Guest Free Disk Space Revisited

I wrote about a method for determining guest free disk space using a PowerShell script a couple weeks ago.  Scott Lowe picked up the post on his blog last week.  Since then I have had several other conversations with folks looking the best way to report on inefficiencies in their environments (it’s the economy, stupid) and mitigate those inefficiencies as budgets get tighter.

When it comes to reporting there are a ton of options available.  The solution you choose will be dependent on your environment and the tools you already have in place.  Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMB’s) often do not have full blown, network-wide monitoring and management solutions, so VMware-specific solutions are often a great fit.  There are several examples beyond my simple script, and many are free.  The short list includes: Mightycare Solutions MCS StorageView 1.1, Rich Garsthagen’s VCplus, and Rob de Veij’s RVTools.

There are many other mid-tier solutions – both enterprise-wide and VMware specific – constantly emerging as the virtualization ecosystem matures.  Offerings from ManageIQ, Embotics, Veeam, V-Kernel, Zenoss, Hyperic, and others are increasingly able to provide fresh and relevant data on what is happening under the covers in your virtual environment.

Larger IT shops most likely have a systems monitoring solution easily capable of reporting this – think offerings from the likes of Microsoft, Altiris,  BMC, or CA.  The trick in these solutions is narrowing down the information to your virtualized resources and getting the information to the right teams.  Customized reports using fields such as the BIOS Vendor string can help show only servers running VMware, for example.  As a side note, the Vendor BIOS string can also come in handy when applying Group Policies (GPO), allowing you to filter policies for only virtualized resources (disabling screen savers on Windows guests through GPO is a good example of this).

And don’t forget, we’re not reporting for reporting sake.  We’re after relevant information that allows us to be more efficient and proactive in the overall goals of our environments.  Good reporting identifiies areas in need of improvement, and smart system administrators look for creative ways to improve their systems efficiency.

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