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Talk to a server administrator and you'll hear great praise for virtual machines (VMs), which hold dozens of server images on a single machine. Talk to a storage admin who has to protect those images and a different view unfolds.

It costs more to protect VMs than physical servers.

But because VMs are easy to set up, they multiply quickly and are often used for short-lived, small-capacity projects. Afterwards, the VM will likely be forgotten while its storage space still exists.

Bryan Semple, VP of marketing at Onaro (to be acquired by NetApp), says storage teams often allocate large blocks of storage to VM teams, bypassing "classic control and cost oversight models." In addition, VMware uses large LUNS, which may create concerns over the performance array ports can deliver, resulting in underprovisioning.

Onaro has released plug-in module VM Insight to monitor servers and check performance. And VMware's Dunes Virtual Service-Orchestrator helps monitors VMs.

--Rich Friedman

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This was first published in February 2008

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