It's not just about hardware and application performance when assessing your SAP virtualization needs, according to Gary Chen, research manager for IDC's enterprise virtualization software. According to Chen, there are three other key factors to consider when virtualizing your SAP infrastructure.
- Software licensing arrangements can be affected by virtualizing SAP. Check your software licensing arrangements to see how much they will be affected. "You want to make sure that your costs aren't going to change," Chen said, "and if they are changing, what those costs are going to be."
- Support contracts have to be examined also -- they may also be affected. You should also confirm that your SAP application vendor supports virtualizing your SAP products, Chen said, and look into the support policies to see whether any details are different.
"SAP is very complicated," Chen said. "It's not packaged. Partners take core SAP products and produce customized versions for you, so you need to be sure that they can support you and give you what you need [once you take the leap to virtualization." He adds one more caveat: Make sure you know all this ahead of time.
- Once you virtualize your SAP servers, you'll want to look into adding new system monitoring applications.
"Virtualizing with SAP is a complicated and dynamic IT adventure," Chen said. "When you have an [application] performance problem, it can be difficult to pin that down and to figure out where it is [in the complicated world of SAP virtualization]," he said.
Management and monitoring applications from vendors such as VMware, BMC Corp., IBM and HP will prove a boon to the manager of the virtualized SAP environment. "They can really untangle that mess," he said.
About the author: Todd R. Weiss is a veteran technology journalist and freelance writer. He worked as a staff reporter for Computerworld.com from 2000 to 2008. Follow him at Twitter.com/TechManTalking.