Virtualization is taking leaps into the SAP landscapes, to reduce the IT infrastructure and also to provide better consolidation of your hardware. Be it your development / quality instances, enterprises are also looking into the options of using it in the production instances .( If Amazon can pull off running SAP landscapes on Virtualized environments, others can too )
Now how do we select the Virtualization platforms. The major Virtualization platforms available for Enterprise Systems are
2) Xen & its variants (Citrix, SUSE VM, Oracle VM etc..)
I hate VMWARE as much as i love it, mostly due to the cost it involves, and the way it supports para virtualization (or non support of it). I believe the virtualization technology should be totally viable (You are consolidating hardware. I rather procure newer hardware with the cost of VMWARE licenses)
I still believe KVM is not Enterprise ready, though they are still getting warmed up. Redhat is pushing KVM but i think its going to be a while, when its ready and rocking.
Xen has been arround for a while, huge community support and got a shot in the arm when Citrix took it into their wraps. Though Citrix is not able to compete directly with VMWARE on the virtualization platform, its an alternative to your VMWARE environment at very less cost (or no cost). Though i love Citrix for its capabilities, there are stuff like Dynamic memory and CPU which work only in the advanced edition.
And finally choosing the stock Xen, we have the choice of compiling the same on your favourite distribution, but it would be heavily risking with your environment. We have choosen SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) for the following reasons in our SAP landscapes
1) SAP Environments run on SUSE Linux and gel with each other
2) Redhat dropping support for Xen to favor KVM (http://www.infoworld.com/d/virtualization/red-hat-drops-xen-in-favor-kvm-in-rhel-6-498)
3) SUSE Linux subscription for Virtualization.
<blockquote>To encourage the adoption of SUSE Linux Enterprise in virtualized environments, we offer separate subscriptions for virtual use, and unique unrestricted pricing for its use as virtualization guests or hosts. One server subscription covers all of the virtual images running on a physical server. You can create as many virtual server images as you want, and get support for them, as long as you have a paid subscription for the physical server they are running on. So whether you use the Xen or KVM hypervisors that are included with SUSE Linux Enterprise, or use third party hypervisors like VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer, no additional subscriptions are required for your virtual images</blockquote>
4) Highly stable. We had huge issues in implementing Xen a few years ago, but we have found the stock Xen that is available with SUSE is highly stable.
The technical advantages we have seen in our SAP landscapes.
1) Dynamic memory and CPU allocation. (Imagine what dynamic memory allocation can do to your HANA instance)
2) Physical pass throughs for fiber channel or your 10g interfaces. (Imagine the backup times coming down)
3) Live Migration and high availability support.(It supports remus too..http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Remus)
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