Cross-Platform Tools Needed to Combat Virtualization Sprawl - Page 2

In the same vein, capacity planning tools should be tightly integrated with the hypervisor. Data about available resources, the rate of VM creation, the resource requirements of these VMs, the length of time these systems exist and the business constraints that govern VM placement all factor into new physical hardware buying plans.

As virtualization moves from the test/development environment into production, we will pass from simply reusing and recycling existing equipment into prudently acquiring new physical resources to support ongoing virtualization.

It couldn't be happening at a worse time. Business leaders both have been weaned from the hideously inefficient practice of demanding one app/one server and have come to enjoy the tremendous cost savings and drastically reduced deployment times. As these benefits meet the limit of what can be done with existing equipment, IT managers will need to go to business leaders to get new hardware to support future computing growth. All at a time when organizations are confronted with the worst economic conditions since the 1930s.

All That Is Old Is New Again

Capacity planning and inventory management have always been a part of good IT operations. Having the right spare equipment in the right place and using cost/benefit analysis to line up priorities with business needs are fundamental IT skills. What is new is that virtualization puts a twist on capacity planning that will separate the good from the best in IT. Because physical hardware is shared among departments, commingling utilization on shared hardware, chargeback and capacity prediction become much more difficult tasks.

Business users will get reports on actual utilization and will expect to pay only for the resources they use. In the one-app/one-server age, business units blithely paid for equipment, utilities and IT staff regardless of how much they actually used. With the advent of detailed usage reports and budget scarcity, those days are gone.

In the heady days and months ahead, effective management of virtualized IT resources across platforms and accounting for future capacity needs will be the new measure of IT effectiveness and efficiency.

eWEEK Labs Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at