24 July 2003 SAP has moved to strengthen its presence in the market for applications running on Linux with a customer support deal with SuSE, one of the biggest distributors of the open source operating systems.
The new deal is intended to improve the support for customers running SAP software on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. SuSE says that it will now be offering centralised support from specialist engineers trained specifically for the combination of SAP running on SuSE.
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server runs on both standard Intel-based servers, as well as IBM zSeries mainframes.
The engineers will be able to handle queries regarding the SAP applications, as well as answering questions about Linux and the Linux source code.
For SuSE, the deal will help dispel doubts about support for running major applications on Linux, as well as helping it claw market share and ‘mind share’ from its main rival Red Hat in the Linux distribution business.
Like many applications vendors, SAP is pushing Linux as the platform of choice for running its software in preference to Windows. This is partly in response to Microsoft’s shift into the enterprise applications market.
While Microsoft is not directly challenging SAP in its core market, Microsoft’s Great Plains and Navision acquisitions compete directly with SAP’s Business One package in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market. Business One was acquired when SAP bought portal software vendor Top Tier in 2001.
Furthermore, Microsoft has ambitions to move into the higher end of the enterprise applications market at some time in the future.
SAP is not the only enterprise applications software vendor embracing Linux in preference to Windows. Both its rivals, Oracle and PeopleSoft, are touting Linux as the platform of choice for running their applications.