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Five Key Areas of Virtualization Management

By SolarWinds

Virtualization is all about sharing the resources of a single physical hardware device with many servers. While this can make the most effective use of your resources, it also introduces new and unique challenges when it comes to the management and monitoring of your environment.

All in all, focusing on the big picture in your virtual environment is just as important as focusing on its components. From growth to capacity to performance, maintaining a smooth-running virtual environment requires collecting, interpreting, and acting on data. Having a proper virtualization management solution can make this task much easier and help ensure you're looking at the right information to make informed decisions.

A good virtualization management solution should cover five key areas. By focusing on these areas, you can ensure you stay on top of the big picture and eliminate potential threats that may disrupt or impact the proper operation of your virtual machines.

Five of the key areas you should ensure your virtualization management solution addresses include:

1.   Performance Management-Optimizing performance is critical in a virtual environment where the resources are shared. Nothing can kill a virtual environment faster than not having adequate resources for all the virtual machines running in it. You need to ensure you not only have enough resources available, but you also prioritize their usage. Staying on top of performance is one of the most important tasks in a virtual environment-if you don't, you're asking for trouble. SolarWinds® Virtualization Manager (VMAN) can help you identify problem areas that can affect your performance to help determine what's experiencing contentions. Through dashboards, automated alerts, and reports targeting the key areas, Virtualization Manager can help ensure your environment performs well and stays healthy.

2.   Capacity Planning-Maintaining sufficient capacity and planning for future growth is a non-stop job in a virtual environment. Knowing what resources to add when they're needed can help ensure you always have enough capacity. Because resources are shared, capacity planning can be a tricky job; you should think of your environment as a whole when adding capacity, so you make sure you add the right type and amount. Virtualization Manager can help you understand when you'll run out of resources and automatically notify you if you have a pending resource shortage. It can also help you with your host failover capacity planning to ensure you always have enough spare capacity to handle host failures. You can also do advanced what-if analysis, so you can create models of scenarios with an impact on your resource availability. Finally, all VMs are not created equal, so understanding what applications and services these VMs support is critical to setting the right priorities and making smart capacity management decisions.

3.   VM Sprawl Identification-It's not always easy to spot VM sprawl, especially when you manage your environment daily where growth over time may not be easily noticeable. Monitoring VM lifecycles and growth patterns is critical to being able to identify VM sprawl; in fact, it's really about applying the same best practice configuration management policies to your virtual environment as you have in your physical. Looking at a picture of your environment from month to month instead of day to day can help you better understand how it's growing. Virtual environments hardly ever shrink and most continually grow from the day they are implemented. Virtualization Manager can help monitor growth trends, so you can understand where your virtual environment has been and where it's going. With Virtualization Manager, you can easily identify un-used and zombie VMs, as well as orphaned files and VMs with more resources then they require.

4.   Storage I/O Bottleneck Identification-Storage I/O bottlenecks are perhaps one of the biggest threats to performance in a virtual environment and one of the more challenging issues to identify and resolve. Bottlenecks can happen for several reasons-from simple configuration settings to improper architecture designs. Many bottlenecks are the result of improperly designed clusters and managed resources. Having a good management solution can help identify potential bottlenecks before they occur. Virtualization Manager can help by giving you detailed visibility into your storage subsystem, so you can identify bottlenecks and deal with them. Using detailed storage metrics such as latency, throughput, and IOPs, you can see how your storage is performing and exactly what areas need to be addressed. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager can help you stay on top of your storage I/O and proactively alert when problems occur.

5.   Chargeback-Using chargeback in a virtual environment can help you control its growth and track resource consumption. Host resources all have a cost associated with them, and it can be extremely difficult to determine what virtual machines are using what resources. Chargeback allows you to break out individual VM resource usage, so you can see exactly what each VM is costing you in terms of resource usage. Virtualization Manager can help you provide a business perspective to your virtual environment, so you can understand the context of your resource usage. Using Virtualization Manager, you can publish resource usage reports to show what's driving their IT costs. Additionally, you can use chargeback to help fight VM sprawl and ensure all resource usage is truly relevant.

As you can see, virtual environments have their own unique challenges that must be dealt with by using the proper tools. If you're going to invest in virtualization, invest in the proper management tools as well. If virtualization is not managed properly, there's the potential to create problems in your data center that can easily erase all the benefits. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is designed to help you get a handle on your virtual environment by covering the five key areas that can make or break your virtual deployment. If you want to make sure you have a healthy and well-performing virtual environment, then it's time to try SolarWinds Virtualization Manager.

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Published Monday, September 28, 2020 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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