Everyone has probably heard of the term “vm sprawl”. This is where when giving the means to easily create virtual guests they are not giving any for thought before creation and increasingly get out of hand. This usually starts at the host or physical level were companies buy numerous servers and large storage arrays for their virtual infrastructure.
VM sprawl is a common phase that companies have to go through in most cases to help with the adoption of virtualization. In my experience, we first had to take the existing physical servers and virtualize them as is because many application owners still have that mind set of “I have to have my own dedicated hardware”. They also don’t like the thought of sharing resources within a single operating system with others.
So our next phase and challenge was and still is to get application owners to work in consolidated systems and virtual farms for applications like IIS, Citrix, COM+ and so on. This virtual farms phase would reduce server licensing costs since we’re reducing the vm guest footprint and make the applications more scalable in the process. We have been making head way and I can now see ahead to that next phase that we will go through which is what I call “Virtualization Stall”.
In the virtual stall phase, vm guest creation should slow down because applications can now be placed in an appropriate, existing virtual application farm instead of a single vm guest. VM guest creation should only be done to extend an existing farm or for those one off applications that require a dedicated virtual machine. In this phase physical resources should be more abundant because of the consolidation of vm guests into farmed environments, with most gains seen especially on the storage side. The scale up methodology will be used for growth with todays hardware able to scale up to 8+ cpu cores and 144gig+ memory, scaling out would come to a stall. With this we should also see a reduction in virtual host deployment which would reduce hardware and licensing cost.
With virtual stall as I call it, true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return On Investment (ROI) will be realized in my opinion. This makes me wonder how long can companies make big profits from charging for virtualization.