VMware, SAP in virtualization support pact; Will ERP implementations become easier?

VMware will announce Tuesday that enterprise software giant SAP will support its applications running on VMware ESX Server. Under the arrangement, SAP will support its virtualized software running on VMware (all resources) and 64-bit Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms.

VMware will announce Tuesday that enterprise software giant SAP will support its applications running on VMware ESX Server.

Under the arrangement, SAP will support its virtualized software running on VMware (all resources) and 64-bit Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms. Servers from Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP and IBM are also certified for SAP running on VMware.

Brian Byun, vice president of global partners and solutions at VMware, said in an interview that the pact should ease worries of enterprise IT managers who were waiting for SAP support of VMware. ERP applications are among the last to be virtualized. Why?

"ERP is at end of that virtualization curve because it is more complicated," said Byun. "Managers think twice about disturbing something that is already working and running."

That's a nice way to say you don't screw with your software backbone on the fly.

The deal is a nice enterprise win for VMware given that SAP is well entrenched with large enterprises. The immediate impact on ERP projects could be lower hardware costs. A big part of an ERP implementation is mapping out new hardware requirements. With a virtualized environment and support for SAP on VMware, companies should be able to save a few bucks on new servers.

It's also conceivable that IT managers will be able to conduct more test runs in a virtualized environment before launching new applications into production. Beyond the obvious hardware savings, customers should be able to provision servers easier and cut downtime in SAP implementations (all resources).

Oracle has a policy of supporting VMware, with some caveats. VMware is hoping that its SAP deal will lead to a similar pact with Oracle. The end game for VMware is relatively clear: Get certified with the companies that are the backbone of corporate IT (basically SAP and Oracle). Tech buyers rarely swap out ERP applications and if VMware is riding shotgun with the likes of SAP and Oracle it'll be entrenched in the enterprise for years to come.

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