> What comes after virtual server sprawl?

What comes after virtual server sprawl?

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 | 1 Comment

Do you think virtual server sprawl is real? Is it a problem in your environment? This last week I did some thinking in relation to virtual sprawl. Have we remove physical server sprawl and replaced in with virtual server cluster sprawl? Where are the new areas of inefficiencies and how can they be addressed?

Here is the summary of where I got.
  • Many organizations adopt virtualisation to reap large savings is rack space, networking, power and cooling.
  • In addition we are now able to virtualise a lot more workloads than possible in the past. Releases like VMware vSphere allow the move towards 90% virtualised environments.
  • However without continuing along the “virtualisation maturity model” and introducing virtual server life cycle management organizations start to become faced with virtual server sprawl greater than their previous physical server sprawl. It is just too convenient to create a new, or duplicate an existing, machine. Early on the impacts of this sprawl are hidden.
  • Just as data life cycle management has become important to handle the grown in data, virtual machine life cycle management has become important to handle the grown in virtual machines.
  • Yet the for large Enterprise the problem does not end there.
  • In the large Enterprises which have standardized on virtualisation alongside a “virtual first” policy I am seeing that they are required to create islands of virtual clusters, each dedicated for particular workload purposes. An Enterprise will have solo’d clusters of virtual server farms dedicated to different development or testing groups, departments, production areas or security zones. Each of these farms often has different build characteristics for memory and networking capacity and cooling.
  • What is required is for the great benefits that were brought to the servers in terms of abstraction from the hardware to be applied to the physical layers of the virtual server farms.
  • This is why the Enterprise is looking at virtualisation of the remaining physical layers of storage and networking. As an example converged fabrics such as Cisco UCS can virtualise the remaining physical server stack. By abstracting all of the networking and server personalities the remaining server silos are broken down even further driving further savings and standardization.
Food for thought.



  1. Anonymous1:15 am

    This is what comes next:

    "You just bought 10TB of storage 6 months ago, where has it gone? Go talk to all the developers, testers and production engineers and ask them to turn servers off because there's no way they need all these servers. I'm sure you will recover gobs of storage and servers...."

    Yeah, right....


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