SAP upping private cloud ante

A new cloud management tool is in development

SAP customers will soon have more options and tools for deploying the company's software on private clouds, according to an announcement made Tuesday at the Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas.

The vendor is now working on a "landscape management" application for provisioning, monitoring and managing SAP software on private clouds. It will be compatible with other system management tools as well as SAP's own Solution Manager, and is set for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2011, the company said.

More than 40 customers and partners are working with SAP on the platform, which will deliver "a unified view and management of the virtualized infrastructure and the SAP landscape layer."

Also Tuesday, SAP signaled its intentions to support private-cloud reference architectures from IBM and Dell.

The announcements followed SAP's previous move to support the Vblock systems being pushed by EMC, VMware and Cisco.

In one sense, SAP has little choice but to make supportive gestures toward private clouds. An internal customer survey found that 70 percent are "actively evaluating virtual and cloud platforms," according to a statement.

Based on SAP's description, the new management platform's features will mostly be aimed at automating otherwise manual tasks, "like on-boarding new users and services, and allocating the infrastructure for it," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté. "For example, in the retail space, if a new store popped up, you'd have to do provisioning within various SAP systems to set up new employees, track retail, et cetera. In the utopic cloud world, much of that would be self-service automated with 'private cloud' voodoo."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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