IBM claims it will be the first Intel-based server vendor to market with a ready-to-run ERP package on a worldwide scale. The company will announce next week, at the SAP US user conference, that it will ship SAP ready-to-run R/3 with the Netfinity server at the beginning of next month. IBM will offer 25, 50 and 100 user licences on the high-end IBM Netfinity 7000, with the choice of DB2, SQL, Informix and Oracle databases. SAP has authorised six hardware vendors for ready-to-run R/3 on Intel servers: IBM, Compaq, Digital, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens Nixdorf and NCR. Most vendors announced plans for ready-to-run systems at SAP's European conference in June. But HP and Compaq, which rival IBM for implementations of SAP, have been unable to give a date for the UK shipments of ready-to-run ERP software. Compaq said there was a strong possibility that it would be rolled out before the end of the year. However, the company emphasised that there are still important issues to be taken into account, such as the preparation of the channel and servicing infrastructure and packaging. "It's not like bundling (Microsoft) Office," said Hugh Jenkins, enterprise server product manager at Compaq. SAP R/3 will be installed on IBM scanners at IBM's manufacturing plant in Greenock, Scotland, and will be shipped by accredited partners. IBM intends to introduce other ready-to-run applications, but does not expect this initiative to extend to operating systems and directories like NT, NetWare or UnixWare. "We have some guidelines (for bundling operating systems on servers), but the recommended sizing for databases, workload and disk imaging have not been given to us. These tend to be done customer by customer and implementations are based on personal experience," said Tikiri Wanduragala, senior consultant for Netfinity at IBM.
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