Dude, Where’s My VM? I have no Idea. :(

Recently got an email from a friend who had (not by his doing) stepped into an environment where Virtual Machines had literally sprung up across various WorkStation installations.  The environment I am sure was meant for development but somehow had to morphed into something people came to rely on. 

Subject: My VM is Lost 🙁

Can you help me find it? I have a running VM on VMware Workstation 6.5 somewhere out there on a particular subnet. It is responding to pings and I can get to c$, but RDP is not responding so I want to bounce the machine. Looking for the machine has made me realize that no one ever documented where it is hosted! Is there an easy way to find this guy that you know of? I’ve been searching through my VM Workstation (don’t ask) hosts, but can’t find the dude yet.

SNAGHTML60d9442I actually could not think of a way to help locate this machine given the above criteria short of heading into the switches and looking for MAC addresses and switch ports.  Something entirely out of my wheelhouse.  What my friend SMAlan* did remind me of, was the need for Virtual Machine management and processes.  Super easy to create VMs and even easier to lose track of them.  Even easier to forget about virus protection and backups and other protective measures we’ve spent years developing for our physical servers.

As far as the VMware Workstation Hosts,  in environments like this, dedicated hypervisors should be seriously considered.  From a cost perspective, ESXi, XenServer and even Hyper-V should be phased in.  If the hardware requirements are too much or funding is too little, even the hosted VMware Server would have been a better choice than VMware Workstation and cheaper since Workstation is not a free product.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Winking smile