Today I came across Mike DiPetrillo’s article on Virtual Server Sprawl and found it very reminiscent of issues that I see in my enterprise customers while they are undergoing server consolidation. Virtualization is almost always part of any server consolidation effort today. Yet, there are some companies who, for various reasons, do not think about virtualization during consolidation…they think of it after consolidation. While virtualization during consolidation takes more effort and planning than consolidation alone, there ends up being more waste in time, resources, and capital when virtualization is done after. Unless you’re undergoing a huge enterprise wide consolidation or consolidation of Tier 1 applications, think consolidation and virtualization together.
When you do think about both, make sure that you take into consideration the cultural or social changes in your organization that virtualization may make. If your pulling developers systems out from under their desk and giving them VMs, there will be some resistance just because they feel like they are loosing something.
But, once the benefits of virtualization is discovered, make sure you don’t short change yourself on two fronts:
- Storage: Many an IT manager has short changed themselves on storage during a virtualization effort. Either by purchasing lower grade storage that costs less at the expense of performance or by not buying enough storage. With all the VMs running off of a shared storage device performance needs to be kept in the forefront of your planning. Also, once the users start to realize the benefits of virtualization the potential for VM sprawl starts as does the depletion of your storage.
- Workflow: One of the often overlooked areas of a virtualization deployment is the process and workflow around requesting and authorizing new VMs. This is what leads to VM sprawl and quickly depleted resources. This is also exactly where VMware Lifecycle Manager (LCM) comes into play. You need to think about how groups will request new VMs and the authorization process needed to approve them. LCM will help with all that.
Just a few items to keep in mind while planning a consolidation or a virtualization effort.