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VM automation

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

VM automation is the ability for a virtual machine (VM) to perform basic functionality and maintain necessary balances to optimize its performance on its own or with some input from a user. A VM is a computer that is created within a theoretical environment or another physical computer that does not have a specific location. Automating aspects of the VM workflow helps administrators minimize human errors and reduce the amount of time IT professionals need to manage VM infrastructure.

Generally, the concept of automation is beneficial to companies looking to improve efficiency through available tools. Changes made by VM automation tools might include completion of routine tasks, migration or placement. Migration involves balancing data and processing loads by moving them into different clusters or hosts. Inversely, placement is the process of determining where each virtual machine operates and under which available hosts, and potentially changing that location during operation to optimize the use of memory and processing power.

Setting up a VM can improve workflow, especially for programmers or other professionals who need to work between different locations or operating systems quickly and effectively. Tools built specifically for the automation of virtual machines are VMWare vSphere PowerCLI and the VMWare vRealize Suite, which includes Automation, Orchestrator and AppDefense.

VM automation levels

The automation level for a virtual machine can be changed in the settings of software such as vSphere. Levels can be customized within different VMs. The possible levels may include the following:

  • Manual- The system makes recommendations but does not implement them until the user manually makes the changes.
  • Fully automated-The system immediately implements changes.
  • Partially automated-The system makes some changes such as placement, or which host a virtual machine is nested within, but only suggests others, such as migration, or how various VMs are moved around in order to load balance a larger network.
  • Disabled- The system does not suggest or change anything.
This was last updated in January 2019

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