SAP and VMWare forge support agreement

SAP said it will support its software running on VMWare's ESX Server.

VMWare said this week that SAP will support its software running on VMWare's ESX Server, in 64-bit Windows and Linux environments.

SAP will offer companies who deploy ESX Server support for "all stages of the software lifecycle, from development and test to production," according to a VMWare statement.

VMWare also said that server products from Fujitsu-Siemens, HP, Dell and IBM have been certified for running SAP software on VMWare.

Parag Patel, vice president of alliances for VMWare, said it took some time for SAP to provide production-environment support due to the company's high standards: "SAP is demanding, they're conservative. They're cautious of what goes into the environments of their customers."

He also acknowledged the technological implications of virtualizing an enterprise's ERP (enterprise resource planning) infrastructure. "Companies run their businesses around SAP," he said. "It's one thing to virtualize a lightweight application and another thing to virtualize something like SAP."

The company's newly strengthened alliance with SAP comes at a time when it remains the dominant market leader for virtualization but is seeing competing products from the likes of Sun and Oracle emerge.

VMWare nonetheless hopes to form an equivalent support pact with Oracle, according to Patel. "I'm optimistic. I think there's a lot to be gained for both companies," he said.

Also Tuesday, VMWare shipped the latest version of VMware Infrastructure 3. The company said the release features improvements in automation, availability and workload performance.