Longtime collaborators SAP and IBM this week showed how enterprises
running SAP software on IBM hardware can use virtualization technology to
more efficiently distribute workloads across servers — reducing operational
costs and lowering carbon emissions.
The companies’ technology enables IT administrators to create an in-house
cloud, spreading SAP utilization across an enterprise’s servers and
datacenters as needed. This ideally minimizes cases where hardware lies
underutilized during off-peak times while still providing for spikes in
So far, their technology — which IBM and SAP showed off at the CeBIT 2009 trade show this week —
isn’t available in a productized form.
But it could one day help SAP create a more compelling case for buying
its software: Improving server utilization has become a major thrust of
enterprises looking to slash spending and squeeze more from
current infrastructure investments.
The specific software deployed in the demonstration was not noted in the
release, but the demonstration was designed to be a tough test for the
technology. “This load balancing was done using a very heavy workload and
showed a scenario where users were not affected by the migration,” Chani Sacharen, a spokesperson with IBM’s R&D Labs in Israel, told InternetNews.com in an e-mail.
SAP and IBM’s technology is based on the year-old, EU-funded RESERVOIR cloud computing research
project, which is led by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and features a consortium of 13
other members drawn from the ranks of Europe’s top enterprises, research
institutes and universities.
RESERVOIR aims to develop technologies that make it easier for
enterprises and service providers to more easily scale datacenter services
to meet demand.
For instance, RESERVOIR technologies could enable a company to dedicate
fewer servers to an application like SAP. If a business typically requires
two SAP servers under normal load but five at peak, it then has to dedicate
five servers at each every datacenter to SAP.
But under the new technology, it could pare those requirements down,
utilizing other servers in the datacenter during peak usage.
The magic is enabled in part by IBM’s POWER6 systems, which enable users
to run separate applications on different virtual machines, called logical
partitions, on the same physical server. The IBM POWER6 system’s Live
Partition Mobility capability enables the movement of those virtual machines
from one IBM POWER6 system to another within the datacenter.
The end result is a cloud-like service within the enterprise datacenter,
available on-demand during times of peak usage.
“The new breakthrough here is not the virtualization itself, it’s the extension of this virtualization to enable live application migration across the cloud where the clouds are on different servers or interconnected networks,” Sacharen told InternetNews.com. “As far as we know, this is the first demonstration that shows the migration of enterprise-grade workloads across servers, which could even reside in different datacenters.”
IBM and SAP have been working together on various projects for 35 years. This
particular project began in 1999.
In addition to cloud computing, the companies said they are also
exploring new developments in business process management, services science
and engineering, model-driven software development and security and
Testing SAP Apps for Intel
Efficiency is the goal of another SAP partnership announced this week. The
German software giant on Wednesday said it would work with Intel to ready apps created on its SAP Business
One Enterprise Resource Planning
Intel’s 64-bit Xeon architecture.
The plan aims to make it faster for SAP Business One’s target
customers — small to midsized businesses (SMBs) — to deploy software on
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) Xeon-based systems, which support virtualization for
“SAP Business One optimized to run on Intel Xeon processors with Intel
Virtualization Technology delivers improved performance and manageability,”
said Richard Curran, Intel’s director of enterprise marketing and software
solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
While SAP plans to provide pre-testing for a host of vertical apps for
SAP Business One going forward.
The first app developed through this partnership and pre-tested on the
Intel Xeon architecture has a very specific, limited audience, however. Maringo Computers and Wortmann have built a business management
application for providers of professional services in Germany based on the
SAP Business One platform.
Both the efforts with IBM and Intel are aimed at ensuring SAP’s customers
find using its software more efficient and cost-effective.
But the partners also position the moves as part of a larger effort to
encourage lower carbon emissions in customers’ datacenters — the thinking
being that fewer servers require less cooling, cutting down on waste
[cob:Special_Report]This week, SAP also released apps to help
customers better realize their green goals. For instance, the company
released its SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management Application to
enable businesses to track their footprint and make wise decisions with
regard to the environment.
SAP also announced plans to cut its own carbon emissions.
“After analyzing its global environmental footprint, SAP announced its
commitment to a 51-percent reduction of its total greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions from its year-2007 published baseline levels of 513,000 tons CO2
by year 2020,” the company said in a statement.
Reducing emissions won’t be easy for SAP, however. To achieve these
cuts, the company said it would have to enhance its own R&D
by using the resources of partners, such as IBM and Intel that also have
significant research operations.
Update adds comments from Sacharen.