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Today’s VMware environments are plagued by out-of-control growth of virtual machines, increasing costs and wasting valuable resources. Learn how archiving virtual machines can mitigate VM sprawl with a comprehensive approach to vm lifecycle management.


Think back… way back… there was a day in the world of Information Technology in which physical server sprawl was a significant problem in the data center. In this context, the term “sprawl” refers to a situation in which new servers were deployed each and every time a new service or new business workload was needed. Sprawl came about as IT shops adopted a “one to one” mentality with regard to the number of primary workloads to run per server. In order to reduce the potential for two applications to conflict with one another on the same hardware, IT simply deployed two physical servers to support those two workloads. This allowed the applications to each run in their own space without worry that they would negatively impact the operation of other workloads.

However, over time, the constant addition of new servers took a major toll on the data center. Every new server required both rack space and electricity and each new server generated heat that had to be removed from the room. Over time, some of the purposes of these machines was forgotten or the need eliminated, but the systems remained in place out of fear that they were still serving some unknown purpose.

In fact, this situation was what led to the initial push for virtualization. Some of the first major virtualization initiatives were born of CIOs’ frustration with this growing state of affairs or from Sys Admins’ annoyance with deploying new physical servers. With virtualization came freedom from having to deploy a physical server every single time a new need was identified. Organizations could finally begin to reduce the sheer number of physical server present in their data centers, not to mention ever- increasing power and cooling and even new data center space required as rack and floor space were consumed in existing facilities. After all, most physical servers were overbuilt and had overall resource utilization averaging less than 10% on an ongoing basis.

With virtualization, many of the workloads running on these smaller, heat-spewing, electricity guzzling hosts were converted to virtual machines and migrated to fewer hosts. Instead of a lot of resource inefficiency, organizations suddenly had data centers with hosts that were running upwards of 50% utilized and even up to 80% and 90%. With fewer such hosts, data center electricity costs began to subside and air conditioning units across the planet breathed a collective (and cold!) sigh of relief.