Virtualization is gaining popularity every day as a tool to reduce complexity, decrease costs and make a data center "greener." Virtual machines (VMs) are actually software files. During large virtualization and consolidation projects, it is easy to create VMs, but they can quickly proliferate, and keeping track of their usefulness can add complexity back into the management equation as it becomes hard to to know when to retire a VM. VMware for example offers a tool called VMware Lifecycle Manager to take VMware generated (proprietary software) virtual machines out of service when they are no longer useful. VMs created by other virtualization software will require their own software to de-activate their VMs.
Storage virtualization can reduce complexity by providing a single point for measurement and management. However, as layers of virtualization are added, measurement tools have a more difficult time providing accurate performance and capacity measurements, making capacity planning and tuning difficult. In any virtualization effort, normally scarce staff resources have to be made available for a period of time committing to completing what can be a sizeable process.
Action Item: Don’t just fall prey to all the hype. Virtualization is like a drug -it really helps at first but costly side-effects often appear. Users still need an overall information management discipline in the wake of virtualization efforts to keep the IT infrastructure functioning without a hitch.