Just three months after it announced a "dramatic expansion" of its relationship with Microsoft Corp in which it tied its eBusiness application suite to .NET, Siebel Systems Inc has revealed a parallel alliance with IBM Corp and its WebSphere application server platform.
The next version of its suite, Siebel eBusiness Applications 8, will be built on IBM’s WebSphere application server platform. The suite will provide native support for J2EE and Web Services running on IBM WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Portal Server.
In addition, Siebel Tools will be integrated with IBM WebSphere Studio to support customers’ application customization work. The UAN will be available on WebSphere Integration Server, and this will be the first joint release from the duo, scheduled for availability within the next two quarters. The vendors will contribute 100 developers each to work on the initiative, and each will also invest $150,000 for go-to-market costs over the next three years, slightly up on the $250,000 total investment involved in the similar Siebel/Microsoft deal.
This partnership is a huge expansion of the existing relationship between the two. It was kicked off in 1999 when Siebel started optimizing its applications for IBM’s database platform and according to David Schmaier, executive VP of Siebel, came about because they shared a common view of the future.
"Over the next three years Web Services will go from being a concept to a reality. You will not find enterprise software without Web Services functionality. It is the next generation of software," he said, based on a standard application server platform.
The combination of this agreement and the similar Microsoft one means Siebel is living up to its claim to back both .NET and J2EE platforms. "It is clear the world is converging on .NET and J2EE - that is a certainty. [We need to] provide support for both. Technically it is feasible and commercially it is viable because that is what customers are asking for," says Schmaier.
Although the company stressed that it is maintaining an even balance between IBM and Microsoft and J2EE and .NET, in order to give customers a choice of platform, Siebel was heaping fulsome praise on IBM in areas that Microsoft is unable to match, making much of the fact that IBM could bring mainframe levels of salability and robustness down to open systems level.
"We need to deliver the next generation of high level computing. IBM brings mainframe scalability to open systems platforms. We will be able to build CRM platforms at a level not previously available," commented Schmaier.
The emphasis on mainframe-like attributes will give IBM a major boost over Microsoft in the application server platform stakes and also help it score a point against BEA Systems, the other leading application server contender as Siebel has effectively set up IBM as its J2EE champion.