Microsoft adds SAP as strategic ally in cloud war against Amazon

The tech giants will deploy each other's cloud solutions internally, and provide joint support services for customers.

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On Monday, Microsoft and SAP unveiled integrated offerings to help joint customers digitally transform in the cloud, as well as plans to co-engineer, go to market, and support cloud solutions together.

The two tech giants also announced that they will deploy each other's cloud solutions internally.

SAP and Microsoft both will run SAP S/4HANA on Azure for their internal operations. Microsoft will deploy SAP S/4HANA on Azure to run its internal finance processes, and SAP will move its key internal business critical systems to Azure, according to a press release.

Running SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud on Microsoft Azure will allow customers to run SAP S/4HANA in a secure, managed cloud, the release noted. And SAP Ariba currently uses Azure, and the company will explore further use within its procurement applications.

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The companies will document these internal projects, to better offer customers guidance and enterprise architecture for the deployment of SAP applications on Azure, according to the release.

"As technology transforms every business and every industry, organizations are looking for the right platforms and trusted partners to help accelerate their digital transformation," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Building on our longtime partnership, Microsoft and SAP are harnessing each other's products to not only power our own organizations, but to empower our enterprise customers to run their most mission-critical applications and workloads with SAP S/4HANA on Azure."

More enterprises are moving key systems to the cloud to realize the benefits of digital transformation, including streamlined operations and new business models. Two-thirds of business leaders believe that their companies must speed up digitalization to remain competitive, according to research from Gartner cited in the release.

"We are taking our partnership to the next level with this new capability to run SAP S/4HANA in the Microsoft Azure environment," said SAP CEO Bill McDermott. "The world's significant businesses trust Microsoft and SAP. Together, we will help companies win the customer-driven growth revolution."

The move follows a similar cross-cloud integration partnership made between Microsoft and Adobe last year. Amazon inked a similar deal with VMware last year as well.

The Microsoft/SAP partnership is likely aimed at boosting Microsoft's cloud offerings and competing with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the dominant cloud vendor. AWS accounts for 44% of the Infrastructure as a Service market share, compared to Azure's 7% share, according to Gartner.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. On Monday, Microsoft and SAP announced integrated offerings to help joint customers digitally transform in the cloud, as well as plans to co-engineer, go to market, and support cloud solutions together.

2. The two companies will also deploy each others' solutions internally, and document the process to better guide customers.

3. The partnership appears to be a move for Microsoft to challenge Amazon's market dominance in the cloud space.

Image: iStockphoto/photobyphm

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