Virtualization has quickly evolved into a strategic enabling technology now widely deployed at all levels of the IT stack – from servers and desktops to networks, storage and applications. However, with rising data volumes, lack of cross-domain visibility, and shifting data center roles and responsibilities, today’s virtual environments require more proactive management to maximize the business value of virtualization investments. With even greater growth projected in 2010, Hyper9, Inc. recommends five virtualization management strategies to get the most from your virtual infrastructure:
Top Tips for Optimizing Virtual Environments
1) Minimize VM Sprawl: VM sprawl – characterized by issues such as suspended VMs, VMs that are powered on but not being used, orphaned files, redundant snapshots, out of compliance software licenses and thin provisioning – is wreaking havoc on IT organizations, leading to escalating costs and inefficiencies in virtual environments. Solutions that provide deep inspection and holistic correlation of performance, configuration and historical data across the virtual infrastructure (VMs, VCs, hosts, guests and clusters) can help administrators address operational inefficiencies head-on, minimizing VM sprawl while protecting and increasing virtualization ROI.
2) Understand Storage Parameters: At any given time, organizations need to understand how much disk space is available including which data stores are filling up and how quickly storage is being consumed. Where the focus used to be on acquiring more servers, virtualization has now shifted it to acquiring more storage resources. Dynamic reporting tools that track and alert on thousands of properties in the virtual environment can help administrators ensure proper resource allocations, or make proactive management decisions before key thresholds have been reached. Having visibility into storage bottlenecks becomes even more critical as virtualization moves beyond low hanging fruit applications to supporting the rollout of business-critical applications.
3) Pinpoint Interdependencies: Constant change, blurred boundaries and an inherent state of mobility make it increasingly difficult to pinpoint virtualization breakdowns by source, criticality and interdependency. Tools that provide broad insights across the virtual infrastructure, applications and storage can help organizations prioritize the right management actions at the right time in highly dynamic virtual environments.
4) Tie the Business Back to the Infrastructure: The up-stack migration of virtualization is driving the need to establish better business context around virtual resources – specifically, how they support the delivery of critical applications and services, as well as map to business units, departments and users. Solutions that track global trends around how resources are used, configured and changed over time; that perform capacity planning and troubleshoot performance across infrastructures and applications; and that understand the breakdown of VM and host configurations sorted by labels (departments or lines of business) can help administrators improve visibility, collaboration, control and reporting around business-level management issues.
5) Integrate into Larger Datacenter Strategy: Implementing a successful virtualization strategy depends on being able to leverage open APIs (including PowerShell and Perl) to integrate with existing management consoles, CMDBs, service desk solutions and analytics tools that drive automation workflows across the environment. Additionally, tools that can show the real-time impact of changing resource allocations and usage – from how many VMs have been added in the last week, to who owns the VMs and how are they being used – can help administrators become more efficient and cost-effective in their planning and investment strategies.
“This past year brought significant advancements in virtualization, but organizations are just scratching the surface in terms of what they can achieve,” said Bill Kennedy, CEO at Hyper9. “As we look to the New Year, it’s important to remember that certain basic principles will always apply to a successful virtualization strategy – no matter how small or expansive that initiative might be.”