Strategic planning for data centres – that’s a simple explanation of data centre capacity management and ultimately a defining tool for operators of critical IT infrastructure.
From the lens of experience, Vivacity Technologies has written about data centre assessments before, but today we look specifically at data centre capacity management. In general, capacity management is the overarching mechanism that includes scaling your data centre, driven from the processes, maintenance, staffing, training programs and tools required to keep your data centre optimized. Capacity management encompasses all stages of planning, design, and execution. It’s not enough to be satisfied with having a well-functioning data centre right now – you have to constantly be preparing for change and any unanticipated IT challenges along the way.
Organizations generally do this in a variety of ways, including load testing, continual maintenance, infrastructure analysis, average annual power usage effectiveness and the use of other service performance metrics. From our perspective, there are important considerations to make in a data centre capacity management plan. Here are a few:
Know when to scale up. If you’re currently utilizing more than 85 percent of your infrastructure’s capacity, the time is now to plan your scale up. As you near the end of your infrastructure and server capabilities, the chances of IT problems arising increase greatly. To avoid any issues, your capacity management plan must include specific criteria for scaling up before the need arises. This can include:
Linking data centre infrastructure purchases to specific capacity hurdles;
Utilizing a hybrid data centre environment with scalable public cloud resources;
Increasing efficiency to encompass sustainability goals; and
Ensuring staff resources and training are in place for growth.
If you wait until you need it, it will be too late! Nothing annoys end users more than experiencing glitches or extended delays, so ensuring you have adequate IT capacity is key to success.
An example: Two municipality IT departments host critical IT infrastructure to manage the Cities operations.
The first IT department has a capacity management plan in place and therefore anticipates more applications and servers being needed over time. This municipality's IT department plans infrastructure purchases and staff training to support the extra workload. The new and scaling data centre infrastructure has a secure environment with adequate redundancy in place. Communication to other City departments is clear with timelines given for any interruptions, maintenance windows and additional applications/software going live. The end result is a happy IT Department, with internal and citizen services maintained efficiently.
The other municipality IT department doesn’t have a capacity management plan in place. They’ve never had a capacity problem before, so they neglect to plan for increased services. Internal departments encounter frustrating delays in deploying new applications/software, while the citizen services are compromised by a lack of infrastructure redundancy. Overall this leads to a poorly run IT department, along with disgruntled staff and citizens.
In this example, having a capacity management plan in place clearly makes all the difference in acquiring new infrastructure and deploying new services, applications and software.
Know when to scale down. When organizations make a transition to the public cloud, having a large unused data centre facility can cost an organization unneeded expenses with capital investments, maintenance, and unutilized floor space. To avoid paying for data centre space you don’t need, it’s important to determine both your current requirements and how you see this scaling down over the next 3-5 years. Having an effective capacity management plan in place ensures your IT capabilities are both manageable, flexible and aligned with future organizational requirements.
Creating and maintaining IT strategic plans can seem daunting. That’s why Vivacity Technologies acts as a trusted partner and supports organizations large and small with their technology and strategy roadmaps. In essence, we can help your organizations make and maintain a data centre capacity management plan that works for your organization. Book a meeting with us today to chat about a data centre assessment or tips for capacity management planning.