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How to find and reclaim storage from virtual machines

Thavamaniraja ‎02-09-2016 02:49 PM - edited ‎02-10-2016 09:53 AM

In server virtualization, effectively utilizing the storage is key in order to reduce the OPEX and CAPEX. In a virtualized environment, storage is lost in lots of places. Identifying the storage lost in a large environment is complex. For instance, storage consumed by the powered off virtual machines is a significant contributor of lost storage space.

For effective utilization of storage in a virtualized environment, you should identify the virtual machines that are no longer being used (powered off VMs), decide on the VMs that can be deleted as per the data center policy (i.e., VMs that are powered off for more than 60 days) and delete them as required to reclaim the storage.

It is time consuming task to identify all the powered off virtual machines across the virtual environment. Particularly identifying powered off virtual machines that satisfies data center policy also adds to the complexity.

HPE Storage Operations Manager is here

HPE Storage Operations Manager (SOM) is loaded with Virtual Server Analytics dashboards and makes it easy to identify the powered off VMs based on your policy and its reclaimable storage for your environment. By default, the dashboard shows all the virtual machine that are being powered off for more than 3 days and an option provided to configure this duration based on your policy need.

Let’s understand few terms shown in the dashboard.

Size (GiB) shown in the dashboard would be the actual reclaimable storage for the Virtual Servers.

Last Powered-Off is the time when the VM was last powered off.

Let’s look at the dashboard

In SOM, click on Analytics for Virtual Servers dashboard from Analytics and Dashboards workspace. “Top 10 Virtual Servers by Powered-Off VM Size (GiB)” (Figure 1) graph chart shows the Top 10 Virtual Servers with the powered off VMs count and its reclaimable storage. The information shown here is handy when you are looking for Top 10 Virtual servers by reclaimable storage at the environment level.

Figure 1 – Top 10 Virtual Servers by powered-off VM size

Clicking on the Virtual Server in the bar graph displays the Host dashboard. Powered-Off VM by Size graph chart (Figure 2) in the host dashboard would show you the list of powered off virtual machines for the selected virtual server with its reclaimable storage and the time when VM was last powered off.

Figure 2 – Powered-off VM by size

Well, now that you have Top 10 virtual servers with the reclaimable storage you may be interested in identifying all the virtual servers in your environment having reclaimable storage.

SOM also offers a table All Virtual Servers by Powered-Off VM Size (GiB) to show all the virtual servers having powered-off VMs (Figure 3).

Figure 3 – All virtual servers by powered-off VM size

Double click on a Virtual Server to launch Host properties view. Powered-Off VM by Size tab (Figure 4) in Analysis pane of Host properties view would list all the powered off virtual machine for the selected virtual server with its reclaimable storage and the time when VM was last powered off.

Figure 4 - Powered-Off VM by Size

Now you have the details of unused VMs in your datacenter, with the confirmation of server admin, you are good to delete these VMs and use the reclaimed storage to create additional VMs on the ESX server. Additionally, you can return the reclaimed storage to the Storage Pool on the storage system using Vsphere VAAI UNMAP or any similar procedure.

On a closing note, these 2 analytics views offered by SOM will ease your life by presenting a list of powered off virtual machines based on the data center policy with the exact amount of reclaimable storage handy.

Storage Operations Manager (SOM) is a storage resource management solution that helps you reduce total costs of storage operations and increase productivity. Start your free trial today.

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About the Author


Sr. Software Engineer with HP Software, part of Storage Resource Management group with nearly 10 years of experience.

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