As an IT systems management vendor, we get fired up about new technologies including the latest buzz around virtualized capacity, automation and cloud. We respond by building slick tools, dashboards and reports to help solve capacity problems. I believe that’s what (we) systems management providers are supposed to be doing, helping you solve problems. <shamelessplug> Reducing the complexity of capacity planning and management is something we do really well around here at uptime software! </shamelessplug>
But what about the capacity planning function itself? Does it not need to evolve along with these new deployment technologies? Do current capacity planning functions contribute value to the business by helping them scale to meet demand?
Virtualization, automation and cloud technologies give IT execs more options than ever before in how services will be delivered to the business, but do their current capacity planning processes reflect this same evolution in technologies? For most the answer is still likely “no”. Most IT organizations still seem to perform capacity planning at the individual component level (server, network, SANs) which does not represent the true capacity requirements of their global facilities and infrastructure resources. The good news here is that you CAN evolve and turn this situation around.
Planning and managing IT capacity at a macro level is critical to delivering cost-efficient and reliable business services in a time frame the business expects. The good news is that today’s virtualization and automation technologies allow flexibility and new cost alternatives so IT execs can choose from a myriad of platforms to run applications and services on. The bad news is that these new virtual and cloud based resources are certainly not free and without new capacity planning processes, the benefits of easy procurement and instant provisioning can quickly turn into over-allocation and cost overrun nightmares.
- So the message is clear: IT executives need new and more effective capacity planning processes in order to really take advantage of new technologies by optimizing the placement of applications according to criteria such as service level and cost. In addition, capacity planning software and tools can help teams be more effective.
One tactic you might consider as a start is to elevate your capacity planning team. Get it out of the “back room” of IT operations and make it a strategic function. Yes, remove it completely from IT operations and centralize it as a corporate IT function that reports directly to the CIO. This will send an important message to your organization and capacity management will begin to evolve and operate decentralized from technology support groups, such as network, server and storage.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day….