We've got a big mess going on with naming, locating and generally managing VMs (virtual machines). How is VM
in Microsoft Virtual Server? Are there good tools, standard practices or policies for for identifyinig VMs, their status and location? Could you compare the ways server assets and status have been tracked and explain why it may be different in virtualized environments? I need to explain this to some non-IT execs.
As far as I know, Virtual Server doesn't have any built-in mechanisms for documenting or describing the contents of VMs aside from the name of the machine in question. One possible way to get around this is to invest in a product like Microsoft Operations Manager or one of its equivalents (i.e., NetIQ), and treat your virtual servers like any other collection of *physical* machines that need to have their assets tracked and allocated. There should always be some kind of consistent labeling to make it possible to tell virtual and physical machines apart. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's internally consistent and self-documenting -- such as placing all the VMs and their controllers in a single domain, or just using the suffix "-VM" for each virtual machine's machine name.
One typical difference between tracking virtual and physical machines like this is that not every virtual machine...
may be online at the same time. For instance, if you have a given virtual machine that exists in five separate instances (let's say each of those instances has a slightly different software configuration and you're testing them out in rotation), each of those instances should be registered as a separate machine. This is one of those wrinkles in the way VMs work that is often overlooked.