Valovic on Virtualization

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Keeping Virtual Sprawl in Check

If you happen to be a Star Trek fan, you might remember one of the more memorable episodes, “The Trouble with Tribbles”?  And if you do, you won’t have any problem connecting the dots to virtual sprawl. This is a topic of no small interest to a company called Embotics. Editor Keith Ward and I recently spoke about it with David Lynch, VP of marketing for the Ottawa -based company.

Embotics came out of stealth mode last year and its first product, V-Commander, went into GA in December. The product is a lifecycle manager for managing and controlling the process of creating VMs. The company is currently aligned with VMware and Lynch says they will do the same with Microsoft when VMM comes out of the chute.

Sprawl is an interesting problem with analogies to closing the barn door after the horse is five counties away. (What a surprise, management capability is often developed as an afterthought!) But cleaning up the mess is also a business opportunity.  With physical servers you can easily establish the identity of the box. But when you start mass producing VMs – and all it takes is a mouse click – that uncontrolled replication can easily become problematic. Lynch points out that in some companies there are as many as 6 or 7 sometimes trigger happy groups within the IT department creating VMs.

Like Tribbles, VMs can eventually “take over the ship”. The question is: how do you get this embarrassment of riches under control? Among the problems: security (of course), rogue VMs, and of course cost and sheer management complexity.

Finally, a bit of irony. An Embotics white paper points out that cost issues cluster around several different areas. But one that stands out: VMs not being fully utilized. Sound familiar? This is of course is one the problems that server virtualization is supposed to solve, not add to. (More later on the challenges and economics of virtual sprawl.)

Posted by Tom Valovic on 06/19/2008 at 12:49 PM


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