One of the dirty little secrets about IT infrastructure inside or out of the cloud is that an enormous amount of it gets wasted. IT organizations regularly spin up virtual machines that inevitably become dormant. Rather than reclaim that space, however, more often than not those virtual machines are simply forgotten about.

Within a data center that waste of IT infrastructure space is annoying. But on a public cloud the cost of all those dormant clouds starts to add up. To give IT organizations more visibility into those dormant virtual machines iLand, a provider of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering based on VMware (VMW), has updated its Enterprise Cloud Services (ECS) portal to expose a raft of big data analytics that help customers optimize usage of the iLand cloud.

Running on top of an implementation of the open source Cassandra database, Lilac Schoenbeck, vice president of product management and marketing for iLand, said that idea is to not only enable customers to spend less on dormant virtual machines that they pay for on a monthly basis, but also free up iLand infrastructure for customers that might actually want to use it.

Schoenbeck said having this big data analytics capability is critical because the size of the IT project engagements is starting to increase. Where once a small IT team wanted to deploy 10 to 20 virtual machines Schoenbeck said it's now a lot more common to see much larger IT team looking to deploy anywhere from 50 to 200 virtual machines. A big reason for that, said Schoenbeck, is that internal IT organizations are finally getting their arms around shadow IT deployments that are typically characterized by smaller virtual machine deployments.

At present, iLand is sharing its big data analytics capability via a user portal. Schoenbeck said iLand is also giving some thought to exposing that data via a REST application programming interface (API) as well.

Truth be told most internal IT organizations have developed a lot of bad habits over the years. Virtual machines are spun up haphazardly and no one really keeps track of how or where they are actually been deployed. In the age of the cloud lack of discipline can create a major financial headache when the monthly bill is presented. Given the fact that asking customers to change the way they operate is tantamount to fighting against human nature, Schoenbeck says the better part of valor is to simply present IT administrators with access to the analytics themselves. How they choose to then act on that information after that is, of course, strictly up to them.