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Author's profile photo Wolfgang Lehr

How SAP runs Client Virtualization for development

SAP IT continues to improve various desktop virtualization solutions, providing flexible and secured alternatives for SAP employees and partners to access the corporate network and applications. SAP development, due to its increasing need of computing resources and intellectual property protection, is one of the strongest use cases for adopting the desktop virtualization solutions.

SAP’s Virtual Desktops at a Glance

Based on Citrix technologies, SAP IT implemented a high available, secure and flexible infrastructure, delivering both XenApp-based Shared Desktop (Terminal Services) and XenDesktop-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) services to a large variety of internal and external customers.

The Shared Desktop service, is a hosted desktop environment providing identical virtual workspace to all end users.

While providing the standard Shared Desktop to all SAP users with a basic set of corporate software such as, Office, SAPGUI and IE, SAP IT also provisions customized/Project desktop environments to dedicated groups of users on per request basis.

This Project Desktop option is particularly useful to a group of users who share the same set of non-standard software applications to undergo project development.

The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) service, provides personal virtual machines (VM) which functions like a local PC with multiple OS image options available, such as, Windows 7, 8, 10 and Linux.

Unlike the Shared Desktop service, VDI provides local administrative right to end users for software installation and local configuration, which is very useful and essential to developers who need more autonomy in their personal virtual workspace to carry out development work.

Benefits of SAP Virtual Desktops for development purpose

Due to their work nature, developers have a much higher need of computing resources (CPU, memory and storage) than general users. In order to develop products for SAP customers from multiple OS platforms with various combinations of software environments, SAP developers have a strong need of multiple computing environments to carry out their development work.

Traditional ways to cope with these additional computing needs are either to upgrade their physical PCs, to acquire secondary or tertiary PCs or to use local-hosted VM software on local PCs.

The Virtual Desktops provided by SAP gives an ideal alternative for developers to meet their increasing computing needs with a number of advantages over the above-mentioned traditional ways.

Centrally hosted in various high availability and high performance server farms, SAP virtual desktops are available to developers on 24h x 7. Simplified and secured access to all virtual desktop services is achieved via a one-stop Access Portal regardless of user location (internal or external network) and device used (PC, Macintosh or mobile devices).

Processing and disk read/write operations in centrally hosted virtual desktops all happen within the backend server farms only, hence, there is no performance impact on developer’s local PCs. Data remain in SAP datacenters whereby the intellectual property is well protected. Furthermore, it limits the impact to developers when a local PC hardware problem occurs.

VDI, in particular, is good for setup of a sandbox environment for developers to test their codes and build their projects. Developers can test their software work or release in VDI VMs that they don’t want to risk doing in their production PCs.

Going virtual is a good substitute of old, secondary and tertiary PCs, saving hardware costs, physical space and energy consumption. With the benefits of increased security, high availability and flexibility of access SAP virtual desktops can offer, developers are no longer bounded by any physical devices and location to do their work, thus their productivity is maximized.

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