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Dell and Oracle will integrate hardware and software for customers through a strategic partnership, the companies announced yesterday.

The deal expands the existing partnership between the two companies and will in part be exclusive, said Marius Haas, president of Dell's enterprise business..

The companies will work together to deliver Oracle software on Dell x86 server platforms, optimised for those systems, and jointly provide support. The joint offerings will include Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Enterprise Manager, as well as Oracle's database, middleware and applications, Oracle Co-President Mark Hurd said.

"We test it together, we patch it together, we support it together," Hurd said. The goal is to free enterprises from integration and maintenance tasks and let IT departments spend more time on internal innovation, Hurd said.

"This allows customers to get integrated solutions and support from Dell, with Oracle support backing their entire solution," Hurd said.

Dell will be a preferred x86 partner for Oracle, Hurd said. It was not immediately clear what exclusive activities will be included in the partnership.

"We're doing things that they will not do with others," Dell's Haas said.

The level of collaboration in engineering and customer support will make Dell and Oracle's partnership unique, Haas said.

The companies will work together closely to optimise Oracle's software for Dell server platforms, Haas said. The work will include efforts around Oracle 12c, the next version of the company's database, which has been years in the making and will be built to provide cloud-based services.

Under the partnership, Dell will be the primary provider of support for systems it sells that run Oracle software, Haas said.

"If it's a Dell customer we can not just sell the product but we can also support the whole environment, and we'll take the first call and we'll also be able to resell support and renew the support," Haas said.

Through collaboration and training, Dell would be able to provide most support for the joint systems, with a "warm handoff" to Oracle when necessary for third-level or fourth-level support, he said. The arrangement would give the customer "a single throat to choke" on support issues, Haas said.