Frequently when I speak to clients about how they designed their VMware environments; there isn’t much of a response. Basically, they explain it was simple to install and it makes sense; I mean that has always been the draw to VMware, how easy and quickly it is to deploy virtual machines. While this is great for testing and getting familiar with VMware’s features if it isn’t planned correctly it can cause a lot of headache in the future i.e. server sprawl, performance issues, resource allocation, etc.
But don’t fear there is a pretty good tool out there that VMware offers, VMware Capacity Planner, that is designed specifically to resolve these problems. There is a heterogeneous agent less tool that discovers and takes inventory of your IT assets; it measures system workloads and capacity utilization. The core analytical engine uses advanced algorithms that solve capacity optimization problems while providing trends, benchmarks, and whole lot of other analysis.
Overall it is a useful tool and it is pretty simple to install and setup. Also they have the ability to benchmark your results against a wide variety of other customer data providing a good reference point. Also, the have the ability to use scenario modeling, trending, and “what-if” analysis so there is some solid framework behind their recommendations.
There is some time involved, and you will want to make sure you allow for decent amount of time to gather all of the information. While VMware offers this service, it can be provided from a wide of variety of partners, so there are some options. One thing to note, is that this process tends to be one sided and VMware focused. It is often helpful to look at this from that perspective and take your whole architecture into consideration (storage, networking, management, etc.) when making your final decisions.