From server sprawl to virtual machines sprawl

SearchServerVirtualization published a very good article about the rising problem of virtual machines sprawl:

Hypothetically, a company that had 10 physical servers one year ago might have dropped that number down to eight with virtualization. But today, that company might now have 25 VMs running on those eight servers, Dugan said. The number of physical servers the company needs to manage has dropped by 20%, but the number of operating system instances has increased by 150%!

Engineers and users have gotten used to the ease with which they can deploy a virtual machine. Application users continually ask for their own server. With VMware, engineers can easily accommodate those requests. Savvy users realize how easy it is to get dedicated server space, so, he said, the number of VMs keeps increasing.

At this point, virtualization proponents don’t consider VM sprawl a huge problem. Despite the meteoric rise of virtualization in the data center, VMs still account for a very small percentage of total operating system instances in production today — between 1% and 2%, analysts estimate….

Read the whole article at source.

Virtual machines sprawl already is, in some virtualization early adopters environments, a significant problem. Will grow even further in the near term.

The changes Microsoft is introducing in its license model will remove the biggest obstacle from requesting a virtual machine for the smallest task.
Automation features VMware and Microsoft are introducing will further simplify the deployment, reducing the entity of the requested action.

Doing a parallel with security, superfluous virtual machines will plague host OS performances like superfluous rules plague firewalls performances.
At that point we”ll have same problems recognizing which virtual machine does what, who created it and if it is still necessary.

When times will be mature then VMware and other virtualization vendors will introduces a further step after automation: policy management.