With all this talk of digital transformation, the big question becomes what technology trends are responsible for pushing it forward . According to Gartner, the main driver is BI and analytics–enabled primarily by SAP.

It stands to reason, then, that many organizations would benefit from automating their SAP Landscape. During a breakout session at the 2016 VMworld conference, VMware’s David Gallant and Dirk Karjack looked at the reasons why it may be beneficial to automate SAP in a VMware-driven software-defined data center (SDDC).

According to VMware core metrics, Gallant said, the percentage of apps running in virtualized infrastructures has grown dramatically over the past few years. Microsoft SQL is the most common app running in on-premises, virtual infrastructure with 67%, SharePoint is in the second spot with 49%, and–you guessed it–SAP rounds out the top three with 46%.

SAP and VMware have had a strategic partnership since 2007, Gallant said, which started with support for SAP applications in production for vSphere. The entire SAP stack can now be virtualized in production with VMware.

SEE: Virtualization policy template (Tech Pro Research)

In the presentation, Gallant explained that automation can help address three key problems that enterprise IT may face when deploying SAP:

1. “Provisioning and managing physical SAP Landscapes is too costly.”

By automating the provisioning and management of resources related to SAP, IT can more easily deliver project Landscapes, Gallant said. The management improvement is key, because it helps prevent you from losing track of all the projects you may have started and not completed.

2. “Provisioning SAP Landscapes is labor intensive and prone to errors.”

By eliminating manual tasks through automation, the benefit is two-fold. First, an organization saves time, but they also prevent potential errors that could come through an employee mistake from tedious activities.

3. “Managing SAP infrastructure is hard with so many panes of glass.”

Automation can help consolidate infrastructure monitoring and management into a single tool, Gallant said. This could reduce the time it takes to react to issues and improve maintenance.

Overall, automating SAP brings agility, control, and choice, Gallant said. Choice was a major part of the first day of VMworld, as the company also introduced its new Cross-Cloud architecture.

So, how does one go about automating and virtualizing their SAP Landscapes? The VMware Adapter For SAP LVM (Landscape Virtualization Management) is a free tool that provides Landscape virtualization, SAP HANA management, custom provisioning, task scheduling, dashboards, and a few other features. The adapter also works with a mixed environment of physical and virtual.

On a more granular scale, Gallant said that automating SAP brings seven key business benefits:

  1. Reduced CAPEX and OPEX
  2. Faster time to market
  3. Agility to respond to dynamic business conditions
  4. Free up budget for HANA and S4/HANA adoption
  5. Better DR and business continuity
  6. Greater compliance and stability
  7. Reduced business downtime for data center and application maintenance