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November 1, 1999

Siebel to Port to IBM and HP Environments in 2000

By CBR Staff Writer

By Timothy Prickett Morgan

As part of the alliance that IBM Corp and CRM software house Siebel Systems Inc forged last week, Siebel has agreed to port its eponymous CRM suite to IBM’s software environments. IBM, as always, needs to have solutions available on all of its strategic platforms because that is central to its sales pitch, and this is the price that Siebel has to if it wants to get IBM’s 4,700 solution sales reps out there selling its CRM products alongside its 250-strong sales force. The Siebel 2000 release of the company’s software, which is due in March 2000, will reportedly support IBM’s OS/390 mainframe environment as well as IBM’s AIX 4.3.3 Unix variant for its RS/6000 servers.

Siebel had already forged an alliance with Sun Microsystems Inc last February and had gotten Siebel 99, the prior release of its CRM suite, running on Solaris in early October. Siebel says that it has a version of Siebel 99 running on AIX as well, which has also been available as a beta since October. In late 1998, Siebel and formerly independent server vendor Sequent Computer Systems, now part of IBM, had signed a deal to port the Siebel software to NUMA-Q servers. It is unclear whether or not that software ever shipped for Sequent’s Dynix/ptx Unix variant, but it certainly got out the door for Windows NT, which also runs on NUMA-Qs.

The vast majority of Siebel’s business has been on NT up until now, and for the high-end business that Siebel and its hardware partners are chasing, Unix is really the only way to go considering the poor reliability of Windows NT. Siebel says that it will have a version of its Siebel 2000 suite running on IBM’s OS/400 proprietary operating system for AS/400s within the next twelve months, adding that it hopes to get the release out the door before them. The release for OS/400 is probably contingent on when IBM announces the I-Star AS/400e servers, which were originally scheduled for February 2000 and are now expected in the second half of 2000.

IBM will undoubtedly want to hold the Siebel release until the I- Stars are out the door to have one more thing to talk about, but given the fact that it ought to be focusing on generating hardware sales with CRM software, it might have made more sense to get the OS/400 release out the door sooner.

In the meantime, customers with legacy IBM mainframe and AS/400 environments can always opt for a middleware server, which runs on Unix, from Siebel partner Computer Network Technology. All the IBM operating systems, by the way, will support Siebel running on the different versions of IBM’s DB2 database. Up until now, Oracle has been the dominant data base supported by Siebel applications. But now that Oracle has declared war on Siebel using HP as a primary partner and hardware supplier, expect Siebel and IBM to emphasize DB2 over Oracle. That said, there is technically no reason why an Oracle database and Siebel CRM suite combo cannot be supported on an RS/6000 or a S/390; only the AS/400 doesn’t support Oracle among IBM’s servers. á

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