There has been something that has been bothering me for quite a while, I have looked for discussion on this on the web, asked my peers, professional consultants, but have not yet received a satisfactory reply. Everyone keeps on saying, "Hmm.... that is something we need to think about" or "We haven't yet reached that stage so we haven't given it much thought"
Let me throw it here in the group.
We all know that Virtualization is the next best thing since bread and butter. It is a good technology. It is evolving at a huge rate, and is definitely here to stay.
Part of the virtualization game is to P2V old hardware for a number of reasons...
a. expired hardware warranty
b. no more application support
c. applications tied to specific hardware (NIC's etc.)
OK so we all do this, we convert a physical server to VM, and all is hunky-dory.Old hardware gets retired.
Fast forward 3-6 years. Our ESX hosts have been replaced once twice maybe even 3 times over that period. Faster CPU's, more and faster NIC's, more HBA's, more RAM - the whole 9 yards. And because we managed (thanks to VMware) to do this without minimal if any downtime to the VM's itself, we all got a huge raise!!!
But by now have a hundreds of Windows 2003 Servers, a multiple amount of windows 2000 servers and maybe heaven forbid even some windows NT4 here and there.
If we were to stay with physical servers then the server hardware (and its applications) would have an end-of-life (depending on the hardware I would personally not go for more than 5 years per server - ith hadware maintenance contracts). Now we are virtualizing anything what would be the incentive for an application owner to upgrade their OS and their applications. Before you could say, "We need to retire the server, so a full re-install, migration of the applications and the whole she-bang..." but now the hardware is no longer part of the equation..
I will go even further to say Iifecycle manager is not making it any easier. So you start as Dev. Then staging, then test, then beta. From what I understand about the product, this can all be done based on the original VM. So say the above process takes anything from 6 months to 2 years? then you go production. with a server that has been up and running for 2 years already. If we were talking about physical servers then at least the servers would have been built from scratch before going live. I am not saying that it should not be the same with VM's, but I think that you can all see the problems that might arise here.
So here is the "million $ question".
How would you go about setting a policy for the end-of-life for a VM?
Systems Administrator & Virtualization Architect