• Andy Jonak

Back to Basics: VMware Health Check

I want to discuss another area as part of this blog around my Back to Basics concept. The idea of Back to Basics is to review and revisit areas that may seem trivial on the surface but in fact can be critical to efficient IT environments, but are yet often overlooked. This post today is around the care and feeding of VMware environments. x86 Virtualization and VMware have become a mainstay within datacenters today, so much so that conceptually, they can almost be taken for granted since they are so universal. The benefits of utilizing virtualization are pretty much hard to dispute, and why? It just makes sense. We call know and understand that it's generally cheaper and much more efficient than non-virtualized environments. But it only provides those benefits if it's architected and implemented correctly, but just an importantly, it needs to be continually updated and optimized. There's where a VMware Health Check is applicable.

We've had the opportunity to work with many different customers of many different types and sizes, through hundreds of VMware implementations and optimizations. And for many of them we see that they are not reaching the expected level of efficiency that they could in terms of usage and capacity. Why is that? We see it's due to the fact that VMware environments are not periodically evaluated as to their efficiencies around their intended function.

And let me state that this is not pointing fingers here. We see that many environments are architected, sized, and implemented correctly based upon an organizations needs at the time and projected needs at the time of the implementation. But then the value that the VMware environment is expected to provide to the organization changes (unexpected growth, new applications and environments, etc.) and what was implemented initially has now outgrown its original need, ability or efficiency. In addition, we all know that best practices change (or more politically correct: evolve) over time, so what was the correct way to do something before is not the correct way to do it now. And here's the rub: An evaluation to the VMware environment needs to be done, but yet it can be difficult to find the time or resources, much less find the time to update, correct and optimize the environment. So what happens? It just doesn't get done.

What does this all mean? That it's prudent to review the VMware environment via a Health Check periodically. Take an objective evaluation of your environment to determine efficiencies (or lack thereof) and where it's best to update and/or optimize. And a good time do that would be around some impending event: a refresh an environment (servers, storage, network, etc.), a new software version or release, etc., but something that can be a trigger to prompt you to review the VMware environment.

What should be included in a VMware Health Check:

  • A review of the current VMware environment

  • How and where to optimize performance

  • How to maximize resources through efficiencies

  • How to mitigate risk within the environment

  • Comparison of current environment to industry and VMware best practices

  • A roadmap on how to get to the recommended, optimized environment

Many of the organizations that we work with have the time, ability, and resources to do the evaluation Health Check internally. And if you do internally, by all means, just do it and get it done. We've seen that many organizations are looking for outside help due the lack of resources, or they simply want an outside perspective. An objective view of the environment with recommendations and a roadmap as to how get to the newer/better optimized VMware environment.

The latter is why we see organizations reaching out to firms like Vicom to take advantage of a VMware Health Check. Not because they can't do it themselves, but because they do want that outside perspective from an organization like Vicom (or your preferred VMware solution provider), who has performed hundreds of VMware implementations and optimizations. Whomever you choose—or do it yourself internally—it's important to periodically evaluate and optimize your VMware environment. Doing so will make your life easier. Not easy, as nothing is easy in what we do in IT, but certainly easier and more efficient. Easy is nice, but easier, is something we can all live with. What are your thoughts?  Let me know at ajonak@vicomnet.com





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