IBM Corp. and Sybase Inc. have teamed to add support for Sybase’s database software on IBM’s eServer OpenPower Linux servers. The two companies said they will jointly sell and market their products.

The move extends IBM’s support for one of its software rivals: Sybase’s ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) database competes against IBM’s DB2 software, both of which also vie with databases from Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

IBM already supports Sybase ASE on servers running its AIX operating system, but this alliance marks the first time Sybase support will be available on its Linux-based systems.

The agreement could help IBM find new customers in the financial services field, where Sybase has a strong presence. It also gives Sybase access to IBM’s marketing activities and sales channel. IBM said support for Sybase ASE will be available early next year.

In September, Sybase released a free, limited ASE Express version of its database for use on Linux servers. The company said it does not plan at this time to release ASE Express for the Power5 architecture on which IBM’s OpenPower servers are based.

IBM and Sybase, along with rival Oracle, have been aggressive in targeting the expanding Linux market. IDC estimates that Linux database software license revenue grew 131 per cent from 2002 to 2003, to US$522 million — mostly at the expense of Unix licenses, which showed a revenue decline over the same period. IDC forecasts Linux database license revenue to reach nearly US$2 billion in 2006.

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