Firms need to rethink capacity management

Firms need to rethink capacity management

Summary: As more organizations virtualize their infrastructure and move toward on-demand IT provisioning, IT pros will need different approach to monitoring and meeting users' tech needs.

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With more companies virtualizing their IT environments, this makes capacity management even more challenging to achieve. For organizations looking to benefit from the methodology, analysts say they will have to change their mindsets and establish clearer insight into how tech resources are used internally.

Ganesan Periakarruppan, industry analyst for Asia-Pacific ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan, said capacity management is like an art form. This is because the IT professionals responsible for this need to understand present utilization, ongoing trends, and future forecasts so that IT resources are always optimally used in a cost-effective manner, he explained.

The IT department is not helped by the increasing adoption of virtualization, which enables a more flexible, on-demand approach to provision IT resources across the organization, noted Roy Illsley, principal analyst for software and IT solutions at Ovum.

Virtualized infrastructure is different because it is in a constant state of change and workloads are more dynamic, whereas the current approach to workload placement is based on a more static view of IT infrastructure, he pointed out.

Different mindset, approach needed
Illsley also said enterprise use of virtualization technologies will only continue to grow, and workload placement will significantly and directly impact costs, service quality and risk. So, for capacity management to be an asset, organizations will first need to have a different view on the methodology.

"Traditionalists would argue capacity management to be a planning exercise, which worked in the physical era," the Ovum analyst said. "But in the cloud and virtual era, a new approach is needed such as having an economic model of supply and demand, and then buying and selling resources in a manner similar to a marketplace."

For instance, business unity with high priority app workloads will have to pay more out of their IT budgets to have guaranteed service quality and availability during peak periods, he explained, adding such an approach is a better match for the cloud ethos of a demand-led IT service.

Funding, inadequate tools a problem
It will be difficult to implement though, since many organizations are not ready or willing to shift their IT funding from a centralized fixed budget to a variable pricing model, Illsley said.

The IT department must also be skilled and adept in capacity management techniques, as well as have a good understanding of how various business units utilize their apps and the IT resources consumed, said Periakarruppan. They can then allocate or tier storage space packages according to different user groups and their requirements to ensure capacity is not wasted on departments that don't need so much resources, he added.

Knowing how much each business unit uses will be key, and if the company had deployed a converged management tool for its virtualized IT infrastructure, this helps the IT management the ability to oversee all the virtualized apps in use via a single console page, the Frost & Sullivan analyst said.

There are also high-end application performance management tools that are able to provide users the automation, intelligence, and interoperability necessary to manage and control the fast-paced changes associated with running virtual apps, he added.

However, Illsley argued that the market for such management tools is still nascent and evolving. Existing tools are based on proprietary technologies, which have only a rudimentary ability to support cross-platform interoperability, he said.

Topics: Virtualization, Storage

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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