SAP, IBM look to charm users with 'Viper' database

Ratcheting up their alliance against common foe Oracle Corp., IBM and SAP AG said Thursday that the next version of IBM's DB2 database will be designated the preferred database for mid-sized users of SAP's business software.

Customers buying the All-in-One version of the mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software will be able to get the "Viper" edition of DB2 -- expected to ship this summer -- configured and tuned for best performance, according to Bernie Spang, director of database marketing for IBM.

After IBM and SAP last year released a specially-tuned version of DB2 for all SAP applications, "hundreds" of SAP users either switched from Oracle Database to DB2 or picked DB2 over Oracle in new SAP deployments, said Spang. He declined to be more specific.

"We're turning the heat up on Oracle," Spang said. "This should result in thousands of new customers for DB2."

But one analyst says that SAP's bundling of DB2 goes back as far as 2001, an arrangement which has produced only mixed results so far. "I am somewhat sceptical of the success of this re-heated initiative," said James Governor, an analyst with consultancy RedMonk Inc.

"Customers have shown no great desire to kick out Oracle in the database space. SAP and IBM may have won some customers from Oracle, but so far this looks like natural churn rather than an exodus. ...So far, the winners have possibly been customers refusing to be pushed into decisions they might regret."