Update on Virtualizing SAP

SAP and VMware are collaborating to provide customers with modern scalable, flexible infrastructure solutions with automated management tools, services, and support to accelerate the Journey to Cloud Computing. For example, vSphere is the only integrated hypervisor in the new release of Landscape Virtualization Management, SAP’s tool for virtualization and infrastructure as a service. Customers with SAP NetWeaver
benefit from an “on-demand” IT environment with a number of benefits:

  • The pressure to ensure high availability is intense for SAP managers. VMware virtualization takes advantage of SAP’s high-availability features to enable the software to stay running.
  • Upgrades are a fact of life for every SAP landscape and they can be complex and time-consuming and often they take hours or days in a non-virtualized platform. In a virtual environment, new virtual machines can be provisioned in minutes, and then deprovisioned rapidly, recovering the resources.
  • As IT budgets continue to shrink, the imperative to lower operating costs gets more urgent—and virtualization can make a real difference. Server consolidation translates directly into lower costs for power, cooling, and space—and boosts the organizations “green” profile in the bargain.
  • The IT investment priority in 2012 is virtualization. 71% of surveyed companied plan to invest in SAP virtualization in Germany (Source: DSAG investment survey, 2012.)
  • 38% of x86 SAP customers in Germany have 100% virtualized their SAP landscape. (Source: RAAD.)

SAP software also performs well on vSphere. For an apples-to-apples comparison take a look at two-tier benchmark certifications 2011028 (physical) and 2011027 (vSphere5). The virtual result is within six percent of physical, which is completely imperceptible to the SAP Basis admin, but with all the cloning, provisioning, and reliability benefits. Read the details of the SAP benchmark certifications here.

VMware and SAP have been working closely for over five years. In 2007, SAP granted full support to run SAP on VMware. In 2012, SAP went even further and gave support for SAP Sybase ASE. In 2012, VMware engineers are working with SAP to gain support of HANA, SAP’s new in-memory database. Support statements for SAP can be found at the SAP Community Network.

Customer Case in Point
The IT department at Columbia Sportswear Company, the outdoor apparel manufacturer, was looking to get out of the constant churn of physical hardware and into bringing more value to the rest of the business. Exponential growth, combined with the limitations of physical servers, led Columbia to consider virtualizing SAP with VMware and EMC. Through this partnership, Columbia has gained efficiency, reliability, scalability, capacity planning and management, performance tuning and is gaining greater insight into its virtualization layer. The company started by virtualizing IT-based applications, but the new environment proved so beneficial to its business that Columbia decided to move tier-1 workloads, including SAP. Michael Leeper, Senior IT Manager, explained that the decision to virtualize SAP wasn’t a hard one to make. The results Leeper and his team have seen are proof: “S AP running on VMware, running on our architecture, looks and feels exactly like everything else we run.” Because Columbia was running the rest of the company on a very similar virtual architecture, Leeper explained, “We had no significant concerns that putting SAP on that architecture would cause any issues. As a matter of fact, it probably helped us with a lot of things.” At this point, Columbia’s operations are 90 percent virtualized, and IT has been able to deliver business intelligence using new technology, not the technology of the past 10 years.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]