Capacity Planning is the Roadmap to Controlled Growth

A constant across virtually all aspects of an organization’s IT environment is that requirements are always changing. Updates, upgrades, and the addition of new users are just a few examples of how computing resources are continually undergoing modification to a greater or lesser degree. Keeping up with the pace of change is one of the challenges and rewards of working in the IT field. Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hopefully, the changes introduced affecting your enterprise are designed to increase efficiency and manage growth. Unfortunately, you may also be faced with assimilating the changes related to scaling down after unforeseen business circumstances. Whether your company is expanding or contracting, there are similarities in the strategy you need to adopt to navigate the new landscape successfully.

In both cases, you need to take stock of your current situation as it relates to the resources your organization needs to function effectively. Determining if your company needs more or less of a particular resource can result in substantial financial savings or capital expenditures. You might be thinking that there must be a technique that can help in this kind of situation. There is. Sounds like it’s time for some capacity planning.

Balancing Related Factors in Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is a process by which an enterprise plans for their IT resource, infrastructure and service needs. This is usually done over a specific period of time and often with definite goals in mind. There are several aspects of capacity planning that need to be correctly balanced for the process to deliver the intended results.

Cost and capacity are inextricably intertwined when seen through the lens of capacity planning. The resources required to satisfy capacity demands must be balanced with the costs that an enterprise is willing to bear. Obtaining too much capacity results in ill-spent corporate funds. Conversely, an emphasis on cost-savings may lead to decisions that do not adequately address a company’s capacity demands.

Supply and demand also need to be considered as a pair of interconnected and competing forces. The aim is to successfully meet your customers’ demands without wasting resources on excess supply capabilities. In environments with fluctuating requirements, finding the right balance between supply and demand can be a full-time job.

Viable capacity planning needs to be done is a structured manner. Waiting until complaints start to roll in regarding response time is not the right way to engage in the practice. You need to employ a methodology that provides you with the correct data with which to make intelligent choices for your business.

Three Big Questions Regarding Capacity Planning

Successful capacity planning relies on answering three basic questions:

  • What are the organization’s capacity requirements?
  • What is the capacity that is currently available?
  • What capacity will we need in the future?

Let’s take a closer look at how to address these questions.

  • Identifying capacity requirements is necessary to determine what your organization’s IT environment needs to provide today to serve its internal and external customers. This may include reviewing service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure that you are meeting customer expectations. Reports generated by monitoring tools can provide insight into potential areas that may need to have their capacity bolstered to meet demands.

  • Analyzing current capacity is the next step in the planning process. This requires taking a look at the complete computing environment to determine what you have and how it is being used. Simply identifying areas that may need additional resources is not sufficient, as it can lead to the unnecessary provision of new assets. You may find that you can shift the focus of your existing resources to address capacity requirements without any additional acquisitions.

  • Planning for future capacity is the trickiest part of the equation. It requires the ability to accurately predict the short and long-term changes in future workloads. It is critical to have historical data at your fingertips with which to make educated estimates based on past and current usage trends.

Finding the Right Answers

IDERA’s Uptime Infrastructure Monitor offers users a versatile tool to be used in capacity planning. It provides deep and accurate monitoring and reporting capabilities to help you find the correct answers to the three big capacity planning questions. Unified capacity planning can be performed across all of your Windows, Linux, virtual, and cloud servers.

Uptime enables you to instantly create graphs that display your current resource usage and lets you use forensic features to virtually travel back in time to investigate the root causes of past capacity issues. With Uptime in your software arsenal, you can address your organization’s changing needs and more efficiently handle its current workload. It’s an indispensable tool for robust capacity planning across your entire IT infrastructure.

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