It’s playtime! Via the Microsoft Connect site (you can get an invite to join the Connect site from TechNet page What’s New in System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0 SP1 Beta, it below under “Join the Beta”) you can get your hands on the Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0 SP1 Béta. Some new features to highlight are the ability to import virtual machines (VMs that were removed from the self-service portal or VMs that are managed by SCVMM but are not created & available in the self-service portal). There are notifications available now for events using SQL mail so you can keep an eye on what is happening. Virtual Machine Templates can now be added to infrastructures (fast, no need for the entire request/provision process). You also get the option to move infrastructure between business units while in maintenance mode and even delete business units when they don’t own infrastructure. But the one I like best is the fact that we can expire virtual machines.
No, the last one doesn’t mean I want to be the bastard operator from hell that hates everyone and is so out of touch with the reality of “enabled” or “empowered” users or customers that he wants to seek & destroy them all. But when you’ve been in infrastructure for a while you’ve probably come across situations where the orphaned, abandoned, forgotten, virtual & yes even physical servers are working very hard on becoming a majority instead of an exception. This puts an enormous burden on the infrastructure, workload and it drives up costs very fast while it’s isn’t providing any ROI or other benefits to the business. Unless you’re getting paid to maintain infrastructure by the VM (congrats!) and you just smile when you find 50% superfluous guests as this means the sound of your cash register ringing in your ears.
The thing is “Horror Vacui” comes into play and the inevitable desire of the universe for maximum entropy. So any environment will need some managing and it will be a welcome tool to help automate that management & enforce some decisions. You can even delegate this all via roles, so people can be empowered to set or change expiration dates. That way you can try to go for self-regulation. This can work.