Aside from VKernel, I’m not seeing a lot of choice for IT managers who want to enable chargeback for virtual infrastructure costs. However, I met today with virtual test lab management toolmaker Surgient and got a little more insight into some ways IT managers might think about chargeback. Erik Josowitz, a VP at Surgient, suggested that quantifying RAM and time might be a good way to measure the amount of resources a VM is using, and therefore could be a good way to charge departments for virtual computing resources. Other resources to measure could be VLAN, IP address and MAC address consumed. I suggested network bandwidth, but agreed with Erik that the incremental use cost for bandwidth was so small as to be negligible when compared to the other metrics he suggested. What is clear is that VM infrastructure is paying for itself through hardware consolidation and power reductions. It’s easy to see that in the near future, management functions–including chargeback mechanisms–are going to become much more important as the question of “who’s paying for this?” gets asked about subsequent hardware purchases.