Dell Validated Systems for SAP HANA Edge," which will be released next quarter. The new PowerEdge servers running the SAP HANA Edge edition is targeted at midsize organizations that are notably smaller than the traditional SAP customer. "We want to make it not only affordable but enable smaller SAP implementations and democratize it for SMBs," said Jim Ganthier, VP and general manager of Dell Engineered Solutions, HPC and Cloud.

For those looking to add database replication to the mix, Dell said a new version of its SharePlex data replication offering will support SAP HANA, Teradata and EnterpriseDB Postgress. Until now, it only offered Oracle-to-Oracle replication. Dell also launched the Dell Automation and Cloud for SAP Software bundle, which includes support for Cloudera and Dell's new IoT portfolio.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/18/2016 at 1:55 PM


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