How can I enable automated VM resource provisioning?

Stephen J. Bigelow

How should I automate VM resource allocation?

Manual resource provisioning is often a time-consuming and error-prone process. To mitigate the problems that crop up, such as VM performance degradation, many admins turn to automated provisioning techniques.

Hypervisor features such as Dynamic Memory, memory ballooning and transparent page sharing make up part of the automation technique list. These techniques aim to identify unused memory within a VM that can be reclaimed and allocated for other VMs to use.

VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) also enables automation. The tool tweaks VM resources and shuffles workloads between servers for optimization based on established IT rules and policies.

In general, automating VM resource allocation allows administrators to focus their time and efforts on more strategic projects. Automation should never be an excuse to avoid management tasks such as workload performance monitoring or load balancing. These practices often provide the basis for rules and policies needed to drive automation. IT professionals must evaluate changing trends to make appropriate changes to allocation rules.

Further reading on automation tools

Examining the automation tools on the virtualization market

How automation tools can help your job security

VM provisioning with new automation tools

Regardless of how you allocate computing resources to a VM, it's important to employ prudent and practical judgment. Don't attempt exact resource allocation. Instead, provide extra memory or CPU capacity; that leeway can accommodate unexpected spikes in resource demand. You should also use common sense when consolidating servers. A fully utilized server cannot accommodate failover workloads from other systems, and may not even have enough resources to adjust for shortages. Provisioning spare capacity will prevent workload disruptions.

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