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The trouble with capacity planning in today’s world

by Jonah Kowall  |  October 16, 2012  |  4 Comments

I’ve always been skeptical of those doing capacity planning as the interactions which happen within a typical infrastructure are not only chaotic, but very complex. If you capacity plan within a bubble (network, server, storage, etc) you can look at the discrete component and get a general understanding. If you start to incorporate the private clouds and virtualization we are getting into¬†territory¬†where workloads are moving between infrastructure components without having capacity planning that understands the complex topologies that exist behind each interconnected component. I have been asking capacity planning vendors questions for the last 6 months, and realized no one actually handles these problems, so I teamed up with the capacity management analyst Ian Head (he also covers ITIL and other types of technologies within IT Operations Management) to write about these issues.

You can read more in depth about this topic in our research which was published last night:

Using Virtual Server Optimization Tools Requires Careful Network and Storage Architecting – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2198018

I also wanted to point out one of the newest members of our team who is covering BSM and ECA has published his new note which is a vendor landscape of ECA, this is the first vendor specific research we have covered since discontinuing the ECA magic quadrant in 2011.

Vendor Landscape for IT Event Correlation and Analysis – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2198115

Category: 

Jonah Kowall
Research Vice President
3.5 years with Gartner
20 years IT industry

Jonah Kowall is a research Vice President in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), Unified Monitoring, Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD), Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM), IT Operations Analytics (ITOA), and general application and infrastructure availability and performance monitoring technologies. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on The trouble with capacity planning in today’s world


  1. With regard to event correlation I was wondering had you considered a slightly different perspective on this based on discrete event simulation and replay.

    http://www.jinspired.com/site/jxinsight-simz-1-0

    Unfortunately for many event correlation translates to log collection and analysis losing much of the behavioral context (call flow, activity chain, consumption & causality tracking). Instead of query a database table holding event records why not observe such behavior in near real-time as well as offline fully reconstructed?

  2. […] The trouble with capacity planning in today’s world Posted in: Events, Featured, ITIL, Technology News […]

  3. Adam Schoevers says:

    Jonah, you conclude that Capacity Planning vendors “…don’t handle these problems..”, and then you team up with a Capacity Management analyst to write about “…these issues…”. With respect, it would assist to differentiate Capacity Planning and Capacity Management.

    Capacity Planning:
    Plan for what you need.
    When will demand breach supply?
    Is technology generic (it does not care which SAN/Server/OS/NOS)

    Capacity Management:
    Manage the capacity you have.
    When will it run out.
    Is technology specific (requires deep technical knowledge)

    When the industry stops interchanging these two terms and learns how to perform their functions independently, and then interdependently, then complexity, which always existed in one form or another can also be managed.

    Historically, new products delivering business value – especially in the IT space – often come to market ahead of tools to manage their efficient use.

    Kindest Regards,

    Adam Schoevers – 19Mar2013

    • Jonah Kowall says:

      Not sure I agree with your definitions here. I’ve written about the use of the word management versus monitoring in a similar way. We avoid using words like management unless it actively changes the environment. There are products which have both use cases in the capacity world. Most products today don’t adjust workloads, but instead provide reporting to the operator. I think that will continue to change, especially when using private cloud.



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