SAP Watch

Apr 20 2009   8:35PM GMT

Going green kicks off SAP Virtualization week

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

SAP announced an interesting initiative today — the Green IT community.

Dozens of SAP customers and partners will work together to research and develop sustainable software. Customers such as Colgate and partners like VMware, Citrix and Sun (SAP said it’s too early to tell if Oracle’s acquisition will affect Sun’s plans for participation) will lead the charge. Click here for a full list of participants.

SAP will start benchmarking the efficiency of its own software by determining how much energy it will consume. In turn, it’s asking partners to provide the same information on their products.

Plus, SAP offered an open invitation to any partners or customers who want to join the Green IT community. All they have to do is email for more information.

“From a customer perspective, it’s a great way to become an early adopter of solutions and then to go and deploy those solutions,” said Peter Graf, who was named SAP’s first chief sustainability officer in March.

And thus SAP kicked off Virtualization Week, being held in Palo Alto, with a theme that it has continued to push over the last couple of months — green IT.

“For me, the natural first step in green IT is virtualization,” Graf said.

But why deploy these initiatives now? Graf elicited a few chuckles from the crowd when he remarked that even the mention of “green IT” had some participants nodding off. So he focused on a crowd pleaser — cost savings.

Graf put up numbers from an SAP customer that reduced its application servers from 218 to 116, and saved $714,000 on maintenance, $162,000 on facilities, $1,468 on staff and $13,520 on servers — reducing its total costs by 36%.

And he said SAP itself has virtualized half of its servers.

“We’re doing it because it makes fundamental business sense,” Graf said. “This technology works. We are now virtualizing across the board at SAP.”

Industry analyst Joshua Greenbaum wrote an excellent blog last month when SAP made its sustainability efforts public on just why the vendor could really convince the world that this was important.

Using the virtualization conference to talk about sustainability is a smart move — as it links green IT more to cost savings than to some sort of abstract idea. It’ll be interesting to see what SAP does with this initiative at Sapphire.

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