Virtualization has revolutionized the data center and has been able to meet with the greater demands of computing services. The process of virtualization servers has created plenty of rack space, reduced overall server footprint and has also reduced effects on things like power and cooling. Yet along with virtualization has come a parallel problem of VM sprawl. This sprawl occurs when your virtual machines are spread across your virtual infrastructure and hogging resources whether or not they are being used proportionately.
There are few ways which can help you stop VM sprawl at the data centers. However, the methods that work best for you depend upon your corporate culture, your budget and also your resources. These are some of the things that can help you prevent or at least reduce the impact of VM sprawl.
- Know what resources a new VM demands whenever you add a virtual machine, you need a number of resources such as the IT staff and sufficient time to manage the virtual infrastructure. Eventually you would require more physical servers to meet these requirements.
- Chargebacks turning IT into a cost center is a practice that works quite well in some of the companies, but it isn’t realistic in other corporate cultures. If you are in a position to issue chargebacks, you need to be clear with your user base about the cost of the specific VMs. This will help you in eliminating certain VM requests as you would easily be able to identify VMs that can be turned off altogether.
- Metering it is a method to recognize finite resources at your disposal and then be able to crash them out based on your business requirements. In this configuration business priorities drive the creation of VMs rather than simple user demands. The advantage of metering is that they create a series of artificial barriers to your users.
- Educating the user base another method that can help you stop VM sprawl is through educating your users about the real cost of VMs which can reduce the demand of new VMs.
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