Capacity planning, when done correctly and on time, can bring in a great deal of efficiency for a data center. Capacity planning, at its core, is a simple exercise that can introduce clarity in handling data center operations.
There are three simple steps to capacity planning:
- Decide on Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Data center managers and customers need to work together to help quantify expectations on the output from the systems. Service level agreements are typically defined in terms of throughput, response time, and workload levels. Number of requests expected per given time unit or the amount of time needed to process different categories of requests are good measures. Service levels are also at times defined in terms of future ramp up of business as customers require to keep up to their performance levels even when they are in expansion mode. For this situation, it is helpful to clearly quantify expected business ramp up so that agreements are effective.
- Calculate Current Capacity: Data center managers need to be precise on the current capacity of their systems and if it can meet the needs of the customers. This can be done by measuring CPU, memory, and I/O device utilization. If certain resource utilization is going above optimal levels then they are at risk and need to be looked at. Workload analysis is also done during capacity planning to determine which workloads are utilizing maximum resources. This also helps in finding out which system resources are responsible for majority of the response time.
- Future Planning: This exercise involves analyzing business forecasts for the future and introducing enhancements or new systems that can cater to the forecasts, so as to meet the SLAs determined by the customers. Future requirements could be of various business categories such as new applications, acquisitions, new business growth, and consolidation of IT resources.
The exercise of capacity planning can streamline resource utilization and help data centers achieve their goals more efficiently. It is also recommended to include activities such as global planning, cost-value analysis, and governance into the capacity planning exercise in order to look at the big picture of data center performance.
At Lifeline Data Centers, we know how to implement this effectively. Get in touch with us today for a quote or to start the conversation about your data center needs.