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Reduce numer of vm to save resources

Admins at my work who maintain v-sphere cluster set up new virtual machine for every new service or app that they need. They need some app to monitor AD? Ok, so let’s create new w10 machine. You need other app to monitor something else? OK, here you go, new vm.

I want to combine similar services or similar app. into one vm. Just to not create another and another vm. for new cases. Is it a good approach?


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5 Comments

  1. VM sprawl. The issue since always.

    But I’ve spent the last few months in consolation mode for quite a few services.

    There are arguments both ways though, “oh need to patch this server, sorry that takes out 50 services now, instead of just 1, also server needs to be larger to accommodate the 50 services making migration and resource pools a bit more of a problem.

  2. In my experience I try to consolidate as much as I can to a single VM but when it makes sense it’s one service a VM.

    One service a VM makes outages significantly easier since I don’t have to get 25 system owners to agree on an outage window for what could be a trivial change requiring a reboot.

    That being said I have one more VM to patch with this model. We kinda just feel it out and try to group things on VMs where it makes sense.

    Our MSSQL servers are a bit of a pain. Dealing with one of them could take out 10 services.

    VMs and licensing are cheap for us. Your milage may vary.

  3. If you’re going to start down the path of consolidating and building Aquarium VMs, the questions to ask are:
    – Will these apps play well together over time? App-A gets an update, and requires an update to a dependency, does that break App-D, App-E and App-Q?
    – If an App in the aquarium takes down the OS, or simply needs a reboot, what’s the blast radius? Is that acceptable to all the stake holders?
    – Are these apps components of a single workload servicing a single business unit? Or will you have to get 5 different parts of the org to agree on the same maintenance window for a bunch of unrelated apps?

    Sometimes consolidation makes sense, and the 1 widget per VM is overkill. Other times, you’re better off keeping things isolated. If you’re going to do it, start with things that aren’t user facing. Like the dozen or so utility VMs only used by your department for managing and monitoring other stuff. Watch out for apps that actually require a dedicated VM (read the docs, yes all of them.)

  4. Computing resources are cheap compared to the hassle of taking down half of your services. Some consolidation makes sense, but if the only goal is as few of VMs as possible you will eventually hit a snag.

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