Extending a Power Partnership For Open Source
Siebel Systems and Novell have extended their partnership to provide Siebel the ability to offer its CRM applications on Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, enabling customers to deploy Siebel applications on an open source platform. In addition, the two companies have announced the Siebel's development team will work with Novell to deliver support for the new delivery model and standard-based computing solutions. In conjunction with its OnDemand product line, the extended partnership Novell gives Siebel another method to deliver its products to enterprises while providing a lower total cost of ownership, according to Siebel.
The new initiative "will enable Siebel to offer our customers the additional choice of using Novell's fully supported Linux platform for their Siebel deployments," says Skip Bacon, vice president of technology at Siebel. "This will allow customers of all sizes the opportunity to exploit Linux's integrated management capabilities to enable system administrators to more rapidly deploy, configure, and operate their production systems."
Dennis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group, contends the extention's purpose might be "redundant," given the fact that Siebel already has a strong, low-cost delivery model with its OnDemand product line. "I'm not quite sure why a vendor would want to go in both directions with an on-demand and open source model. It's two different approaches to a very similar outcome. In some ways they're just finding another outlet for their technology."
That just-another-outlet theory is what Martin Schneider, enterprise software analyst at The 451 Group, says is important about the announcement. He contends this is a move Siebel needed to make if it is to stay competitive as an enterprise suite provider. "These are the things you have to do...in larger enterprises," he says. "You have to be able to run your products on anything your customers are running their IP infrastructure on. As more and more people are adopting the open source Linux server as their infrastructure, Siebel had to bow to that. Open source is the next generation of new infrastructures. If you're an enterprise software provider and you can't run on everything, then people aren't going to buy you."
Asked about the possibility that Siebel will produce an open source product with open code a la SugarCRM, Schneider says: "This isn't Siebel creating an open source product, or giving its code away--it's making its proprietary software able to run out-of-the-box on anything, including the Linux server--the most popular open source product. If IBM had done it, Siebel would have partnered with them, as well. But as far as giving their code base away, Siebel would never do that--that would kill them."
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