IBM raised the stakes in its competition with Dell for small-business users on Thursday by launching a System i server configured for customers with 100 seats or fewer of SAP\u2019s business process management (BPM) software.\n\nSmall businesses often lack an IT department, and tend to choose Windows-based systems for their low price, said Mark Shearer, IBM\u2019s general manager of System i.To attract those users, the IBM System i 520 Solution Edition lists a similar price to Dell\u2019s PowerEdge server, but offers a closer integration of security, virus protection, database and storage. This combination could enable small businesses to manage all their data in a single spot, whether it\u2019s used for accounting, supply chain, CRM, e-mail or disaster recovery, he said.IBM\u2019s move also marks a win for SAP, which competes for those same users against Oracle\u2019s J.D. Edwards ERP software.In July, IBM started selling a nearly identical product for Oracle applications, called the System i 520 Solution Edition for Oracle\u2019s J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne. That platform was a crucial step in Oracle\u2019s campaign to keep the 5,000 users it inherited by purchasing PeopleSoft in January.Now Oracle must share IBM\u2019s fast hardware and aggressive pricing with its bitter rival. The two companies are locked in a public war of words and product launches. In July, SAP said it had explicitly designed its pending Safe Passage 2.0 migration program to win over Oracle users. And Oracle sells a product called "OFF SAP," which includes credit incentives for switching from SAP.As a hardware vendor, IBM insists its servers are neutral ground, and that it plans to win over small-business customers by offering them a choice between Oracle and SAP.The System i 520 combines hardware and software with the additional disk storage needed to support 100 SAP users, whether they\u2019re using mySAP All-in-One, business intelligence, CRM, product lifecycle management or supply chain management. IBM will begin selling the package later in October for US$35,000.Related Links:\n\nIBM Translation Software to Be Tested by U.S. Military in Iraq\n\nIBM, Oracle, i-flex Team on Banking Software\n\nSAP to Simplify Banking Communications, Processes\n\nOracle Pays $98.5M to Settle PeopleSoft ChargesCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.