As companies advance and progress with virtualization deployments across the newly formed virtual or dynamic data center, they typically do so across what can be defined as a virtualization maturity model with a goal of delivering applications and resources to users in a reliable, secure, and cost-effective manner.
Early on in the maturity model of virtualization, phase one or cost savings, many companies struggle with a concept that has become known as "VM sprawl." The term "VM sprawl" was coined because once an administrator or user became familiar with creating virtual machines, they quickly started rolling them out one after another due to their ease of deployment. Where a physical machine could take hours or even days to deploy depending on the processes and procedures wrapped around it, a virtual machine typically takes only a matter of minutes to copy before it can be rolled out and spun up for use. With it, virtual machine sprawl ensued.
So while virtual machines were supposed to help with consolidation, ease of management, and cost reduction, VM sprawl created severe problems of its own, negating many of those goals and causing such problems as performance issues, wasted resources, runaway costs, security issues, and more.
The companies that met this challenge head on and kept VM sprawl in check were able to proceed past the first phase of the virtualization maturity model. For some, this was enough. For others, they would need to move beyond the low-hanging fruit in order to achieve more than just the vendor-promised cost savings that came with simple server consolidation. The next phase in the virtualization maturity model would delve into production readiness with mission-critical applications.
However, as companies moved from one phase to the next, they also went from dealing with VM sprawl to a new challenge: VM stall.
Andi Mann, VP of product marketing for virtualization at CA Technologies, has been talking about VM stall for a while now and defines it as essentially where virtualization rollouts seem to slow down or even stop as new challenges force IT to reconsider their virtualization strategy -- typically after 20 to 30 percent of servers have been virtualized. Without a majority of servers virtualized, IT is likely to miss out on key virtualization goals.