Does Anyone Want to Run Their VM on My Enterprise? Dealing with VM Sprawl. Posted on Oct 10th, 2016 by Ranjith Govindan

Categories: VMware

vm-sprawl-enterprise

Catalogic ECX for cataloging the enterprise (eating our own dog food!).

In addition to in-place copy data management or data protection, ECX also provides search and analytics using a rich meta-data catalog. One of the cool reports in the mix is the VMware VM Sprawl report. I decided to give a try. Hooray!  The right prescription for the sickness – an interactive sprawl report with the right set of filtering capabilities. The report showed that there were several VMs up and running for more than a year and nobody was using them! Several VMs were in a powered-off state and many of them were consuming a lot of storage space. The report was clearly exposing a sprawl problem. We were complaining about an underperforming environment and actually it was underutilized! You can see the kind of data the report returned in the screen shot below (we’ve blocked out the machine names for security).

vm-sprawl-enterprise-data

If that's a little difficult to read, here's a close up of the relevant age data:

vm-age.jpg

If you ever moved homes, you know how fun (;-)) it can be, especially if you were not doing a good job of throwing away stuff or donating it. When you start packing, you may see several boxes untouched in the closet for years. This is the right moment to ask yourself: do I need to carry these again to another place? Those are not easy decisions, especially if there is any sentimental value attached to it. If you are not sure, then you may send them to a storage place as insurance. If you read up to this point, I can bet that you had this experience at least once. Did you make the right decisions?

Cleaning up the vSphere environment is no different. If you need to buy several tools to do the job, you may be out of budget soon. But ECX is your buddy. You do not have to look anywhere else. One tool does it all, and it will help you to reduce your storage costs with its in-place copy data management capabilities and with its data protection capabilities. Isn’t that great? What else do you need?

Okay, I got my prescription and now I need medicine. Why not turn to ECX again?  First thing I noticed in the report was that there were some clear patterns in the VM names. So I decided to do a google-like search in ECX using the Search window. Wow! ECX returned all the VMs I was interested in, so know I knew how many there were and where they were located.

Another cool feature is that I can find historical data in few clicks.  Some of the VMs were created by some of my previous colleagues in the company. So that was an easy call for cleanup. The next set of VM’s, I wasn’t sure. So I sent a nice note to my colleagues and they helped me to identify systems that could be removed. Again another good chunk of VMs left and not sure whether we need it back. This was exactly the same moving experience I was talking earlier – we tend to keep things around even it was left in the closet untouched for years! I decided to move them and reclaim those resources from the expensive storage. Initially, I considered using in-place copy of these VMs to a low-end storage tier and then deleting them from the production LUNs.  On second thought, I might be pushing the problem downstream. Also I do not want to use tapes (sorry, no offense). What else might be a better choice? Cloud!

ECX has a native integration with AWS cloud gateway. Another cool feature from the 2.4 release! I simply created a copy policy with a few clicks and those virtual machines landed in the cloud in few hours! Now I have additional 40TB of storage space and all the running virtual machines have more juice. Now we have an underutilized vCenter. So does anyone want to run their VM on my enterprise?

Ranjith Govindan is a Catalogic Senior Manager, Research and Development

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