IBM Readies Project Kobe to Speed SAP Deployments on System i
May 14, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Big Blue, which has been trying to make the i5/OS and OS/400 platform attractive for end users who choose ERP systems from SAP, is cooking up a new set of tools and practices to help get mySAP ERP suites up on the i5 box faster and, presumably, with less cost.
According to Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM‘s System i product line, one of the bright spots for System i5 sales in Europe has been for companies installing or upgrading SAP platforms. “System i is doing well with new SAP placements,” he said when I talked to him two weeks ago at the COMMON midrange tradeshow. And, he added, IBM wants to boost sales of SAP on the i5 platform.
To that end, IBM’s European System i team has initiated Project Kobe, which is not about getting excellent Japanese beef imported into Germany or getting L.A. Laker shooting guard Kobe Bryant, whose parents actually named him after that beef when they saw it on a menu prior to his birth. Project Kobe, according to Shearer, aims to reduce the time to install a suite of SAP software on the i5 platform from a matter of weeks to a few days. Presumably, these timeframes are for relatively simple SAP installations.
SAP is, of course, still at work on its future ERP suite aimed at SMB customers, known by the code-name A1S, which could have some software-as-a-service delivery methods as well as functionality, packaging, and pricing that are suitable for small and medium businesses. In March, the rumors had it that A1S delivery was being delayed, but SAP explained that it had always intended for a stepped rollout of the product, starting at the end of 2007 or perhaps the beginning of 2008. In the meantime, SMB shops are being sold the All in One variant of the SAP suite.
Such a delivery would, of course, roughly coincide with when the Power6-based System i servers are expected to be launched. But that timing is actually just a coincidence. Given the midrange bend to the System i customer base and IBM’s desire to be the easiest and quickest platform on which to deploy SAP and the popularity of the i5 platform at manufacturers and distributors in Europe, you can bet Project Kobe is also focusing on making the i5 competitive on A1S workloads, too.