I was recently interviewed by Charles Babcock from Information Week for his article, Virtual Machine Sprawl Will Challenge IT Management Skills. The interview was based on the content of a a White Paper I wrote for Embotics, Inc., a provider of virtualization management solution. The paper is titled Controlling VM Sprawl: Best Practices for Maintaining Control of Virtualized Infrastructures, and is available for free download (registration required). I’ll post more about the White Paper in an other blog entry. From the Information Week article:
Many IT managers don’t know how many virtual machines they’re running and whether they’re secure, says virtualization expert Anil Desai.
Software developers like to use virtual machines because they can cheaply mimic a target environment.
Testers like virtual machines because they can test more combinations of new software with parts of the infrastructure in virtual machines.
Department heads like virtual appliances — applications teamed up with an operating system in virtual machine-ready file format — because they can be downloaded off the Internet, tried out, and pressed into service immediately, without the usual delays.
And each of these examples illustrates how virtualizing the enterprise leads to uncontrolled, virtual machine sprawl, with IT managers not knowing how many virtual machines they’re running, where they’re running, whether they’re offline and stored away, or whether they are secure.
The article raises awareness of the problem of "VM sprawl" – the rapid proliferation of virtual machines, often with little or no IT oversight. The article and the White Paper provide some best practices for gaining (or regaining) control of virtual machines through policies and processes. Feel free to leave comments about your own VM management horror stories (and, better yet, solutions)!