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The VM Life Cycle

Virtualization can provide many benefits to your organization. From increased efficiency to lower power consumption and reduced administrative overhead, virtual machines just make sense for most organizations. Yet, if you’re not careful about how you manage your virtual machines, you may miss out on all of the potential benefits. One of the areas you need to pay special attention to is the life cycle of the virtual machine.

Here are the stages your average VM is likely to see:

  1. Configuration. The server and applications are configured, usually in a manual fashion, via the VM management console. Image-capture technologies can be used in order to smooth configuration and make sure that uniformity and security concerns are properly handled.
  2. Commissioning. A VM is then given some sort of a specific purpose. It might be testing and development, for example. If that’s the case, the server can sometimes stay here indefinitely without the knowledge of an administrator. Fortunately, there are tools you can use to find such “orphaned” VMs that are no longer in use.
  3. Production. If all goes well, the VM is eventually put into production. This includes things like load balancing, asset configuration, and other ancillary processes. During the production phase, the VM will be concerned with things like access control, licensing, change management, security, patching, and performance.
  4. Redundancy. Some VMs are created as a failover for another VM. Ideally, this redundant VM will be located on separate physical server. It’s important that your rollover tools or your systems management tools account for this redundancy, of course.
  5. Storage. After a VM has been decommissioned, it’s often set aside for sleep storage. This is an excellent solution in a tiered environment, and allows you to make use of those resources.
  6. Retirement. Every virtual machine you put into production should have an expiration date. On that date, the VM should be shut down in the absence of a request from the application owner. Proactively contacting the application owner is, of course, the most effective and efficient route.

Understanding the life cycle of your virtual machines can help you make the most efficient use of your virtualized resources.


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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.