How to Capacity Plan for the Virtual Environment vs. the Cloud

    October 14, 2015

    By Per Bauer

    Proper capacity planning plays a key role in IT optimization, but your approach to it depends entirely on what type of environment you’re planning for.

    When it comes to cloud-based computing, proper capacity planning is crucial. Today’s cutting-edge, multi-core servers bear large amounts of memory and require careful attention. Further contributing to the chaos is virtualization, the foundational software that powers the cloud and presents its own set of complex systems and changes that need to be carefully maintained.

    Yet, while virtualization and cloud-based computing are related, they are not synonymous, and each environment must be approached differently to achieve the highest level of service optimization maturity.

    Modeling a Virtual Environment

    Virtualization is so important to the world of IT today because it gives cloud administrators the ability to handle more requests with fewer systems. So when you plan a strategy for optimizing a virtual environment, always distribute your resources while keeping the big picture in mind.

    Virtualization server hardware has the power to run multiple operating systems and applications at once, which means it’s large, complex, and expensive. And an inadequate balance of resources on a host leads to waste. Since the whole point of virtualization is resource efficiency, this obviously represents a huge step in the wrong direction.

    According to a 2010 report by IBM, low IT resource utilization is a common problem for traditional data center administrators. For many, average utilization can be as low as 10-20%, which means a majority of the server’s power is going to waste.

    What’s clear is that determining the most effective way to distribute your resources in a virtual environment is key when it comes to server optimization. Perhaps a majority of your business’ systems will be virtualized, or maybe only a few VMs will be running. Either way, effective resource allocation requires in-depth planning that leaves plenty of room for future increases in demand.

    Planning for the Cloud

    While capacity planning for virtualization mainly concerns the proper distribution of resources, capacity planning for the cloud is all about timing. The cloud allows resources to be transported through online channels in accordance with demand, ensuring that specific services are always available when needed.

    Cloud management also helps businesses maintain control over operational spending. But cloud-based services aren’t free  CPUs, disk space, and network activity all come with a price tag, and these costs have a tendency to escalate over time. In planning out future expenditures on the cloud, logic dictates that enterprises should always be looking for ways to save money.

    Knowing when to turn services on and off, when to add more servers, and going through countless what-if scenarios to better estimate the impact of change can make a big difference when it comes to making your cloud-based computing more fiscally efficient.

    Further Optimization: TeamQuest

    Sometimes you need an outside perspective, and turning to a third party can do wonders when it comes to improving capacity management practices. TeamQuest employs transaction-aware cloud management strategies and metrics to maximize IT efficiency and lower overall operational costs.

    When it comes to virtual environments, TeamQuest’s Surveyor provides smart analytics for all levels of data within the IT spectrum. High-level dashboards organize detailed metrics for CPU, IO, network, and memory, which helps increase the visibility for capacity risk across the board. In turn, your entire company will be able to comprehend the structured, highly-digestible presentation of the resulting data, allowing it to have an actual impact on business practices and drive revenue.

    (Main image credit: Pixabay)

    Category: capacity-planning