VM Sprawl definition
VM Sprawl is the uncontrolled growth of virtual machines within an environment. Virtualization technologies have made it easy to create and deploy VMs. That; why sometimes organizations end up with a large number of VMs that are underutilized, not properly managed, or even forgotten.
VM sprawl poses several challenges:
- Resource Waste. Unused VMs consume resources like storage, memory, and CPU cycles that could be used elsewhere.
- Increased costs. The more VMs there are, the higher the costs. These include licensing fees for software and potential hardware expansion needs.
- Management overhead. A high number of VMs requires more oversight.
- Security risks. Forgotten VMs probably won’t receive necessary security updates, which makes them potential vulnerabilities in the network.
- Backup and recovery issues. VM sprawl can lead to challenges in data protection strategies — it’s difficult to back up and recover information from unmanaged virtual machines.
Causes of VM Sprawl:
- Ease of VM creation: With virtualization, creating a new VM is often just a matter of a few clicks.
- Lack of VM lifecycle management: VMs continue to exist long after their useful life has ended.
- No clear ownership: If it’s unclear who is responsible for a VM, it continues to exist without oversight.
Managing VM Sprawl:
- Implement a robust VM lifecycle management policy.
- Regularly audit and review VM utilization and purpose.
- Establish clear ownership and accountability for each VM.
- Use tools and solutions that offer visibility into the virtual environment.
- Educate and train staff on best practices for VM creation, utilization, and decommissioning.