Monitoring Can be a Valuable Capacity Planning Tool

The cloud provides numerous examples of new and exciting uses of its powerful and flexible computing resources. There are many advantages afforded to businesses that move some or all of their environment to the cloud. Some organizations are motivated by the potential financial benefits of engaging a cloud provider. Others are attracted to the cloud primarily for its flexibility and potential to address new computing needs quickly.

Moving some of an enterprise’s resources to the cloud immediately leads to a more diverse and complex environment. It’s just the nature of the beast. There are now systems or applications that might exist in a number of different places. This points out one of the problems sometimes encountered when moving to the cloud. It can become a lot more complicated to manage certain aspects of your computing landscape. Two processes that are definitely impacted by rolling out cloud instances are monitoring and capacity planning.

How Monitoring Impacts Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is an essential strategy by which organizations attempt to meet all of their current and future requirements while minimizing wasted resources. In the IT world, it is intended to ensure that your computing environment can handle the workload required to serve your applications and users. How are you supposed to accurately predict changes that might be necessary?

Without adequate capacity planning your company’s business could grind to a halt over something like a great new product which was recently introduced. If the surge in interest overwhelms the capabilities of your systems to meet the prospective customers’ demands, it is likely to be the result of poor capacity planning. Imagine being in the meeting following the crash of your online store due to insufficiencies in the storage employed by your backend database. It’s not a pretty picture.

There is a way to go about capacity planning in a logical manner. Employing this technique will actually lead to identifying the system improvements and additions that can make a real difference in the availability and performance of your systems. The key is to gather the proper data from which to base your decisions regarding areas of your environment that need to be addressed. Gathering the right metrics and knowledge of your systems will enable capacity planning to be addressed from a position of strength.

Monitoring Metrics

There are considered to be four important characteristics to be gathered when monitoring distributed systems. They are:

Latency is the measurement of how long it takes to complete a task. Measuring latency can be instrumental in identifying degradation in system performance caused by a lack of capacity.

Traffic measures how busy your systems and components are by capturing metrics on the demand that users are putting on them. Metrics in this category are critical to understanding acceptable levels of use and for providing enough capacity to meet peak usage requirements.

Errors are important to monitor to shed light on your systems’ health and to see if they are repeatedly failing to perform their function. Critical errors should be generating alerts, but more subtle information can be gleaned from errors that do not cause immediate issues. These may indicate areas where some type of system capacity needs to be addressed.

Saturation is a measure of how much a resource is being used. It is often expressed in percentages. Data concerning the saturation of a system or subsystem can identify its ability to successfully perform its role. High saturation rates indicate that the capacity of the system is being challenged.

Metrics which fall within these categories should be gathered for all of the systems that comprise your IT environment. This includes all on-premises systems as well as those housed in remote offices or living in the cloud. Your network, CPU usage, storage devices, and SQL databases all need to be monitored in order for you to perform knowledgable capacity planning.

Monitoring Tools for Capacity Planning

While cloud providers may be able to address capacity issues in an expeditious manner, it is not their job to decide when you need more resources. That falls on your organization’s capacity planners. For them to do their job, they need to use the proper monitoring tools that enable them to gather and analyze the metrics which inform their decisions.

IDERA’s Uptime Infrastructure Monitor will enable you to fully monitor your computing environment no matter how complex its configuration. It can monitor your complete infrastructure wherever it is located. Easily monitor cloud instances and produce informational historical reports to assist in capacity planning.

There are three big questions to be answered when conducting capacity planning. They are:

  • What is your current capacity?
  • What percentage of that capacity is in use?
  • When will you run out of capacity?

Using the metrics that Uptime Infrastructure Monitor provides allows you to answer these questions and stay a step ahead of an overcapacity induced outage.

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