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SAP, Cisco Get Deeper in Bed

This is the first time Cisco and SAP have talked about actual product development, although they formed a marketing alliance around risk and compliance in September 2006. Marketing something six months before it's even announced might seem like an odd strategy, but in this case it makes sense: The joint development is around composite applications, which customers can already put together for themselves using products from Cisco, SAP or their competitors. The two vendors are unlikely to tightly integrate their products, as Cisco will not want to jeopardize its relationships with BEA Systems, IBM and Oracle.

SAP's concurrent announcement about its NetWeaver platform's planned SOA capabilities shows that SAP and Cisco complement each other well. SAP divides SOA into four "pillars": The J2EE environment itself, rich Internet (Web 2.0) tools, a service bus (for orchestration) and a registry (for design-time governance). All four are important, but SAP leaves out three other SOA components: security, runtime management and application delivery. Not coincidentally, these are the only three parts of a SOA that Cisco provides, the first two through its February acquisition of Reactivity.
Andrew Dornan
NWC Senior Technology Editor

Building on a previously announced partnership, SAP and Cisco today detailed plans to jointly develop service-oriented business applications that leverage Cisco networking expertise and SAP business-process smarts. Another area of focus is the integration of unified communications--including e-mail, voice and podcasting technologies--into business-process applications.

Entering into what they called a "market innovation agreement," the two vendors said they plan to develop a "new breed" of business applications that make use of emerging SOA (service-oriented architecture) and process workflow technologies. Such applications would take advantage of SAP's NetWeaver enterprise SOA platform and Cisco's SONA (Service-Oriented Network Architecture), the vendors said.

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