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SDDC + SAP = CapEx/OpEx Savings

By Girish Manmadkar, an SAP Virtualization Architect at VMware

Earlier this month, my colleague David Gallant wrote about architecting a software-defined data center for SAP and other business-critical applications. I’d like to further explore how SAP fits into the software-defined data center (SDDC) and, specifically, how to optimize it for CapEx and OpEx savings.

A key to remember is that the SDDC is not a single technology that you purchase and install—it is a use case, a strategy, a mind shift. And in that way, it is also a journey that will unfold in stages and should be planned in that way. I’ve outlined the three foundational steps below.

SDDC 1.0

Most of the customers that I work with are well along in this stage, moving their current non-x86 SAP workloads toward a VMware-based x86 environment.

During this process, numerous milestones can be delivered to the business, in particular, an immediate reduction in their CapEx. This benefit is achieved by starting to move non-x86 or current physical x-86 workloads to the virtual x-86 OS platform. Understandably, customers tend to approach this transition with caution, so we often start with low-hanging fruits: non-production and/or development SAP systems.

The next step you can take is to introduce automation. Automation comes in two places: at the infrastructure layer, which is achieved using VMware vCloud Automation Center and Orchestration; and at the application layer, delivered using SAP’s Landscape Virtualization Manager.

During this phase it is best to implement vSphere features, including auto deploy—host profiles, and OS templates—in order to automate vSphere and virtual machine provisioning to the environment.

Often it is a good idea at this time to start a parallel project around storage. You can work with your storage and backup teams to enhance current architectures by enabling storage technologies like de-dup, vSphere storage I/O control and any other storage array plugins.

We also recommend minimizing agents in the guest operating system, such as agents used for backup and/or anti-virus. The team should start putting together new architecture to move such agents from the guest OS to the vSphere hosts to reduce complexity and improve performance. The storage and network teams should look to implement new architecture that will support virtual disaster recovery solution. By planning ahead now, teams can avoid rework later.

During this phase, the team not only migrates SAP application servers to the vSphere platform but also shows business value with CapEx reductions and value-added flexibility to scale out SAP application server capacity on demand.

SDDC 2.0

Once this first stage goes into the operations cycle, it lays the groundwork for various aspects of the SDDC’s second stage. The next shift is toward a converged datacenter or common virtualization framework to deploy a software-defined lifecycle for SAP. This allows better monitoring, migration to the cloud, chargeback, and security.

This is also the phase where you want to virtualize your SAP central instances, or ASCS instances, and database servers. The value here is the removal of a reliance on complex, physical clustered environments by transitioning instead to VMware’s high-availability features. These include fault tolerance (FT) applicable to and determined by the SAP sizing exercise for the ASCS and focused on meeting the business’s SLAs.

SDDC 3.0

Once the SDDC 2.0 is in production, it is a good time to start defining other aspects of SDDC, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Storage-as-a-Service, and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service.

Keep an eye out for our follow-up post fleshing out the processes and benefits of these later stages.


Girish Manmadkar is a veteran VMware SAP Virtualization Architect with extensive knowledge and hands-on experience with various SAP and VMware products, including various databases. He focuses on SAP migrations, architecture designs, and implementation, including disaster recovery.

Get Your Hands on the Data Center of the Future

By John Steiner, Eric Ledyard and Shaun Millin

Today’s software-defined data center (SDDC) is helping IT organizations meet business demands by automating and managing a growing range of data center functions, freeing up resources for new projects that support IT as a service.

From talking to VMware customers, we know that up to 80% of deployment time has nothing to do with physical equipment—it’s all about the orchestration between the technology, the people and the migration process. Thus, implementing an SDDC architecture goes beyond virtualized computing to a fully integrated, highly automated IT environment.

You can see exactly how the VMware Professional Services team designed and built an SDDC environment based on the vCloud Enterprise product suite and the opportunities it presents during our hands-on demo at VMworld San Francisco this week. Stop by the VMworld Professional Services booth to have one of our skilled architects walk you through the data center of the future.

The SDDC hands-on demo will include:

  • A self service catalog based on vCloud Automation Center where users can provision different types of systems, including small, medium, and large environments, with a built-in costing model. With a couple of clicks, deploy Windows and Linux machines, along with a multi-tier application that provides a shopping cart interface for web servers, fully backed by network load balancing, as well as a database with communication networking built in.
  • A fully integrated management interface where administrators can easily determine which systems are available to users and automatically apply different approval workflows. Admins can also decide what kind of networking is put in place, including low, medium, and high security levels.  All of the automation and orchestration of the environment was achieved by integrating vCenter Automation Center with vCenter Orchestrator.
  • A workflow manager employing vCenter Orchestrator, the single workflow engine running behind the VMware live demo. When a system, network, or group is requested, vCenter Orchestrator runs predefined workflow components, such as additional installations. Once the system has been deployed, it’s also dynamically entered into the vCenter Operations Manager  environment, purpose-built for the software-defined data center.
  • The vCenter Operations management environment, which greatly improves on traditional green, yellow, red health ratings. In addition to dynamically managing virtual environments, it provides risk and trending information, allowing administrators to track the health of the environment, but also to see opportunities for future failures. Instead of today’s traditional “reactive” environments, a software-defined data center enables a proactive environment where administrators can fix problems before they occur by monitoring the health of the entire stack, not just the server interface.
  • The vCenter Configuration Manager, which examines the environment where a system is being deployed to determine if it is following predefined compliance and security rules. In addition, the virtualized networking environment allows administrators to look into all the security and networking capabilities offered by VMware to automate rule creation and to monitor compliance without having to chase down and scan different machines.

For details on how these products are deployed and integrated, contact VMware Professional Services or stop by and talk with our consultants and architects at our VMworld booth.


John Steiner is Chief Architect for VMware Professional Services. Since joining VMware in 2007 and VMware Accelerate Advisory Services in 2010, Steiner has pioneered the business solutions architect delivery model through the creation of architectural blueprints and multiyear roadmaps that help customers achieve maximum business value, data center efficiencies, cost reductions and ROI objectives.

As a business solutions architect for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services, Eric Ledyard utilizes the broad VMware portfolio and his own experience to design strategic roadmaps for transformation that lead organizations to their goals of building highly efficient IT-as-a-service environments.

Shaun Millin has worked at VMware for more than a year with the Integration Automation Team, designing and delivering custom IaaS and PaaS solutions. Shaun has extensive knowledge in data center virtualization, orchestration, and VMware API scripting.

VMworld Schedule Builder Now Live!

We’re excited to announce the schedule builder for VMworld San Francisco 2013 is now live. Considering this year’s 350 in-depth sessions, 26 hands-on labs, 275 sponsors and exhibitors, and networking opportunities galore, you’ll be glad for the help making the most efficient use of your VMworld time. And if you haven’t registered, now is the time!

As you’re building your ideal schedule, consider adding some sessions from our Professional Services Consultants. We’ve been highlighting their sessions the last few weeks, and are finishing up this week with one from Joerg Lew on vCenter Orchestrator.

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Keep It Simple and Integrated: Out-Of-The-Box Cross-System Automation with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO)

With Joerg Lew (VMware) and Savina Ilieva (VMware)

 For service providers and enterprises alike, automation and integration is the key to efficiently building and operating your IT infrastructure, whether it’s virtualized or still contains legacy devices and applications. With vCenter Orchestrator (already included in vCenter), you can build reliable “enterprise-ready” automation solutions based on workflows. vCO and its plugins allow you to integrate a broad number of systems, protocols, and services, including but not limited to VMware products.

In this session you’ll learn about:

  • The business case for automation and integration in enterprise IT
  • New features planned for the next vCO release
  • Using existing plugins to auto-generate workflow for many use cases
  • Integrating external systems with vCO

You will see a live demo of the newest vCO capabilities, presented by Savina Ilieva, Product Manager for vCO at VMware, and Joerg Lew, Senior Consultant in VMware’s Professional Services Engineering team. A guest speaker from a third-party vendor will also share his experience building a vCO Plugin. Who is it? Attend the session and see!

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