Monday, 29 September 2014

Linux Server – Disk Utilization (12 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

On Friday I said today I would share with you an example of a report on disk utilization of a Linux server. 

The report is illustrated below and the reason I chose to share this report is that it is an instance based report, displaying the top 5 disks and their utilization on this system.

You have the ability to pick out our top 5 or our bottom 5 to display to your audience because we don’t want too much ‘noise’ on our chart.

We want to keep things clear and concise, don’t flood reports with meaningless data and keep it relevant to our audience.

On Wednesday I'll be looking at how you can show correlation on reports, in the meantime don't forget to register for our next free webinar 'How to save big money with capacity management'

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Friday, 26 September 2014

Unix Reports (11 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

As I mentioned on Wednesday today and on Monday we'll look at a couple of example reports which have been created for a Linux box.
Below is a simple utilization report for a Linux box running an application, it is for a day and it shows us that there are a couple of spikes where it has breached our CPU threshold.

Looking at this report we can see that these peaks take place during the middle of the day. Is that normal behavior? Do you know enough about the system or application that you are reporting on to make that judgment? Do we need to perform a root cause analysis? If we believe the peaks to be normal then maybe we need to adjust the threshold settings or if we are unsure then we need to carry out further investigation. Has some extra load been added to the system? Has there been a change? Are there any other anomalies that you need to find out about?

Remember when reporting don’t make your reports over complicated.

Don’t put too much data on to one chart, it will look messy and be hard to understand.

On Monday I'll show you an example of a report on disk utilization of a Linux server.
In the meantime sign up to our Community and get access to white papers, on-demand webinars and more

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Dashboards ( 10 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

Today we’ll look in more detail at dashboards.

Dashboard – Overview Scorecard

In the following example of a dashboard we can immediately see that we have a green, 2 reds and some greys. Based on the green, amber and red status we can immediately see that we have an issue with a couple of these categories, memory and I/O.

Is this enough information? Who is viewing this information and does it tell them enough? If management were looking at this information they would be worried as they can see red in the status. It does scare senior management when they see a red status, mainly due to the fact that they do not have the time or inclination to see what is behind the issue. They would immediately be on the phone to their capacity management team asking why there are issues and it then causes more pressure further down the tree.

It may be that this particular issue is not an immediate problem, maybe one of the thresholds was breached during a certain time period and needs investigation. 

Dashboard – Overview Scorecard Detail

We can drill down and find out some further information on the issue in this case.
In the report below there is still some red showing so it is going to have to be investigated fully and we would need to drill down even further to find out what applications are involved here.

In the further drill down report below we can see that we have some paging activity on Unix that has breached the threshold.

These red, amber and green scorecards have to be based on thresholds.
Where the grey is shown this simply means that there is no threshold data attached to that.
We need to get in to the details to understand what the root cause of the issue is and understand whether the issue is serious or not.

On Friday I'll show you a couple of examples which have been created for a Linux box.
In the meantime why not join our Community for access to on-demand webinars, white papers, factsheets and more...

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Monday, 22 September 2014

Resources and Costs ( 9 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

The report below is a dashboard view of resources and costs.
In the top left hand corner we have a cost by application. This is a breakdown of our applications and how much each of these is actually costing us. In this instance the biggest cost to us is development.

In the top right hand corner is an analysis of how much memory each of our applications is using and again it is development who are consuming the most memory resources.

In the bottom left hand corner we can view the sum of the CPU, this is the usage of the CPU by the application and in this case an in-house application is consuming the most CPU.

In the bottom right hand corner we have the numbers of CPU’s that are being used by applications and again in this example development are using the largest amount.
This is a very clear and concise way of displaying the information to your audience.

On Wednesday we’ll look in more detail at dashboards.
In the meantime registration for our next webinar 'How to save big money with capacity management' is now open

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Friday, 19 September 2014

Management Overview Applications( 8 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

Let’s move on to what we will see at the management level, particularly for applications. This is called an application summary.

The example summary below shows grouping by category, in this instance by location.

We have a call center, a warehouse, datamart and sales and it shows you that horizontal scale progress through use of color. For each arrival workflow that we have coming in it shows you the progress.

As you can see there are some reds being displayed in this report, the comment section clearly describes what these issues are.

This allows you to clearly display to management the issues, what is causing them and enables you to discuss with them what you are doing about it.

In this case, the warehouse needs some new architecture.

On Monday join me as I take a look at presenting reports on resources and costs.

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Why Capacity Management’s still exciting to me…

Why Capacity Management’s still exciting to me…

Every once in a while I run into someone who tells me that Capacity Management isn’t that important anymore – that hardware is cheap and it’s cheaper to buy kit than it is to properly manage an environment.

You know, I almost believe this until I hear the story about the latest performance disaster or the major outage that the company had…and that they “fixed” it by throwing hardware at it.

Capacity Management is so much more than making sure companies aren’t drastically overspending on kit and other resources, such as software licenses and floor space.  It’s about having a firm handle on headroom and knowing that upcoming business demand will be met without merely crossing fingers and saying prayers.

Almost 20 years ago when I got my start in this area, I felt that IT and the business enjoyed not having to deal with each other.   You know, we probably did enjoy that.  But today, that’s just not possible.  

My distaste for process methodology and what I saw as soft skills (and not hard core techie skills) gave way as I grew older and got a better appreciation for the business that IT was supposed to underpin.The ability to present ideas well and communicate well are more important than many obscure technical skills that few people have.

Lately we’ve been working with some companies that have experienced some really healthy growth over the past few years.  Some forward thinking managers in those companies have engaged us to help them implement processes along with athene® and SharePath to help them manage this growth in a sensible way. 

It’s an investment that has paid dividends already as some of the planned purchases have been scrapped as unnecessary and pockets of spare capacity have been reallocated to other areas of the company.

Do you feel your IT services can handle everything the business is planning?  Do you know how much headroom you have with your current IT investment?  How can you get a handle on your IT infrastructure?

Come talk to us.  We’ll be at events in the UK and the US in the next few months.  In the UK we’ll be at Ovum in London on September 23 as well as GSE in Northamptonshire the first week of November.  In the US, we’ll be at the regional CMG in St. Louis on October 7 and at the International CMG in Atlanta the first week of November.

Even after 11 years at Metron I still get incredibly excited talking to people about how we can help companies implement an effective Capacity Management process and use our expertise to make that process quicker and easier.  

Contact me at if you’d like to talk more about your own situation. 

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

Friday, 5 September 2014

What is the Capacity Management Story? ( 2 of 17)

         What is happening in the current environment – this is typically called the baseline. When analyzing data in our systems we want to identify a ‘normal behavior’ period which shows the demands an application is making on resources in usual circumstances.

         Concise information – We need to state the facts and not over complicate matters, presenting clear and concise information.

         Display forecasts – How do we present this story to our audience? In terms of capacity management we could be using forecasting methods such as:


We need to describe to our audience so that they can understand easily the point/ message that we are trying to get across to them. We must also ensure that we are getting the right information to the right people in the right way.

         Gather further information – Do we need to actually gather any additional information or do we have enough information? You may need to supplement resource data with some business data, or perhaps speak to the Service Delivery Managers to get the SLA information.

When we are forecasting it is important to have as much information as possible from the business because we need a full understanding of what we are forecasting to.

On Monday I’ll be talking about what we’re  trying to display.

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant