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Software AG attempts to barge aboard crowded Cloud bandwagon

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Software AG is late to the cloud computing party - but Europe’s second largest maker of on-premises enterprise software has vowed to “get it right”.

Daren Roos, chief operating officer at the German giant, told The Reg: “We will deliver something that works. We are committed to doing a proper cloud.”

And to prove it, he announced Software AG Live, a package of tools running on a customer's own setup of servers, Software AG's external cloud or both. Billed as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product, Software AG Live will consist of four components: Agile Apps Live, Process Live, Integration Live and Cloud Scaling.

Agile Apps Live can be used to quickly assemble website applications from templates and models without the need to do any programming; Process Live can analyse and improve business processes; Integration Live connects cloud services and on-premise servers together; and Cloud Scaling can shift workloads between on-premises hardware and external servers depending on the demand from users. Customers will be able to manage the whole caboodle themselves.

But don’t expect the full Software AG Live bundle to arrive too soon: Software AG will remain behind the herd until the start of 2014 at the earliest. Agile Apps Live is available now, while Cloud Scaling lands in the second half of this year and Integration Live isn't due until the first quarter of 2014.

Agile Apps is up and running right now because, really, it is Longjump: a MySQL and Tomcat software company bought by Software AG in April. This PaaS-based web-app builder runs on Rackspace's cloud servers or a customer's on-premises systems. Integration Live will be “an extension” of the code created by webMethods, which was bought by Software AG for $546m in 2007. Process Live is a version of Software AG’s ARIS software.

Meanwhile, Software AG doesn’t yet know where exactly it will host its new PaaS package: the Live suite could join Longjump's code on Rackspace, the German giant could swallow the Rackspace-backed OpenStack pill and build its own cloud, or it could go with Amazon’s Web Services.

Software AG’s enterprise rivals SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are already in the cloud, plus specialists such as Appian, Informatica, Cordys and even PC maker Dell (with Boomi) provide tools to manage processes and connect cloud-hosted applications.

So, who will buy Software AG Live from 2014? According to Roos, companies not interested in “heavyweight” utilities for managing businesses and software integration - in other words, the on-premises gear that Software AG already sells and would like to keep selling for all its worth.

The Live bundle, therefore, is less feature-laden than Software AG's established on-premises products, but Roos said more functionality will be added to Live over time. Right now the fight is directed at web-based services from smaller rivals, and not at the big business process management and integration tools by market leaders Oracle and SAP.

According to Roos, Software AG’s on-premises products and the Live builds of said software will co-exist peacefully. “I’m confident it still works – right now there’s no conflict,” he said. ®

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