One of the most complex tasks in any virtualization project is recognizing the best candidates for P2V migrations and correctly mixing their workloads into the new virtualization hosts. virtualization.info rates the capacity planning as the third biggest challenge in virtualization adoption since 2007.
A very limited amount of competitors offer products in this space: VMware (with its Capacity Planner), Novell (with PlateSpin PowerRecon) and CiRBA (with its Data Center Intelligence).
Available through monthly subscriptions or as part of consulting services, all these tools are not exactly cheap: the immediate result is that the assessment phase significantly impacts on the overall virtualization project budget discouraging several companies from doing a proper capacity planning.
A free of charge alternative surprisingly comes from Microsoft which never advertised the product: Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP).
Originally published in February 2008, Microsoft seems to do everything to hide this critical tool despite its great flexibility:
- Support for Virtual Server 2005 R2, Application Virtualization 4.5 (formerly SoftGrid) and the upcoming Hyper-V 1.0
- Support for domain and workgroup machines agentless discovery (with multiple login account credentials) or import list
- Support for multiple companies or departments
- Support for multiple format reporting
As expected in any capacity planning tool, MAP first has to discover the physical machines available on the network, and then start tracking their performances over a customizable period of time. Once the analysis is completed the user can generate a report revealing which servers are good candidates for virtualization and which workloads can be mixed together.
Unlike other products mentioned above, MAP is not able to coordinate a P2V migration accordingly to the reports or to continuously track the virtual machines performance after the migration to suggest workloads rearrangements, but provides more than enough features to address most capacity planning needs.
Its price makes it a valuable tool to consider for any project.
Download MAP here.