Wednesday, 13 May 2015

360° Capacity Management - an end to end view (7 of 7)

On Monday I described some types of data needed to provide 360° Capacity Management. 

Those included server and mainframe resource data, centralized storage data, and network data – all kept in a historical Capacity Management Information Store (CMIS) that allows for quick retrieval and analysis by the Capacity Manager.  I’ll wrap the series today by mentioning some additional types of data that the capacity manager should have at hand:
Application data is incredibly important – many applications store key information in log files or in some other way so that the Capacity Manager can easily get at this data for yet another view that can help him make reasoned decisions and recommendations. 

Sometimes, application data is processed in a way by a tool that makes the data immediately valuable – an example of this would be the way 
athene© ES/1 takes mainframe application data, establishes severity levels for the data, and makes key recommendations.  Other application data needs to be brought into the CMIS in another fashion – an example of this would be the way Metron’s flagship product, athene®, uses Integrator Capture Packs to bring key application data into the athene© CMIS.

Facility and data center data is important, as well.  One of the key items typically ignored by companies is the amount of power and other resources used by IT hardware.  Over-configuring the data center may sound like a way to ensure adequate capacity and the meeting of SLAs, but such a mindset can come at a huge cost.
I’d be remiss to not include key business metrics in the set of data needed by the Capacity Manager.  Key business data can include the number of business transactions over a particular time interval, the number of web hits to a server, or even the amount of money spent on things like centralized storage resources. 

Key business drivers can help the capacity manager identify periods of peak demand and can help the capacity manager predict resource requirements moving forward.

Finally, we can’t possibly ignore the end-to-end view and the perspective of the end-user.   I remember a Capacity Management challenge I faced years and years ago.  End-users were not receiving the service they were promised and IT was on the hook and most people in IT spent time pointing fingers at other parts of IT.  The endgame was that we went back to an old version of the application and everyone was happy again – we scrapped the new version entirely.

But why did we do that?  In the end, I’m convinced we did that because we had no way of figuring out which piece of the application was taking so long and it was easier to go back to something that just worked.

Having a mechanism to capture end-to-end response times for every production transaction as well as a mechanism to determine how much time is being spent at each hop in those transactions can be a key way to police service level agreements, troubleshoot existing problems, and help negotiate or renegotiate future SLAs.  Being able to store this data historically for the Capacity Manager to use in the future is important, as well.
360° Capacity Management is Metron’s philosophy for Capacity Management in the era of cloud computing, virtualization, and ever-increasing complexity in the data center.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk more about specific solutions or about your organization’s philosophy on Capacity Management.

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

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