… or is it SAP, SQL Server DB’s, SharePoint, or even Oracle DB’s?
We had a good time this past week putting together a group of people who love their job and even more so, their application area. We spoke at an EMC World session “Expert Panel: Virtualizing Mission Critical Applications and Databases.” We did very little preparation in advance, just met about 15 minutes before the session to discuss what happens if no one asks questions.
So I started the panel with a question to the other panelists.
I challenged each of them, “what is the best application to virtualize?” and basically put them on the spot in front of a crowd of about 160 or so, and then argued how the answer is Exchange (obviously!) 🙂
This revved up Jeff Browning, who told us that Oracle was the single most expensive piece of software in the world, and if virtualized and deployed correctly, you could save a boatload. Then Haji Aref couldn’t take it any longer. He convinced us all that it was SAP that was the best to virtualize and talked about the SAP Cookie Monster that would eat up a bunch of servers if you let it. James Baldwin couldn’t let the madness go on any further… he described how SharePoint (a SQL-based application) had many servers with underutilized resources and because of the connected nature of a SharePoint farm benefit in many different ways. And Brian Johnson was our virtualization expert who kept us all grounded in reality (good discussions on thin versus thin storage vs hypervisor, for example)
After the kickoff, we had no problems getting actual questions from real customers who wanted answers to their questions. We could have probably gone for two hours easy…
On the surface, what happened was something very cool. Below the surface, I was surprised to learn a little more about SAP and Oracle, given the crowd was skipping the easy questions and getting right into it. It seemed like the main concerns for not virtualizing were similar – concerns for performance, backup, protection, and they wanted to know the best practices for setup and deployment. Because we’re all technical, we could explain the answers to most of the audiences concerns and we pointed people to specific Proven Solutions and reference architectures that are designed to make the transition to a fully virtualized environment.
We had a blast and we’re already not preparing for next year’s session.