Just a few months after it announced an "exclusive partnership" with Apple, IBM struck a deal with SAP that will get enterprise analysts even more excited.
Big Blue will become SAP's preferred provider of Cloud Infrastructure Services for its business critical applications - HANA Business Suite and other cloud services - but it is the way SAP pitches it that will get tongues wagging.
The PR team selected the expression "premier strategic provider" which could mean that the company has decided to spread its risks by using a provider other than Oracle; whether that means getting rid of Larry Ellison's firm may be premature at this stage.
Of the announcement, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty said that "It builds on our two companies' long history of bringing innovation to business, and extends IBM's position as the premier global cloud platform" while Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP added "this global agreement with IBM heralds a new era of cloud collaboration".
Due to their sheer scale, both companies do have some overlapping solution although not as extensive as Oracle and SAP. Being able to rely and utilise someone else's cloud infrastructure must come as a massive relief for SAP's management.
IBM's forte remains cloud infrastructure (PAAS and IAAS) rather than services (SAAS) and together with SAP, it can provide with a reasonably wide array of services to keep Oracle at bay. It has invested more than $4 billion over the last 18 months with the acquisition of SoftLayer, expansion of its DC count to 40 and the introduction of Bluemix.
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