Learning Guide

Virtual systems management resource guide

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Benefits of VSM tools
VSM strategies and goals

Server virtualization addresses several long-standing data center issues,

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but it also creates new challenges, including virtual server (VM) migration, optimizing VM performance and boosting physical server consolidation ratios. To get the most from a virtualization environment, to maximize system performance and to minimize downtime, companies there need to deploy  virtual systems management (VSM) tools and practices tailored to their virtualization environment.

The discipline of VSM covers various elements of managing a virtualization environment, from hardware and software purchasing to troubleshooting virtual machine (VM) performance. To define and explore virtual system management, SearchServerVirtualization.com compiled a repository for all things VSM.


I. Benefits of VSM tools Implementing the right VSM tools can improve almost every aspect of an IT department. Some of the benefits include consolidating floor space, reducing power consumption, boosting cost savings and automating tedious processes. The following articles and tips highlight the benefits of virtual systems management tools.

Deploying and migrating virtual machines faster with VSM tools
For data centers, a central driver of virtualization is to speed server deployment and configuration, according to Enterprise Management Associates research. In this tip, learn how to use virtual machine management tools – such as inventory management and patch distribution software – to accelerate VM migration as well as ease the burden of compliance, monitoring and other management hassles.

Using virtual systems management to optimize your server
Virtual systems management makes life easier for IT professionals by solving problems such as VM sprawl and migrating VMs. In this podcast, Andi Mann outlines the concept of VSM and different ways you can leverage these tools to optimize your dynamic virtual environment.

Why virtual systems management tools are central to green IT strategy
The advantages associated with moving to "green IT" extend well beyond energy-saving benefits. Through server virtualization, data centers can achieve significant cost savings from reducing energy consumption, cooling requirements and floor space. In this tip, learn how virtualization coupled with virtual systems management tools can color your IT department green.


II. VSM strategies and goals Once you set up a virtual environment, several challenges remain -- including troubleshooting, managing, securing and optimizing server consolidation ratios and virtual machines. The following tips break down the best approaches for maintaining an efficient virtual ecosystem.

Using virtual systems management to define server ownership
The question of who owns servers in a virtualized environment –where virtual machines are created on the fly and moved frequently -- can create interdepartmental squabbles among an organization's business units. Department heads can no longer point to a physical server and say, "We own that," and shared system resources among business units can convolute departmental budgeting. Andi Mann lays out some  VSM principles -- including chargeback and capacity planning -- to clarify server ownership in a virtualized data center.

Improving server consolidation ratios with virtual systems management
Server consolidation is one of the leading drivers for data center virtualization projects, according to research conducted by Enterprise Management Associates. This article explains how to achieve  superior server consolidation ratios to get the best possible performance out of your equipment.

Automating virtual performance and availability management: Five target areas
All too often, companies use manual methods to improve virtual performance and availability when they can make better use of staff time and better optimize data center resources with automated virtual machine management. Andi Mann outlines five key areas where  automation tools can save you time and energy.

Improving VM density ratios
Poor VM-to-server ratios mean higher operational costs. This tip, outlines how to  maximize server consolidation ratios with VSM tools, such as Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, to improve server consolidation efforts and operating margins.

Improving virtual system management
Migrating to a virtual environment is a huge undertaking for any IT department. Due to the complexities involved, missteps along the way can create serious performance problems down the road. This tip explores virtual systems management tools and disciplines to minimize virtual server performance management problems.

Automating IT processes for virtual servers
While virtualization has become increasingly mainstream creating a dynamic virtual environment introduces several new management challenges for data center managers and virtualization administrators. This tip outlines how IT process automation tools ease basic workflow issues and free up IT staff for larger, more complex virtualization projects.

Virtual systems management efficiency: Improving admin-to-VM ratios
When it comes to virtualization, decreasing a data center's administrator-to-VM ratio can create a more efficient IT department as well reduce IT staff needs virtualization training requirements. In this tip, Andi Mann explains  strategies to maximize virtualization skills and thus,to reduce IT staff costs VMs.

This was first published in October 2009

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