Virtualization sprawl occurs when the number of virtual machines on a network reaches a point where the administrator can no longer manage them effectively.
Although virtual machines (VMs) are easily created, they have the same support, security and compliance issues that physical machines do. Network administrators should know how many virtual machines are running on their network, which physical machines are hosting them, where their storage is located, what software or operating system (OS) licenses are associated with them, why they were originally created and who created them.
To prevent virtualization sprawl, the administrator should define and enforce a process for the deployment of VMs and create a library of standardized VM image files. VMs that are being under-utilized should be archived.
David Marshall and Dan Knezevic discuss the hidden costs of server virtualization.
Anil Desai shares some best practices for managing virtual machines to prevent VM sprawl.
Anne Skamarock shares some tools for avoiding virtual server sprawl.