My previous three blogs in this series have defined two forms of capacity management: operational and strategic.
Unfortunately two quite different activities, with different techniques and objectives, often get confused and thought of as the same thing. One name, two activities - it can be confusing.
Effective capacity management for an organization means one needs to understand both activities and ensure all bases are covered.
Operational capacity management sits much happier as a silo-based activity. System managers need specialist tools tuned to each environment they manage. Performance data captured for each platform can tell them what capacity issues are hitting or about to hit the system, so they can address the problem and ensure good performance. This relies on the same data as strategic capacity management, but often needs to be looked at in more detail. It’s all about the ‘here and now’, ensuring that today’s users are getting the quality of service they require.
Strategic capacity management addresses different but equally valid needs. Cost savings tend to be less numerous but of higher value. As a strategic activity it is better run as a central infrastructure function, cutting across silos. Following ITIL good practice guidelines, it suits a broader service view, with closer ties to business issues such as new service rollout, services and applications that span across multiple silos and step change such as merger and acquisition. Its concern is less about whether a given VM will need more resource tomorrow, more about if the current investment in Cloud capacity will meet business needs over the next six months. It uses the same data as operational capacity management, but with less focus on day to day variations, more on longer term trends. Its concern is ensuring that as the business evolves, users will get the quality of service they require next week, month or year.
Unsurprisingly, organizations, particularly those implementing newer silos, tend to go for operational capacity management first. In an earlier blog in this series, I likened the need for capacity management to having a stone in your show. If you can already feel the stone in your shoe, you need it removed straight away. As operational capacity management gets addressed first, this often this leads to strategic capacity management being encouraged to use operational capacity management tools to meet their needs. They are already there and collecting the same data, so why not?
The reason is that this never works, as no point solutions offer the broader view that is necessary to strategic capacity management teams.
Both approaches can feed off the same data, but different approaches, skills and tools are needed to address their respective questions.
Not reassessing what your objectives for all capacity management are and what tools will deliver the answers you need means that strategic capacity management often fails to be properly addressed. This can be painful, as all the stones get into your shoe and have to be removed.
Fighting each problem like this costs your business time and money.
Understanding the need and getting the right tools in place for the right job ensures short and long term planning needs are catered for and user satisfaction enhanced over time.
The best approach is to understand what you want to do, and then get the right tools to do the job.
Our ‘Data correlation for capacity management’ webinar takes place on July 22, don't forget to register.http://www.metron-athene.com/services/webinars/index.html
Andrew SmithChief Executive Officer