Knowing how to control VM sprawl is one of the keys to maintaining an efficient, high-performing virtual server infrastructure.
When the number of virtual machines (VMs) on the network reaches the point where an administrator can't manage them effectively -- or where the VMs start demanding excessive host resources -- that means there is virtual sprawl.
Virtual servers have the same needs as physical servers when it comes to security, storage and management. If you can't control VM sprawl, there can be serious ramifications on the safety and reliability of not just your virtual server infrastructure, but of your physical infrastructure too.
This Virtualization School course offers several lessons on how to identify and control VM sprawl in your virtual server infrastructure. Read tips from experts and listen to a podcast to learn about the causes of and solutions to virtual sprawl. Then take a quiz to find out how much you know -- and get additional information about the areas you need to study up on.
With the resources in this course, you'll learn how to use server consolidation, capacity planning and other strategies to control VM sprawl. And you'll get the information you need to prevent sprawl from returning to your virtual server infrastructure.
Virtualization School: Control VM sprawl in your virtual server infrastructure
- Lesson 1: Optimize server consolidation to control VM sprawl
By Stephen J. Bigelow, Senior Technology Writer
Through virtualization, server consolidation can eliminate physical server sprawl. But it can also open the door to sprawl in your virtual server infrastructure. The ideal server consolidation strategy will control VM sprawl as well as physical server sprawl. Learn how to optimize your server consolidation strategy to achieve these goals. Failure to do so can lead to software licensing violations and other virtualization management problems.
- Lesson 2: Control VM sprawl in your growing virtual server infrastructure
By Jeff Byrne, Contributor
Sprawl is one of the first problems that organizations encounter when they deploy a virtual server infrastructure. In fact, research shows that more than half of server virtualization projects suffer from sprawl during their first year. There is a right way (lifecycle management tools) and a wrong way (manual processes) to control VM sprawl when it hits, and you'll learn about both in this lesson. There's also valuable information about the serious side effects of virtual sprawl.
- Lesson 3: Five signs you have sprawl in your virtual server infrastructure
By Rick Vanover, Contributor
Your virtual server infrastructure can end up in a lot of trouble if you can't control VM sprawl. Patching software, managing inventory, backing up systems and complying with licenses can all become nightmares very quickly. In this lesson, find out how to identify these virtual sprawl problems and stop them before they bring your network to a standstill. It's best to address these issues immediately, and even plan for them before starting a server virtualization deployment.
- Lesson 4: VM sprawl prevention FAQs
By Rick Vanover, Contributor
Learn about the causes of and solutions to virtual machine sprawl as expert Rick Vanover answers frequently asked questions in this podcast. He explains how inventory databases, management software and strong policies can help your capacity planning and lifecycle management efforts -- two of the most important strategies to control VM sprawl. You'll also find out how virtual sprawl can eliminate the cost benefits of a virtual server infrastructure.
- Quiz: Virtual server sprawl
After studying these lessons, you should know how to control VM sprawl by identifying its causes and choosing the right solutions for your organization. How much have you learned? Find out by taking this eight-question quiz on virtual server sprawl. After submitting your answers, you'll find out how well you did and get additional information on taming sprawl in your virtual server infrastructure.
More resources on how to control VM sprawl
- Why is virtual sprawl a problem?
- VMware shops try to rein in VM sprawl
- Best practices for virtual machine sprawl prevention
- Preventing VM sprawl
- Managing VM sprawl with a VM library
This was first published in December 2009