Monday, August 01, 2011

Maximising VM Density

Maximising Virtual Machine Density is one of the few topics that is of interest to both engineers and business managers alike. With recent announcements from VMware, even Procurement and Finance Directors have reason to show an interest in this subject.

Being able to run a very large number of Virtual Machines on a very small number of physical hardware platforms (servers, switches, storage, racks) requires a high degree of technical skill and great operational discipline. Not every IT team has both in the the right measures.

For business managers, VM density may be directly linked to profitability (hosting, cloud, or something-as-a-service providers). For other kinds of company, VM density may be just another marginal competitive advantage among many, rather than an outright ace.

One thing we can be sure of, for companies using our favorite metric (IT Head Count to Free Cash Flow), increasing VM density can be a primary ratchet for achieving operational efficiency. It is the essence of "doing more with less", and can link IT performance to business outcomes.

360is consultants regularly work with our clients to maximise their VM density, either as part of a performance tuning exercise or a new-build data center project. We were recently invited to present on the subject of maximising VM density at the Citrix XenServer UK User Group's regular meeting in Cambridge. We covered:

  • Hardware Selection, down to the component level
  • Hypervisor Configuration (we limited things to XenServer)
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Operational Practices

Delegates from some of the UK's largest companies were present, along with a mixture of hosting service providers, government, and educational establishments. We were pleased to see a few familiar faces from our own client list.

For those of you who could not make the event, you may obtain the slides in PDF form here. If you had not previously registered for the event then you will have to enter your Email address in order to access them.

If you would like to speak to one of our consultants about increasing VM density in your data center, or you would like to register for the next event, then please get in touch.

--- Update 25-07-2011 18:20:21
The application shown on the slides displaying performance and capacity planning information is the Virtual Estate Manager, which is part of VMC's high density virtualisation appliances.

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