Dell and SAP team up on business software and services

Dell will expand its services portfolio to include support for customers running applications and databases from SAP, as part of...

Dell will expand its services portfolio to include support for customers running applications and databases from SAP, as part of a pledge for closer interaction between the two companies, said Dell chairman and chief executive officer Michael Dell.

Dell and SAP chairman and chief executive officer Henning Kagermann announced new services and highlighted a growing relationship between the two companies, which has expanded to include more than 5,000 enterprise customers running SAP's software on Dell servers.

SAP's customers which use Dell servers in the US will now contact Dell first when seeking support. Dell will also offer operating system migration services to help customers move away from Unix operating systems to Linux and Windows.

Dell's services arm allows SAP customers to deploy SAP applications quickly while helping to iron out configuration issues, Kagermann said.

Dell provided these types of services for a limited number of customers before the announcement, but will now make them broadly available, said Jeff Clarke, senior vice-president and general manager of Dell's Product Group.

The company will also work with Oracle to provide simliar services for Oracle's databases, Clarke said. Applications suppliers are drawn to Dell because the company has no applications business of its own, unlike some of its competitors in the enterprise hardware market, he said.

"Customers want best-in-class solutions," Clarke said. Dell feels it can offer its customers better application support through partners such as SAP and Oracle than companies such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which offer their own application products.

The companies have no plans for expand Dell's partnership to include hosting SAP applications, Dell said.

Both Dell and Kagermann pointed to a resurgence in corporate technology spending in the US as a reason for the growing partnership between the two companies.

"Companies are becoming more confident in their spending. They are remembering what technology spending is all about," Dell said.

IT customers are looking to expand their existing two-way and four-way servers based on Intel's processors, and those customers still running Unix servers will, eventually, move away from those platforms.

Technology spending in Europe is not as strong as the US, but SAP expected the situation to improve over the next two quarters, Kagermann said.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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