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Lifecycle management: Physical vs. virtual machines
This article is part of the Virtual Data Center issue of September 2009, Vol. 14
Lifecycle management is more complicated in a virtual infrastructure, and there are significant differences between lifecycle management in physical and virtual infrastructures. In a data center, all machines have a lifecycle, whether they are physical or virtual. More on lifecycle management Virtual infrastructure management challenges: VM sprawl and security Top 10 virtual infrastructure management tools In the ideal dynamic data center, physical machines are host servers only -- machines running a hypervisor to support applications within virtual machines (VMs) -- so that their lifecycle is greatly shortened and lifecycle management is simplified. The process is simple: Get the machine, place it in a rack, install the hypervisor (if it isn't already there) and add it to your resource pool. Then, retire the machine once it has outlasted its usefulness. But for the VMs that run services and applications your end users interact with, lifecycle management requires a more extensive effort. This lifecycle has four stages: Planning...
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Lifecycle management in a virtual infrastructure poses a few more challenges than you're used to. Without proper lifecycle management, you could end up with VM sprawl.