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From VAX/VMS to VMware ESX – An IT life full of virtualization

In december 1986 i encountered virtualization for the first time in my life. I just had started to study electrical engineering at the Saarland University in my hometown Saarbruecken in Germany when i learned that one of the chairs was looking for a student assistant for a project on the subject of robotics and applied computer graphics. I applied for the position, got accepted and was told to show up the next monday at the chair to get an introduction of the computer system.

The next week i was sitting in front of a computer terminal with a strange name VT220 (until then C64 and Atari ST had been my favorite systems); the postgraduate being responsible for the project had given me a username and password, included two thick books: VAX/VMS V4.0 introduction and user manual. Five minutes later i was starting to develop software with an operating system called “Virtual Memory System” (VMS) on a hardware platform called “Virtual Address eXtension” (VAX). Good old virtualized times …

Today everyone is talking about virtualization. Although it was invented actually by IBM already in the 1960’s virtualization became most popular during the last couple of years, mainly driven by companies like VMware by bringing the technologies, features and benefits of it to the X86 market. Now, everyone can use virtualization, even at home to e.g. run windows applications on Mac OS.

Now you maybe wonder why an SAP employee writes a blog about virtualization, what SAP is doing in the virtualization market, why we are active there anyway. Well, first of all we work together with the major virtualization vendors like VMware, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Sun etc. to make sure that SAP solutions simply can run in a virtualized environment, e.g. on VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V. Secondly, we want to be able to tell our customers how to best virtualize SAP solutions and products regarding sizing and configuration to get the highest level of utilization and flexibility. Thirdly, our customers want to use virtualization for scenarios like high availability or disaster recovery. Looking back again to my times at the university we also wanted to make sure at that time that our data (programs, documents, research results) were safe.

On April 20-22, 2009 SAP is organizing for the third time the SAP Virtualization Week. For a couple of days our customers, partners, SAP colleagues and hopefully many of you, students from all over the world, join us for a series of various sessions covering many different aspects of virtualization. You can find all information about this event at but to give you a short outlook here are some highlights:

  • “How to utilize Virtualization Features for SAP” presented by Hannes Kuehnemund. Hannes works in our Linux Lab in Walldorf, more than anyone else he can explain the bits and bytes of virtualization for SAP solutions.
  •  “Extreme Makeovers: Virtualization and your Desktop”  presented by Simon Crosby, CTO Virtualization & Management of Citrix; Simons is one of the founders of XenSource,  and before he joined the private sector Simon was a tenured faculty member at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he led research on network performance and control, and multimedia operating systems
  • “Virtualization’s future: From the desktop to the cloud” presented by Steve Herrod, CTO of VMware. is responsible for VMware’s new technologies and technology collaborations with customers, partners and standards groups. He holds a Ph.D. and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford University where he worked with VMware’s founders on the SimOS machine simulation project.
  • “Serving 82,000 students efficiently with the use of Sun Virtualization Technologies” presented by André Bögelsack, Manager Technology and Virtuliziation, SAP UCC, Technische Universitaet Muenchen; well, if this not interesting for the student community ..

As a student one normally doesn’t go to these industry events (at least I didn’t go twenty years ago, maybe this has changed meanwhile). To make the sessions and the content available and affordable to the student community we offer a special reduced price of $25 to participate in the event webinar (organized with Citrix’s GoToWebinar). If you want to take advantage of this offer don’t hesitate to go to and submit your registration. We will send you a special promotion code afterwards to be used at the official registration page at

See you, in a virtual way, on April 20 at the SAP Virtualization Week 2009.


Best regards,

Roland Wartenberg
Ecosytem Technology & Architecture
Global Ecosystem and Partner Group

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