Use Descriptive Labels in VirtualCenter

(Update on January 25, 2011 – I’ve actually decided that using the subnet information in my setup is confusing, as we’ve grown to have VLANs with the same subnets on them, and VLANs with multiple subnets on them. I talk about this a little in my post “Labels Should Only List Properties of That Particular Object.” I don’t believe in revisionist blog history, and I admit that my techniques grow over time as I learn and my environment gets more complex, so I won’t delete/revise this post. Just keep it in mind.)


“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names” – Chinese Proverb

Suggestion: Use descriptive labels wherever possible in your VMware VirtualCenter setup. You and your coworkers have enough stuff to keep track of already, make it easy to see what you’re doing with a good label.

An example of this is where my clusters do 802.1q VLAN tagging. When I name the port groups I do so with both the VLAN number and the network number. Like “VLAN150-” Or where I have firewalls or multi-VLAN setups I have “VLAN300-” and “VLAN301-”

Another example is my storage. Instead of letting the local storage keep the default name “storage1” I rename it to be “servername-local” instead. It is instantly clear that the volume isn’t shared, but if that’s what you want to use you know exactly what host it’s on, too.

I also name my VMFS volumes after the cluster, type of disk, array it’s from, and a sequential number. When I see a volume called “prod2-fc-dmx1-1” I know it should be on my second production VMware cluster, it’s fibre channel on the back end, it originates from EMC DMX-3 #1, and it’s volume #1 with all those characteristics (so I can have a “prod-fc-dmx1-2” later).

A volume labeled “test-ata-cx2-3” tells me it’s the test VMware cluster, ATA disk on the back end, CLARiiON #2, and it’s the third volume like that.

I name the volumes with the cluster names because sometimes I want to merge clusters together or split them apart, and it’s just easier to keep track of what should go where. Sometimes we mess up allocations, too, so it is obvious when a host is seeing something it shouldn’t.

Your mileage may vary, but this works well for me.

1 thought on “Use Descriptive Labels in VirtualCenter”

  1. Duncan Where else is the Virtual Machines and Templates view stored? We have ~150 VM asdtnimirator accounts and well in excess of 500 VMs deployed. If I lost the folder structure it would take days to put it all back together and my users would have a fit!The other problem we hit once was when our DB was lost we had to manually readd all the templates (over 250 of them) to the VC. (That was back on VC1.3) We take weekly full backups now and even go so far as to put them on tape and ship them off site. We also hammer our VC with the number of users we have concurrently connected. The CPU utilization is regularly pegged (2 socket dual core box) and we have SQL on an entirely different box just to reduce the load. Will someone at some point beg borrow and plead for us with product management that VC is the single point of failure in my entire deployment and I *NEED* load balancing or at least redundancy.

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