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SAP Eases Deployment Time with Microsoft

Reduces Cost by 95 Percent; Endorses Hyper-V “Without Reservation”

Enterprises and “cloud” providers that run SAP want the most powerful and effective ways to deploy and manage the software. That’s why SAP tested its software running on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V virtualization technology, and using the latest deployment and management tools from both SAP and Microsoft. The results: the SAP and Microsoft technologies reduced SAP deployment time and cost by 95 percent compared to physical deployments, and boosted management productivity by 400 percent. The newest technologies in Hyper-V give it the power, reliability, and flexibility that enterprises and providers need for SAP virtual systems and landscapes. “We can recommend Hyper-V without reservation,” says an executive.

If a company wants to outperform its competitors, it needs technologies that are as innovative at cutting costs as they are at operating in new and highly sophisticated ways.

Using Hyper-V together with tools from SAP and Microsoft, customers can bring up SAP virtual systems, or entire virtual landscapes, far faster than they could have realistically imagined even a few years ago.“Virtualization is important to our customers because it holds out the promise of greater reliability, more uptime, faster deployments, easier management, and greater flexibility,” says Ralf Lindenlaub, Vice President for Virtualization and Cloud Management, Value Prototyping/Center of Excellence (CoE) at SAP. “All of that helps to keep costs low, while helping to boost productivity, speed processes, and contribute to profitability.”

To help its customers to deploy SAP software in virtual environments—as well as to make other changes or customizations to SAP landscapes, and to test performance—SAP operates a CoE best-known worldwide as the Value Prototyping Global Field Organization. The CoE also hosts virtualized production landscapes for its customers, delivering them over the Internet. It currently provides this “Lab as a Service”, or private-cloud, model to more than 300 customers. Recently, SAP customers have been asking the company to base these virtualized production landscapes on Hyper-V, the increasingly popular virtualization technology in Windows Server 2008 R2.

Customers and potential customers asked SAP about running its software on Hyper-V. Would it work? How long would such deployments take? How effectively could they be managed?

Solution

In April and May 2011, SAP conducted tests on the SAP and Hyper-V solution at its CoE, using test deployments that matched the typical installations used by its customers. In addition to testing virtualized versions of its software for Windows Server, SAP also tested Linux-based versions of that software, also running on Hyper-V.

“Linux, along with Windows, is important to our customers, especially to cloud service providers who, like us, need to support the broadest range of technologies,” says Lindenlaub. “We want to give cloud and service providers and enterprise customers every option to run their SAP virtual landscapes.”

Testing with Microsoft Tools

In addition to testing its own tools for virtual system and landscape management, SAP also tested another set of management tools: the Microsoft System Center product family and, in particular, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1). SAP tested the use of its own tools together with System Center Virtual Machine Manager to perform tasks such as provisioning of virtual machines with SAP systems, live migrations of virtual machines hosting SAP systems, physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual conversions, and bringing virtual machines from storage, then cloning and renaming them, and putting them into production.

It also tested the comprehensive monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities of the Microsoft technology. SAP focused in part on the new and enhanced features in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1, such as Dynamic Memory for better utilization of a host’s memory resources, and Microsoft RemoteFX for feature-rich desktop environments that function over a network.

With its validation testing complete, SAP now is working to pilot test its first set of customers on SAP deployments virtualized on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.

Benefits

Tests of SAP software that is virtualized with Hyper-V confirm that customers can bring up and manage SAP virtual systems and landscapes with tremendous ease and little time, and that they can take advantage of distinctive Hyper-V features to further optimize those virtual systems and landscapes.

Reduces Time and Cost of SAP Deployment by 95 Percent - Cloud providers and enterprise customers can use SAP and Microsoft technologies to provision a SAP virtual system in less than an hour, compared to the five days typically required for a traditional, physical deployment, a savings that Lindenlaub puts conservatively at 95 percent. Similarly, customers can provision virtual landscapes in an hour or so compared to the four to six weeks that might have been required previously.

“Using Hyper-V together with tools from SAP and Microsoft, customers can bring up SAP virtual systems, or entire virtual landscapes, far faster than they could have realistically imagined even a few years ago,” says Lindenlaub.

The time savings translates into a similar 95 percent cost savings for IT departments and cloud providers.

“The savings from virtualizing SAP with Microsoft and SAP technology will benefit all enterprise customers,” says Lindenlaub. “They can bring more of the productivity-enhancing and cost-saving benefits of SAP to their enterprises with less of an upfront investment than they otherwise could. For ‘hosters’ and cloud providers, it changes the entire economics of their business. For a provider bringing up average-sized SAP landscapes for just 100 customers, the savings could approach [U.S.]$2 million. That makes its business more profitable and enables it to target a broader range of customers.”

Brings Latest Microsoft Virtual Management Tools to SAP - Lindenlaub says he’s impressed with the performance and technical benefits of Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager—particularly the latest version of that technology, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP 1.

“Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager provide a fully robust, reliable platform for SAP,” says Lindenlaub. “We can recommend Hyper-V without reservation for customers looking for the most effective way to virtualize their SAP systems or landscapes.”