A common problem across many of today's virtual infrastructures is the waste of resources due to the phenomenon known as VM sprawl.
Virtualization has created tremendous levels of flexibility in today's modern data center. However, because it's so easy to provision new virtual machines, many organizations are experiencing the unintended consequence of that flexibility. VM sprawl is the proliferation of virtual machines, many of which were created for short-term use, then later forgotten and left to become orphaned or zombie virtual machines.
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Almost every VMware environment struggles with VM sprawl to some extent, and as such are wasting precious and costly computing and storage resources that could be repurposed to other virtual machines or applications. But some administrators are reluctant to delete virtual machines out of fear they might be needed again someday -- which sounds a bit like virtual machine hoarding, doesn't it? While this is a known problem across virtualization circles, it's a problem that never seems to get resolved.
Announced just ahead of VMworld, CommVault, a data storage software company, introduced a new virtual machine archiving capability aimed at helping virtualized enterprises and service providers tackle VM sprawl.
While a number of specific tools and management software products currently on the market address this very problem, many of them are simply reporting tools that identify problem areas where an administrator should take action. But CommVault seems to be taking a different approach to solving this issue by integrating it into their existing Simpana software platform.
What's interesting and unique about this is that as a backup and recovery tool, CommVault has visibility into all of the data under management. This allows the software to identify those virtual machine disk files that have been sitting idle, then automatically kick off customizable, policy-driven process to eliminate those stale or orphaned virtual machines causing VM sprawl.
The company claims its VM Archiving feature is an "industry first" in that it aims to rein in the problem through intelligent archiving. As a bonus, VM Archiving is being made available at no additional cost to those customers already using CommVault to protect their VMware environments.