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What VM automation tools are available?

There are many different VM automation tools available -- some of them part of much wider product and feature suites. Determine which features you need and find the tool that works.

Admins should examine the types of VM automation tools that are available and which product suites they are a part...

of to decide which tools they want to use.

There are myriad different VM automation tools that you can use to automate the creation and management of VMs in a modern data center. Although there are far too many VM automation tools to provide a concise list, these examples can illustrate the available options.

IT rarely implements automation as a discrete automation platform, but rather implements it from a subset of features in broader virtualization or systems management tools.

Leading virtualization platforms typically provide native VM automation tools. VMware vSphere can provide automation scripting capabilities through interfaces such as VMware vSphere PowerCLI and VMware vSphere CLI, as well as the Windows PowerShell command-line interface. For example, you can use PowerCLI scripts to generate daily reports on the state of the virtual environment, identify users that created suspect VMs and summarize vSwitch ports.

VMware's vRealize Automation is an extensible tool that can help manage resource lifecycles, optimization and reclamation.

Explore third-party VM automation tools

There are also numerous popular third-party systems and configuration management tools that provide comprehensive automation capabilities.

Automation is an essential complement in data center virtualization.

Puppet Enterprise automates the provisioning, configuration, enforcement and management of software and servers. Red Hat Ansible specializes in complex workflows and streamlines complex tasks and deployments. Chef defines infrastructure as code, which enables you to automatically create and enforce complex infrastructures policies to reduce configuration drift. Salt Open automates data center infrastructure and workload deployments.

You can find automation capabilities in many other tools, as well, such as Jenkins, Terraform, Juju, Vagrant and Docker. You can implement automation for traditional, fixed data centers with established configurations, as well as for more dynamic environments, such as DevOps software projects where infrastructures and resources must follow busy continuous integration/continuous delivery workflow pipelines.

Automation is an essential complement in data center virtualization. Although not every VM requires automation in every circumstance, the benefits of the speed and consistency brought by automation can be compelling, and there are many VM automation tools readily available to implement automation and orchestration in virtualized environments. Plan and test automation deployments carefully to avoid some common automation mistakes and limitations.

This was last published in October 2018

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