Microsoft and SAP deepen partnership with Azure and Office integrations

Updates include support for SAP HANA on Azure and a new Outlook add-in for Concur

SAP and Microsoft have expanded an existing partnership to offer new products to users of the Azure and Office 365 cloud services, focused on better integrating the two companies' offerings.

Azure customers will be able to use SAP HANA in Microsoft's public cloud, expanding the reach of that popular relational database service. SAP is also integrating its services including Fieldglass, Concur and SuccessFactors with Microsoft Office 365, so users can get the benefits of Microsoft's communications, collaboration, calendar and document editing tools.

This all fits into Microsoft's ongoing strategy of partnering broadly with a variety of companies, including those that compete against it in some businesses. Teaming up with SAP can make Azure and Office 365 more appealing to companies that are already tied into SAP's ecosystem, and drive adoption of each company's products.

The Azure integration in particular helps Microsoft better compete against Amazon Web Services, which already offers a service that lets developers run SAP HANA in the public cloud. What sets Azure's HANA offering apart from AWS's is the total amount of memory that the service can bring to bear.

Microsoft says that its support for 3TB of memory on a single HANA instance outpaces Amazon's offering, which can currently only handle 2TB of data on a single node. Azure will also allow developers to deploy a HANA configuration with 32TB of memory across 16 nodes, and a variety of more resource-light configurations, too.

For Office 365 users, the SAP integrations are going to make it easier for employees to get work done without having to move around from one piece of software to another. Case in point: the integration between Concur and Office 365 that the two companies showed off lets employees start the process of booking travel right from their calendar.

It's a fairly straightforward workflow, since Concur knows where a user is, where they're going and when, thanks to the information contained in their calendar. The integrations aren't available yet, but SAP and Microsoft say that they'll start coming online in the third quarter of this year.

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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