Wednesday, 29 June 2016

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

As I mentioned on Monday today and on Friday 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 Friday 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

Monday, 27 June 2016

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

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 Wednesday I'll be taking a closer look at Unix reports. In the meantime why not take a few minutes and complete our online Capacity Management Maturity Survey to find out where you fall on the Maturity Scale and receive a 20 page report for free.
Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Friday, 24 June 2016

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 Monday we’ll look in more detail at dashboards.
Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

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.
Application Summary

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 Friday I'll be discussing resources and costs, in the meantime sign up to our Community and get access to our resources - white papers, Techtips and on-demand webinars.

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Monday, 20 June 2016

Display of different presentation types (7 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

As discussed today I'll be looking at the types of presentations that you can use.

Below is a selection of them:

Humans like visual representation so using these charts in the right way and gauging which are right to represent the information to your audience is crucial.

Dashboard More aligned to presenting real time information. The key thing to remember is that any dashboard you use should auto update.

Analysis Presents the drill down of a problem. This is the root cause analysis, where we know there is a problem and we want to drill down and show what is causing the issue. Where’s the bottleneck? Was there a change?

Advice - Provide some automatic advice, automatic interpretation of the data that you are reporting on.

Virtualization - Report on virtualization data, make it easy to understand what  is happening in your virtual environment.

Business We have discussed about bringing in business data to the CMIS. Why do we want to do that? We can look for correlations by measuring component data against business metrics and show these in our business reports.

Trending We can show ‘what-if’ trending which can give you a ‘time to live’ value.

Modeling - More accurate prediction reports to show are modeling reports. You can show things like future system response times or identify where any future bottlenecks are likely to occur.

Breakdown Shows further analysis on the data in an easy to understand way.

Don't forget the key is to always remember to tailor your presentations to suit your audience.

On Wednesday I'll be dealing with what we will see at the management level. 

There's a great webinar coming soon 'Capacity Planning & Forecasting using analytical modeling', don't miss it!

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Friday, 17 June 2016

Types of Data required (6 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

Today we'll be looking at the types of data required.
Technical data – in ITIL terms our data should be coming from business, service and resource levels. This data is then fed in to our CMIS and allows us to see what is happening in two ways: 

        Current – how everything is performing now

        History – the more historical data we have on our systems and applications the more accurate our trending and modeling will be.

Business metrics – what is happening in the business will dictate the resources needed to support it. 

        Current – what is happening now in the business

        Forecast – what is planned for the future, in terms of growth, new services, increased user numbers etc

Key Performance Indicators – we need some idea of how we can measure our performance going forward.

Threshold levels – we need to know what thresholds we are going to be planning towards to enable us to put them on reports and see when/if they are going to be breached.

Capacity Management

 The diagram below shows 360°Capacity Management. A combination of our capacity management software athene® and SharePath allows you to bring resource, application, application transaction response times, service, business data and KPI’s to your CMIS. This allows you to build the most accurate picture of your environment as you can.

For more details of athene® and SharePath visit our website.  

On Monday I'll be running through a selection of the types of presentations that you can use. 
Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Different presentation mediums ( 5 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

There are a variety of different presentation methods that we can use:

Dashboards / Web portals – these typically show red, amber and green status as they are very quick to assimilate.

         More suited for technical staff and business users

         Different look for each area
Word Documents

         More suited for “C” level executives

         Upfront summary is critical

         Historical document

PowerPoint documents

         Used for different types of presentations

         Good for discussion groups

Choose your style to suit your audience and to suit the type of data that you are displaying.

On Friday we'll take a look at the types of data that you’ll be displaying.
In the meantime don’t forget to our register for our webinar ‘Windows Capacity Management 101'

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Monday, 13 June 2016

Different stories for different audiences ( 4 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

When we say different audiences what we are talking about is the different layers of your Organization, the people who are involved in the process. We’ll start with the ‘C level executives’.

“C” level executives

At the very top we have the “C” level executives. When we are telling the story to our “C” level executives these are the key points that we need to make sure we follow when presenting our information:

         Keep the information concise – we have to make sure that they understand very quickly what we are trying to say to them.

         Elevator talk – keep your information as brief and to the point as possible, they don’t have the time or inclination to wade through pages of reports.

         Summary and findings first – make sure at the top there is always something called the management or executive summary, where it clearly states the relevant points of our findings. They just need the facts.

         Findings – Do we need more resources? When are we going to hit our limit? What hardware do we require? How much money do we need and when do we need the money? Make sure that the requests are clear and concise.

         Leave detail reports in pocket – The detail which provides the basis of our findings is important as it backs up our management or executive summary. They need to be included but are unlikely to be read at this level.

Business owners

At the Business level, you will need to focus in on a specific area and the business owner will want to know:

         What are the trends for their area?
         How does it affect their area?
         What do they need to budget for?

The information provided to the business owner will be only that which is pertinent to their department.


At the technical level you will need to provide all the information that went in to the pocket of the management or executive summary.

         Show me the details – they will want to see the full reports, graphs, data and drill downs. At this level the figures mean something.

         Show me the trends – they will want to see the trend reports and the what if scenarios.

Be prepared when imparting good or bad news at any level – anticipate your audience reaction and be ready for it.

On Wednesday I’ll be looking at the different presentation mediums that we have at our disposal.
Check out our on-demand webinars and watch at your leisure

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Friday, 10 June 2016

What are we attempting to display? ( 3 of 17) Capacity Management, Telling the Story

When we’re telling our capacity management story what are we trying to display?

         Display current state of the environment – this is our baseline, a period or periods which reflect our normal pattern of behavior. You need an understanding of the business to class a period as ‘normal’ behavior.

         Display possible anomalies – this involves looking at periods and determining whether the peaks in a set period of time are an anomaly or whether they are just normal user busy periods of the day, explaining peaks in the data. Has there been some kind of change made that you are aware of? You may need to perform some root cause analysis to get to the bottom of peaks where you don’t already have an understanding of what is causing them.

         Display forecasts

•     Trends – are very useful. You can trend to a limit, you can trend to a threshold etc but if you wish to get a better degree of accuracy to your forecasting you may wish to model.

         Models – analytical modeling can provide you with a better degree of accuracy when  forecasting, especially when it comes to things like utilizations where you have to take in to consideration the utilization curve.

Are there different stories for different audiences? I’ll be dealing with this on Monday.

In the meantime register for our community and get access to free capacity management white papers, on-demand capacity management webinars and more

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

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

So what is the Capacity Management Story?

        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 behaviour’ 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 Friday I’ll be talking about what we’re  trying to display.

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Monday, 6 June 2016

Capacity Management,Telling the Story (1 of 17)

In Capacity Management we need to produce reports and make presentations, sometimes to our technical colleagues and sometimes to more senior people. 

In this blog series I’m going to be discussing the best ways to present technical information, your capacity management story, to all levels of audience.

To begin with what is a Story?
It is either:

a : an account of incidents or events, either fact or fictional

b : a statement regarding the facts pertinent to a situation in question

Data is nothing more than 1’S and 0’s. It’s what we do with it that makes it powerful.

We can collect or capture as much data as we want to from our systems, from our business level, from our service delivery level and store it but it’s what we do with this data that is the important thing.

Data used in a meaningful way is very powerful.

My series will look at ways in which you can tell your capacity management story to your audience in a meaningful way.

On Wednesday I'll begin with 'What is the Capacity Management story'?
In the meantime sign up and come along to one of our Capacity Management workshops.

Charles Johnson
Principal Consultant

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Capacity Management - What are we trying to tell the business?

Interacting with customers sometimes throws up a question we’re sure we should know the answer to, but ends up being not as simple to answer as we’d expected.  One of those questions that really makes us sit down and ponder how to answer it.
So here’s my question:  As a Capacity Manager, what am I trying to tell the business?

Am I trying to tell them about Utilizations? Headroom? Risk? Costs? Customer Service?

There are so many things I could be telling the business it’s hard to say “This is what I’m providing to the business”.

It struck me that if I can’t provide the answer then maybe I’m trying to answer the wrong question.  Rather than dictate to the business what I can tell them doesn’t it make more sense to be asking them, “What is it that you want to know?”

As part of maturing their Capacity Management processes one of our clients is doing just that. They are successfully engaging with all manner of business units within their organization, showing them the sorts of things they can do and then asking the question.  “What information do you want to have? What is actually going to be helpful/useful to you?”  That might be a single metric on the intranet capacity report, or something with a lot more detail.

There are probably 3 main factors that have come into play in this successful initiative.

1.     The implementation of a Capacity Management tool, athene®, that gives them the ability to easily import and report on the metrics the business units are interested in.  Be that Searches, Transaction Response times, Transaction counts – in fact any time date stamped metrics that they want.  Whatever that part of the business considers to be the most important metric(s) to them.

2.     Integration with a real user monitoring APM tool.  Being able to see exactly what the customers (internal and external), are doing and experiencing.

3.     Having a member of staff on the capacity team who has a business background and the social skills to match.  Someone who can engage with the right people, who knows what they are currently doing to get their stats and who can learn how to integrate them with the platform statistics (CPU, Memory etc).

Bringing these factors together has resulted in heightening the profile of the Capacity Management Team and showing their real value to the business. Business units are now approaching them and asking for data to be included because they want the same advantages they see other departments getting from the data.

So what are we trying to tell the business?  I’m here, and I’ve got some really great stuff I can do to help you.  What is it you want to know?
Don't miss out on our Capacity Management 101 online workshop taking place in June.
Phil Bell