SAP apps heading to Microsoft Azure cloud

The companies are also integrating SAP's Business Objects with Microsoft's BI software

Microsoft and SAP's long-standing partnership is being strengthened with the pending certification of SAP's ERP (enterprise resource planning) and other software for deployment on the Azure cloud infrastructure service.

By the end of the second quarter, SAP's Business Suite, Business All-in-One, mobile platform, Adaptive Server Enterprise database, and the developer version of the Hana in-memory computing platform will be certified for Azure, the companies said Monday.

SAP's Cloud Appliance Library will make it possible to launch preconfigured SAP software packages to Azure within just a few minutes, they added.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will support customers if a problem crops up at the infrastructure level, while SAP would take over if the issue involves an application error, said Kevin Ichhpurani, senior vice president, head of business development and strategic ecosystem at SAP.

If the problem's source can't be immediately targeted, SAP and Microsoft would work together to resolve it, he added.

Also Monday, SAP and Microsoft announced the general availability of an integration between SAP BusinessObjects and Microsoft Power BI through Excel; an upcoming release of SAP's Gateway that will tie together SAP applications and Office 365; and plans for SAP mobile applications that support Windows and Windows Phone 8.1.

More details about the partnership announcement are expected to be released at SAP's Sapphire conference in June.

SAP's announcement follows moves by both Oracle and Infor to certify their software for Azure.

The deal has positive implications for both Microsoft and SAP, said analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research.

"This is SAP trying to show its cloud cred with a Microsoft partnership, and Microsoft trying to show enterprise cloud cred with SAP," he said.

But SAP's arrangement with Microsoft only goes so far, given it doesn't currently include Business One, which competes with some members of Microsoft's Dynamics ERP family, as well as the enterprise edition of Hana.

Monday's announcement represents the beginning of what will lead to more SAP software heading to Azure, according to Ichhpurani.

The deal makes sense for both SAP and Microsoft, according to Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

"Application vendors keep hearing that they need to deploy on known, standard IaaS infrastructures and not proprietary ones from their customers," he said. SAP recently launched an IaaS built on top of Hana.

Meanwhile, IaaS vendors such as Microsoft are looking to gain more workloads in order to get a return on their investments, Mueller added.

The Excel integration with Business Objects is another benefit for Microsoft, Holger said. Excel users will be able to work with data held in Business Objects using the familiar Excel interface. This interoperability will further strengthen Excel's position A "as the key data analysis and exploration tool," he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

This story, "SAP apps heading to Microsoft Azure cloud" was originally published by IDG News Service .

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