Virtual machine (VM) management is in its early days. Creation of VMs from a golden image can be automated, but the requirements of each workload are not easy to discover. Each golden image must be defined using trial and error. The same is true of VMs used during operations. Practitioners using automation technology will understand how to extend virtualization as they gain a better understanding of the patterns that apply to their workloads.
The Benefits of Automating VM Provisioning
In “New Automation, Virtualization Tools Aid VM Provisioning,” Stephen J. Bigelow interviews Dave Sobel, MVP for Virtualization at Microsoft, who discusses automation’s virtualization benefits—it reduces overhead tasks and lets data centers scale to better accommodate customers’ needs, for starters. Further, automation tools help to assess the workload needs that will drive VM assignments. But this is only the beginning. Consistent and proactive management practices, such as ongoing, continuous monitoring, are critical to achieving the desired performance. This includes not only keeping provisioned VMs running, but it also involves identifying which VMs are no longer performing useful work and returning them to the resource pool.
VM provisioning relieves IT staff of many of the minute tasks involved in tweaking workloads. But it still requires experienced knowledge of workload requirements. Monitoring and reporting features should be included in the automated provisioning platform. And VM administrators need to be on the lookout for wasted resources, through the use of both tools and policies.