A new chapter from my eBook titled The Definitive Guide to Virtual Platform Management is now available for free download (registration is required).  Chapter #9, "Data Center Automation", focuses on ways in which enterprise management tools can help make the seemingly insurmountable task of managing server sprawl and VM sprawl much easier.  Here’s a brief excerpt from the introduction:

A constant challenge in most IT environments is that of finding enough time and resources to finish all the tasks that need to be completed. IT departments find themselves constantly fighting fires and responding to a seemingly never-ending stream of change requests. Although virtualization technology can provide numerous advantages, there are also associated management-related challenges that must be addressed. When these tasks are performed manually, the added overhead can reduce cost savings and can result in negative effects on performance, availability, reliability, and security.

In previous chapters, I have covered a broad array of best practices related to virtualization management. Organizations have the ability to choose from a range of implementation methods, including physical servers, virtual machines, and clustered systems. The tasks have ranged from deployment and provisioning to monitoring virtual systems once they are in production. All of this raises questions related to the best method of actually implementing these best practices.

The focus of this chapter is on data center automation. Organizations that have deployed virtual machines throughout their environment can benefit from using enterprise software that has been designed to provide automated control. The goal is to implement technology that can provide for a seamless, self-managing, and adaptive infrastructure while minimizing manual effort. It’s a tall order, but certainly one that is achievable by using a combination of best practices and the right tools.

Stay tuned for the next and final chapter of the Guide!