Before preventing virtual machine (VM) sprawl or virtualization sprawl, it's important to understand what VM sprawl is and what causes it, so you can solve the issue at its core and make VM management easier.
When multiple virtual machines are created for various functions, over time, the number of virtual machines will eventually exceed the management capacity of the IT admin. The IT admin may lose track of the VMs and their functions.
Not only is it inefficient to spend time on managing unused VMs, it can be disastrous to delete an existing VM without knowing its functions.
The virtual machines end up draining processing power, bandwidth, storage, and electricity—the very resources they were supposed to save in the first place.
The bad news is that these issues are just the tip of the iceberg for the IT admin. VM sprawl can result in:
Let's take a look at some of the most practical tips for preventing VM sprawl and simplifying VM management in your IT environment.
1. Maintain an inventory
Create a common inventory for all the virtual machines and hosts, and update it periodically. This inventory helps you understand the function of every VM in your environment and helps you keep track of the VMs created for multiple purposes by different IT staff.
2. Categorize VMs based on groups or departments
Create groups based on VM functions or classify them by their departments. Whether you're creating a new VM, optimizing the existing virtual environment, or applying new configurations, these groups make VM management easy.
3. Identify idle VMs
Based on bandwidth consumption, audit the VMs and identify idle VMs early before they take up too much disk space and cache memory. After this, you have two choices:
a. Delete the VM along with its junk files if it's no longer needed.
b. Archive the VM if you need it again down the road for a similar function.
4. Identify VMs with under- or over-allocated resources
Since virtual machines are used to provide a top-notch end-user experience, it's crucial to ensure that they have enough resources to do it. To achieve this, you need to constantly monitor virtual machines to identify VMs that have high CPU, memory, and disk utilization.
Similarly, you need to monitor VMs to identify the ones that have over-allocated memory and disk space. You can then modify configurations to ensure your VMs receive sufficient resources, which can help you avoid potential performance issues.
5. Audit VMs periodically
It's a good practice to audit your VMs from time to time to identify anomalies in their performance. Generate reports periodically and analyze important parameters such as CPU usage, memory usage, and disk usage to evaluate their health.
This helps you identify patterns in performance degradation early on for individual VMs and make more informed VM management decisions. This is a holistic approach every IT admin can adopt to prevent VM sprawl.
ManageEngine OpManager is a VM management tool. It supports a variety of virtualization technologies such as Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, Citrix Xenservers, and even Nutanix Clusters. OpManager makes your work simple by:
As an IT admin, you can choose to do all the above manually, or you can simply download OpManager, sit back, and let the tool do the work for you.