6. Thin Provisioning
Thin provisioning on the storage (SAN) side is a good idea. It results in better storage utilization and moves storage processing to the SAN and away from the virtual infrastructure. And, although virtualization vendors claim that thin provisioning on virtual infrastructure doesn’t decrease performance, storage experts will tell you that storage infrastructure handles it more efficiently.
7. Separate Service Levels
This optimization seems obvious, but it isn’t. Separate your virtual machine service levels into test, development and production. Administrators should separate the various service levels logically and physically so that each environment remains isolated from the others. Test systems and development systems can have a significant negative impact on production systems. Some administrators go so far as to separate all aspects of their environments: Storage, Network and Enclosures.
8. VM Names
This one may surprise you most, but by using better names for VMs, efficiency when working with those VMs increases. For example, if your VMs have names like VMDTTW01, VMDTDW01, and VMDTTV01, you can see how administrators can make mistakes in administering, patching, rebooting and repairing those systems. Confusing or similar names make support more difficult. It also makes discussion of those systems more difficult.
Virtual machine templates allow administrators to deploy VMs rapidly. Rapid deployment increases efficiency. And an added bonus to using templates is that templates easily convert to VMs for updated patching, installation of new software, and password changes. New VMs created from templates can stay current with your changing environment.
10. Host Profiles
More applicable to VMware than to any other virtualization solution is the concept of host profiles. Host profiles allow administrators to setup host systems with greater efficiency and consistency. Using a host profile, an administrator can setup a new host in seconds with all required VLAN and storage configurations or remediate one without stepping through a wizard.
Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which is scheduled for publication in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.