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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Driving Down Database TCO with VMware Data Director and SAP-Sybase ASE

A recent IDC study concluded SAP-Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) has the lowest total cost of ownership compared to other relational database management systems (RDBMS). The study found ASE required 27% less processing power and servers than other RDBMS.VMware found ASE’s threaded architected to be equally efficient when running on VMware vSphere. Our validation testing showed ASE performance, when virtualized, is often equal that of identical physical systems.

VMware vFabric Data Director can further reduce hardware TCO by quickly virtualizing ASE on vSphere using built-in workflows to virtualize and migrate physical databases to run on vSphere. I speak to many SAP-Sybase customers who are still on older UNIX boxes who want to virtualize on modern x86 servers. vFabric Data Director can be used to jump start the physical to virtual conversion process and also keep security, data protection polices, resource consumption, and database configuration best practices in place.

The IDC study also showed SAP-Sybase requires 27% less IT Staff to manage ASE compared to other RDBMS, further TCO management costs can again be realized with vFabric Data Director.  Provisioning can be one of the most time consuming tasks requiring multiple IT teams working together to properly configure a database server.  It is not uncommon for departments to wait weeks or even months before their requests have been satisfied.  With VMware vFabric Data Director, provisioning can be a self-service operation.  The DBAs set up database templates and associates role-base permissions for use with these templates, as well as setting resource allocation to specific organizations.  Then users simply go through a self-service wizard to create a database which meets their requirements.

It won’t be long before our customers can take advantage of these capabilities. VMware and SAP-Sybase are working together on an ASE plug-in for vFabric Data Director which will be out by the end of the year.  To learn more about the capabilities of Data Director visit the product landing page or watch the product demo video below.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/unoDXJW2jT4

For more information contact Bob Goldsand (bgoldsand@vmware.com) and Jonathan Jiang (jonathanj@vmware.com)

Support Statements for Running Business Critical Applications on vSphere

As the industry standard for virtualization, vSphere has received strong ISV support from 18,000 ISVs, including support statements from the four largest ISVs: Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Oracle (Source: VMware customer surveys, Jan 2010 and June 2011.)

Microsoft Support

Support statements for Microsoft products can be found at these links:
Windows Microsoft software
Microsoft server
Exchange
SQL
SharePoint

Oracle Support

Although some Oracle marketing documents may imply that Oracle does not support VMware, and Oracle sales might tell you that VMware is not supported, we are pleased to clarify that Oracle does have a support statement in place for VMware. Oracle’s Metalink note 249212.1, published on MyOracleSupport, defines Oracle’s policy for supporting applications on VMware. Here is the support statement:

The second to last paragraph states that Oracle may ask a customer to replicate the issue on non-virtual hardware if an issue hasn’t been previously seen by Oracle. This occurs only once for each issue (the first time), and when it occurs VMware has a Total Ownership Policy to take accountability of that issue and resolve it for the customer. Here is the VMware support statement to that effect: “VMware will accept accountability for any Oracle-related issue reported by a customer. By being accountable, VMware Support will drive the issue to resolution regardless of which vendor (VMware, Oracle, or others) is responsible for the resolution. In most cases, reported issues can be resolved via configuration changes, bug fixes, or feature enhancements by one of the involved vendors.” This statement is available here.

SAP Support

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.

Support from Other Vendors

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

 

Update on Virtualizing Hadoop

Hadoop is a modern application with features such as consolidation of jobs and HA that overlap with capabilities enabled by virtualization. This leads some to believe there is no motivation for virtualizing Hadoop; however, there are a variety of reasons for doing so. Some of these are:

  • Scheduling – Taking advantage of unused capacity in existing virtual infrastructures during periods of low usage (for example, overnight) to run batch jobs.
  • Resource Utilization – Co-locating Hadoop VMs and other kinds of VMs on the same hosts. This often allows better overall utilization by consolidating applications that use different kinds of resources.
  • Storage Models – Although Hadoop was developed with local storage in mind, it can just as easily use shared storage for all data or a hybrid model in which temporary data is kept on local disk and HDFS is hosted on a SAN. With either of these configurations, the unused shared storage capacity and bandwidth within the virtual infrastructure can be given to Hadoop jobs.
  • Datacenter Efficiency – Virtualizing Hadoop can increase datacenter efficiency by increasing the types of workloads that can be run on a virtualized infrastructure.
  • Deployment – Virtualization tools ranging from simple cloning to sophisticated products like VMware vCloud Director can speed up the deployment of Hadoop nodes.
  • Performance – Virtualization enables the flexible configuration of hardware resources.

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

Update on Virtualizing Java

Whether a custom Java application or third-party vendor application, all virtualize relatively easily. Often our customers notice improvements in performance and scalability when moving to a virtualized platform. Java application clusters are known to contain many instances that require increased managment when on a physical infrastructure. Many of our customers look for consolidation opportunities while improving performance and scalability. The prime reason for virtualizing Java applications these days is the ability to reduce the JVM instance sprawl that many administrators dread—and have to consolidate through virtualization in order to keep the scale manageable and feasible. Many of our customers have virtualized IBM WebSphere, Oracle WebLogic, JBoss, and Tomcat. In the last three years, virtualization of Java applications has become mainstream, as seen with many of our customer accounts.

The results of the tests discussed in this paper show that enterprise-level Java applications can provide excellent performance when deployed on VMware vSphere 4.1. The application used in these tests was Olio, a multi-tier enterprise application that implements a complete social networking Web site. Olio was deployed on SpringSource tc Server, running both natively and virtualized on vSphere 4.1. Figure 5 shows the peak throughput for a single instance of Olio running on tc Server, both natively and in a VM, with two and four CPUs.

Customer Case in Point
“With our OrderExpress project we upgraded our WebSphere Commerce, Portal, WCM, Service Layer, DB2 Database; migrated from AIX to Linux; virtualized on VMware; moved the application into a three-tier DMZ; increased our transactions by over 150 percent; and added significant new capabilities that greatly improved the customer experience. Changing such a wide range of technology components at once was a huge challenge. However using VMware vSphere and additional architectural changes we were successful in improving performance by over 300 percent; lowered costs in the millions; improved security, availability, and scalability; and how we plan to continue evolving this application to maintain greater than 30 percent yearly growth.” – Jeff Battisti, Senior Enterprise Architect at Cardinal Health

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

Update on Virtualizing Sharepoint

Because SharePoint encourages rapid growth and “viral” proliferation, user goals may conflict with the ability of the IT staff to deliver the desired services when needed within budgetary and manpower constraints. Flexibility is extremely valuable during this early period. If rapid growth and evolution can be supported at realistic costs, SharePoint can become an important tool to rapidly increase everyday productivity. vSphere facilitates this capability, allowing organizations to leverage the benefits of SharePoint on a pay-as-you-go basis. Because high availability features are inherent to the vSphere platform, these can be leveraged on demand. By virtualizing SharePoint, the common problems of deploying a complex, high-growth IT service are alleviated, allowing resources to be spent on maximizing the value of the tool in routine business practice.

Unlike some applications that have consistent workload patterns on a per user basis (for example, Exchange or SAP), SharePoint workloads can vary greatly depending on how the application is used within the organization. SharePoint services can be deployed in a wide variety of combinations to accommodate very specific application use cases. Even within a specific application use case, usage patterns can vary greatly depending on frequency of user access, time of day, document reads/writes, and document sizes.

Out of the box, vSphere offers several capabilities that enable you to quickly respond to changing usage patterns. Allocation of processor and memory resources to virtual machines can be easily changed to suit the most current business requirements and, in the case of Hot-Add, without any interruption to the operating system or application. You can use vMotion to migrate heavily used SharePoint virtual machines to another host to alleviate physical resource bottlenecks. Finally, template-based provisioning allows the rapid deployment of new SharePoint virtual machines to satisfy increased load.

Here is an updated support statement for running Sharepoint on vSphere.

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

Adding “Database-Awareness” to VMware vSphere with vFabric Data Director

Customers are saving lots of money by virtualizing theirdatabases on VMware vSphere.  A study conducted by Forrester Research in January 2011 found that customers who migrated 1000+ Oracle databases from physical to VMware vSphere enjoyed an ROI of 888%, with a payback period of 4 months, and a discounted benefit value of $2M+.  However, databases require special handling when deployed on VMs.  For example, vSphere offers snapshot capability that allows the user to restore the VM to the current state at a later time. In order for that feature to function properly for the database, there are a few necessary steps to ensure consistency: e.g., restore the database in crash recovery mode.  The reason for the manual steps is that vSphere is not treating the database differently from any workload.

Enter VMware vFabric Data Director (vFDD) – the software layer that adds database-awareness to vSphere.  vFDD  extends the capabilities of vSphere to address the specific needs of the Database workload.  In the case of snapshot, it understands the commands that need to be run within the database before and after the VM operation is performed.  Another common scenario is HA.  vFDD extends vSphere HA such that it will trigger a failover not only when there is a hardware failure but when the database software stops responding.  It is also smart enough to do the right things that correspond to the database type.  Oracle, Sybase ASE, and MySQL handle snapshots and HA monitoring differently, and vFDD takes care of the complexity and exposes the abstracted capabilities. The smarts of how to perform each of the tasks is in the Data Engine Plugin.

SAP and VMware are now collaborating on the development of the Sybase ASE plugin for vFDD (stay tuned for more details and delivery dates). The plugin will give unprecedented operational efficiency and agility to the Sybase DBA teams.  We have shown that Sybase ASE delivers great performance on vSphere.  The vFDD plugin will make it even more attractive for customers to operate their Sybase ASE systems in that environment.  For more information, please visit the Data Director product page.


SAP HANA on VMware vSphere

SAP announced today that VMware vSphere is now supported and is the preferred way to virtualize SAP’s high performance HANA database.  This is great news for customers of both VMware and SAP and opens new options for deployment and management of HANA.  This new announcement follows the 2011 announcement by SAP and VMware  that virtualization is a best practice for running SAP and that VMware is the preferred virtualization partner to deploy SAP applications for x86.  It demonstrates the strong partnership between the companies and their desire to offer customers compelling solutions by supporting the combination of their leading edge software.

HANA running on vSphere can be treated and managed along with the rest of your SAP landscape using the same tools already in use.  Extensive testing has been done with HANA on vSphere and it has been confirmed that HANA functions exactly the same as it does as a hardware appliance, but with the added benefits of VMware virtualization.

One of the biggest benefits of virtualizing HANA with VMware is the ability to have several smaller HANA instances all sharing a single physical server.  This means that an entire HANA appliance does not have to be dedicated to a single instance, but can instead run multiple virtual HANA instances at the same time thus allowing for more flexibility.  This can lead to much better utilization of existing resources and better overall efficiency.

While allowing for smaller HANA instances, vSphere 5.1 also allows for virtual machines to be scaled up to 64 virtual CPUs and 1 TB of memory.  This enables virtual HANA to address a wide range of needs of customers.  vSphere also allows for new HANA instances to be quickly deployed from templates.  HANA deployment times can be reduced from weeks to minutes when deploying HANA as a virtual machine.  It is also possible to quickly resize a HANA virtual machine with a simple setting change to adjust resource levels between different virtual machines.  This allows for the resources used by HANA to be easily adjusted over time as needs change in the datacenter.

It is important to note that HANA runs on standard VMware vSphere that has not been modified or customized in any way to support HANA.  This means that it is the same vSphere that VMware customers and partners are already using and will be supported and run the same way.

In order to obtain HANA on vSphere, existing HANA partners will begin offering a version of their HANA appliance that will have vSphere 5.x and a HANA virtual appliance pre-installed.  Once received, additional HANA virtual machines are easy to create and deploy.  This will make it extremely easy to get many initial instances of HANA up and running and speed the use and development of applications using HANA.  HANA on vSphere opens many new possibilities by enabling a more flexible and still high performing leading edge database environment.  Existing customers will find it compelling to leverage the same tools to manage and use HANA while taking advantage of the additional capabilities of VMware vSphere to enable rapid deployment and more efficient use of resources.

We are excited about SAP’s announcement today as this is the next phase in an ongoing evolution of virtualizing SAP environments for our joint customers!

For more information, see the press announcement , visit www.vmware.com/SAP, and visit SAP’s Events Newsroom for all of details on SAP’s announcements, blog posts, videos and other coverage leading up to and during SAPPHIRE NOW + SAP TechEd.  Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews and @SAPInMemory.

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]

Update on Virtualizing SQL

SQL is one of the most widely deployed database platforms in the world, with many organizations having dozens or even hundreds of instances deployed in their environments. In SQL Server 2012, vMotion of SQL workloads is unlimited with Software Assurance (SA) and prohibited without SA (i.e. customer must license the origin and target host to accommodate the vMotion). In SQL 2008, vMotion of SQL workloads is unlimited with SA and limited to once every 90 days without SA. This limitation is a Microsoft licensing limitation, not a technical limitation.

The challenge for the administrator is to provide database services to application owners with the flexibility and autonomy they expect while keeping the infrastructure as simple and economical as possible. The proliferation of large, multi-socket, multi-core servers has led many organizations to attempt traditional database consolidation, moving small databases into large shared database environments. Migrating to such a model can be an extremely complex endeavor requiring in-depth application remediation at the forefront and rigorous attention to operational processes once implemented for version control and continued application compatibility.

Virtualizing SQL can allow the best of both worlds, simultaneously optimizing compute resources through server consolidation and maintaining application flexibility through role isolation. SQL Servers can be migrated in their current state without expensive and error-prone application remediation and without changing the operating system, application version or patch level. For high-performance databases, VMware and partners have demonstrated the capabilities of vSphere to run the most challenging SQL Server workloads. For smaller, specialized databases, vSphere offers high consolidation ratios and advanced resource scheduling features, giving application owners the flexibility and performance they need while simplifying and lowering costs for the enterprise.

Another challenge is utilization. Most databases are performing at 0 to 5 percent utilization all but a few days of the year (e.g., Christmas shopping, quarter end). Figure 19 shows utilization of a physical SQL Database and a virtualized and consolidated SQL Database (Source: Exchange 2010 on VMware Use Cases)

Higher utilization rates of SQL deployments mean that IT teams are able to do more with less.

Here is an updated support statements for running SQL on vSphere.

Here’s an example of SQL license savings associated with virtualizing, along with an improvement in performance and reliability.

 

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

Update on Virtualizing Oracle

There are no issues with virtualizing Oracle, however customers are sometimes given information by Oracle that appears to contradict Oracle’s licensing agreements. For processor-based licenses, Oracle expects to be paid for any hardware that runs Oracle software. Customers that run Oracle software on more servers than they originally planned to (whether those servers are physical or virtual) can expect Oracle to request payment for the additional use. On the other hand, licenses on older, slower machines, or on machines that are used at less than 15% of their capability, need licenses that cost the same as a heavily used server. Customers typically benefit by consolidating Oracle workloads to a smaller number of high-performance servers and paying for fewer core licenses.

Oracle Database is one of the most widely deployed database platforms in the world, with some of the largest databases in the world, many of which also run on vSphere. VMware is also an Oracle customer; our E-Business Suite and Siebel instances are virtualized; and VMware routinely submits and receives assistance with issues for Oracle running on VMware virtual infrastructure.

Oracle and VMware have a long history of working well together. Unfortunately, VMware has been made aware of Oracle sales people occasionally trying to use misinformation to dissuade customers from virtualizing using vSphere. Based upon reliable reports from the field, the figure below addresses some examples of this misinformation and VMware’s responses:

The following table addresses VMware responses to the confusing accusations made in the sample Oracle slide.

Some companies, notably iQuate, have developed software to help customers manage their Oracle licenses, in a virtualized or non-virtualized context. VMware introduces iQuate to customers that need help managing their Oracle licenses. Learn more about iQuate here: iquate.com/what-we-do.

Although some Oracle marketing documents may imply that Oracle does not support VMware, and Oracle sales might tell you that VMware is not supported, we are pleased to clarify that Oracle does have a support statement in place for VMware. Oracle’s Metalink note 249212.1, published on MyOracleSupport, defines Oracle’s policy for supporting applications on VMware. Here is the support statement:

The second to last paragraph states that Oracle may ask a customer to replicate the issue on non-virtual hardware if an issue hasn’t been previously seen by Oracle. This occurs only once for each issue (the first time), and when it occurs VMware has a Total Ownership Policy to take accountability of that issue and resolve it for the customer. Here is the VMware support statement to that effect: “VMware will accept accountability for any Oracle-related issue reported by a customer. By being accountable, VMware Support will drive the issue to resolution regardless of which vendor (VMware, Oracle, or others) is responsible for the resolution. In most cases, reported issues can be resolved via configuration changes, bug fixes, or feature enhancements by one of the involved vendors.” This statement is available here.

The capabilities provided by vSphere are well beyond the needs of almost all databases, including Oracle. Figure 18 illustrates the standard CPU, memory, disk and network I/O needed for Oracle databases compared with the capacity of each VM.12 As evidenced below, each VM can handle well over the resource requirements of Oracle databases (Source: VMware Capacity Planner analysis of >700,000 servers in customer production environments.).

Here’s an example of Oracle license savings associated with virtualizing, along with an improvement in performance and reliability (source: iquate.com).

Customer Case in Point
“With the help of House of Brick and VMware Professional Services, we have been able to virtualize our most demanding Oracle databases on x86 servers. Where initially we believed that these databases would be too demanding for a virtual machine, we now have the confidence that vSphere can handle our largest transaction-processing databases with ease.” – Rob Lowden, Director of IT at Indiana University

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