March 10, 2009 - Matthijs Haverink

SAP adopting Citrix XenServer next to VMware ESX: weird or smart ?

My first reaction was a pretty big laughter when I read the article that stated that SAP is going to use XenServer to virtualize about 500 servers. The laughter is, as Alessandro states, because of the fact that during Paul Maritz’ keynote at VMworld Europe 2009 in Cannes 2 weeks ago, SAP got over 30 minutes of (my valuable !!!) time for a (pretty boring) presentation about what amazing stuff they were doing with VMware.

But after a couple of seconds I thought : wow… SAP is one of the first big companies that I’ve heard of (please correct me if I’m wrong) that’s actaully doing this; using multiple hypervisors next to eachother. And honestly who can blame them? I think that in a couple of years we’ll all be doing the same. I see the management tooling-market growing faster then ever and that’s because more and more people/companies are aware of the fact that the hypervisor itself is becoming commodity and it’s all down to using the right tools to manage it.

As my co-blogger Wouter Heije already stated today : Citrix XenServer 5 seems to be enterprise ready. And there are more and more indications (like the Hypervisor Lab Experiment by that show that Citrix XenServer outperforms ESX when it comes down to heavy utilized vm’s) that show that VMware is loosing ground when it comes down to the hypervisor itself.

Tools like Quest vWorkspace (which amazed me at their booth in Cannes) that can manage your entire virtual desktop infrastructure (Terminal Services, VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop, Blade PC’s and so on) from within one interface look like the way to go.

don’t think that SAP is making a weird move, I think they might be ahead of their time; I think that what SAP is doing is what we will all be doing in the near future. I’m not saying that this is the way to go now because I’ve seen little management tooling at the moment that can really manage every hypervisor to the max, but I think we’ll get there, maybe even sooner than you might think!

Virtual Infrastructure / VMworld 2009 Cannes Cannes / Citrix / ESX / Quest / SAP / VMware / VMware View / VMworld Europe 2009 / vWorkspace / Xendesktop / xenserver /


  • Pablo says:

    I think way too much has been made about big VM performance based on one test. Not exactly ready for a journal publication at this point.

    ESX is still years ahead on so many key uptime driven features…. Hardly a “commodity” in 2009. When VI4 comes out this summer this talk of parity will once again seem silly, as it always was.

    The 7/24 news cycle distorts some things.

  • Shawn says:

    SAP could also be making sure to avoid ‘vendor lockin’ and are hedging their bets.
    Having competitive architecture in house combined with the skills their staff will acquire will allow them to maintain leverage with Vmware with regards to negotiating licensing. With an environment as large as theirs, that could mean a lot of savings. The last thing you want is a vendor who thinks you have no alternative.

  • Craig says:

    I am agreed with most of your points. SAP is a company will support any major platform in the market to be certify for the software which they will sell to the consumer. Having run on Xenserver and HyperV beside VMware, will be a smart move for them. Example will be SLES and Redhat which both supported by SAP.