The benefits of virtualization are eroded when
virtual machines go unchecked.
embraced virtualization for the many efficiencies the technology brings to the
data center. But with the increasing use of virtualization comes an increasing
challenge: managing and securing all those virtual server instances.
In fact, the
benefits of virtualization are eroded when virtual machines are not controlled
by a life-cycle process.
creation of VMs without regard for ongoing utilization monitoring,
desired-state configuration management, or an automated process for correlating
VM and physical host performance characteristics-can be remediated in a
cost-effective manner if IT managers get the balance right between ease of VM
creation and management oversight.
are best-practice suggestions based on eWeek Labs' virtual testing
implementation and tips from virtual infrastructure users and management
To read Cameron Sturdevant's tips for how to set up server virtualization from the beginning to avoid later problems, click here.
line for IT managers is that VM sprawl can be controlled, but only if IT expertise
is combined with an almost ruthless adherence to procedures designed to enforce
standard configurations, maximum resource utilization and dynamic reallocation
of computing capacity.
and Virtual Relationship
workloads that currently run on underused physical systems is what makes
virtual systems so attractive. In a Ziff Davis Enterprise Editorial Research survey
conducted for eWEEK, 75 percent of respondents said that improving server utilization
was among the main drivers leading to a virtualization implementation at their
Long after the
honeymoon with virtualization ends-that is, when maximum physical server utilization
is achieved-it may be that management efficiency will rise in importance for virtualization
projects. IT managers will have to use management systems to ensure that
virtual systems are maintained in a desired configuration state that includes
security and operational patches to both the operating system and applications.
In other words,
virtualization drivers that scored low on the survey-including lowered staff
costs-will become much more important when server utilization and the accompanying
hardware cost reductions are driven out of the equation by widespread use of
The virtualization market is heating up. Read more here.
question is critical because there is a relationship between physical resources
and VMs. This is especially true of VM performance. Unused CPU cycles, excess
network bandwidth and underused RAM create
the virtual real estate upon which entire "cities" of virtual systems have been
created. Virtual server sprawl is created when management systems designed for
purely physical systems don't keep up with tracking the relationship between
physical machines and VMs.
traditional physical management into a hybrid that manages both physical machines
and VMs is the first step in controlling sprawl. But it's not the only step.
Sprawl is created if there is a loss of control after the machines are created,
if there is no orderly plan for maintaining machines in a desired configuration
once they are placed in production, or if machines are abandoned but not decommissioned
when they are no longer used.
of when to terminate a VM is most applicable to test and development
environments, where there is a need to ensure the orderly decommissioning of
virtual systems. As projects end, IT managers will need to take down unused systems
so that physical compute resources can be reallocated. IT managers should ask
project leaders to specify a date when the virtual system will be turned off
and to use management tools to monitor server utilization. Ferret out owners of
unused systems to ensure they have a legitimate need for the resource.
before virtual systems are taken down, they must be created, which is also one
of the best places to start managing virtualization.