Virtual server specialist VMware
"SAP is demanding," says a VMware spokesperson. "They're conservative. They're cautious of what goes into the environments of their customers." That's why it took so long to bring the middleware expert into the VMware fold, as the relatively new virtual platform concept can perform very differently from a straight-up Dell
While VMware customers could certainly run SAP applications in a virtualized environment before this announcement, SAP will now provide production-level support. VMware says that its customers have been asking for this for quite some time. If those customers end up buying what they asked for to begin with, this could be a nice new revenue stream for the platform provider.
SAP's bitter rival, Oracle
It's getting harder to find companies that don't support virtual server installations these days, though VMware ain't the only game in town. Several of the company's official partners have virtual server platforms and strategies of their own, including IBM and Oracle.
Still, VMware has the first-mover advantage and all the name recognition that comes with it. Mindshare can translate into market share, and in a hot field like virtualization, that could prove a lucrative advantage. Danke schoen for the helping hand, SAP -- now invite your friends to the party.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but he has been using VMware virtual servers since 2003. And yes, he's a major geek. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is the virtual germ to your future wealth.