Virtual Machine Ghosts Multiply: How to Exorcise them from the Data Center

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Virtual Machine Ghosts Multiply: How to Exorcise them from the Data Center

by Chris Preimesberger

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Virtual Ghosts Indeed Exist

One of virtualizations inherent benefits is that it has made it very easy to set up virtual machines. In the past, servers could only run one instance of an operating system (OS), requiring IT to buy a server, install it and get it up and running. With virtualization, a server can easily be set-up to run multiple instances of an OS, Reducing the planning that was inherent to buying a server in the past. Today even your data center likely has virtual ghosts lurking in its data center.

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Plan First, Virtualize Later

Understanding data center resources is the first step to making the most effective virtualization design decisions.??í No two virtual deployments are the same. Each project requires careful, individualized assessment in order to achieve maximum benefits.

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Strike a Balance

Performance suffers if too many virtual machines run on a single server, but resources are underutilized if too few virtual machines are on each server. You wont experience optimal cost benefits unless they achieve the right balance of virtual and physical servers.

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Integrate Capacity Planning into Your Arsenal

A recent??íHP Labs study found that an average of 40 percent fewer virtualized CPUs were needed to meet 100 percent of the demand compared to dedicated servers. Capacity planning tools sort through thousands of data points about actual server utilization, including performance and energy usage information. This provides IT administrators with recommendations on the best fit for particular application workloads on physical or virtual servers.

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Ensure That Virtual Ghosts Will Expire

Set a process in place so that all virtual machines have a set expiration date to ensure virtualized servers are deleted when are no longer required.??í In this way, IT can be assured that virtual ghosts will be automatically exorcised from the data center.

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Take Ownership

Ensure that there is an individual responsible to manage virtual ghosts.??í Assign server administrators to set, manage and determine when virtual machines should expire.

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Exorcise Existing Ghosts

Set a process to identity and expunge any existing virtual ghosts from the data center. Adopt a lifecycle management system to monitor how many virtualized servers are in the data center, who made them and whether they are still needed.??í Start by running a report limited to "no usage" or look at the last transaction run by a virtual machine.

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From Virtualization to Convergence

It is crucial to rid virtual ghosts from the data center in order to gain agility and cost benefits. Virtualization is also a first step in moving toward a converged infrastructure, where IT silos are eliminated so that they can act as a service to the business, responding instantly to business needs. By chasing away your virtual ghosts today, you can move toward a??íconverged Infrastructure tomorrow.

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Virtual GhostsCan Haunt Cloud Applications

More and more VMs are turning up in hosted environments, such as those offered by Amazon EC2, Rackspace, and other cloud providers. Be sure your staff is also aware of those and is keeping them in sight.

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Be Sure Its Really a Ghost Before You Kill It

You don't want to bury a VM simply because it's quiet at a particular time.??í Perhaps it exists for specific purposes on specific dates. Check all the possibilities first. Keeping tabs on all the VMS currently in operation helps solve this problem.

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