Virtualization sprawl or VM sprawl is defined as a large amount of virtual machines on your network without the proper IT management or control. For example, you may have multiple departments that own servers begin creating virtual machines without proper procedures or control of the release of these virtual machines.

Now, if you let months go by, bottlenecks begin to appear on servers or crashes occur because system resources are low. Now the research begins by an IT department, and they now begin to understand the nightmare that has become their reality.

Let’s take it a step further.

If you do not have control of your virtualization environment, what is to stop a rogue virtual machine from creating havoc in your IT infrastructure. What if some developer created a VM and installed DNS on it or made it a DC (domain controller). Or what if a marketing person had a VM created but didn’t patch it and a virus invaded it?  I can go on and on.

If you have virtual machines on your network, you must have a way of tracking all of them before it compounds into a severe problem. How do you keep non-IT people from creating havoc on your network?

I have heard it time and time again, “I was just creating a quick VM for a demo and then I forgot about it. I am so sorry I made it a domain controller and put DNS on it and replicated AD information.”

Do you have a better definition of VM sprawl? Please share with us your victories and failures when dealing with VM sprawl.