Capacity Management

    ITIL Service Delivery


    Capacity Management is one of five components in the ITIL Service Delivery area. The work is proactive rather than reactive in nature and is responsible for ensuring that business needs and service definitions are fulfilled using a minimum of computing resources.

    Capacity Management activities include:

    • Monitoring, analyzing, tuning, and implementing necessary changes in resource utilization
    • Managing demand for computing resources, which requires an understanding of business priorities
    • Modeling to simulate infrastructure performance and understand future resource needs
    • Application sizing to ensure required service levels can be met
    • Storing capacity management data
    • Producing a capacity plan that documents current utilization and forecasted requirements, as well as support costs for new applications or releases
    • Building the annual infrastructure growth plan with input from other teams


    Immediate and long term benefits include lower costs, more consistent levels of service and improved service quality. Processes allow you to:

    • Get more out of existing IT resources and improve IT cost per service unit positions
    • Fine tune applications and infrastructure components to improve performance, reduce consumption, and delay upgrades
    • Eliminate redundant work and ensure consistent reporting
    • Efficiently provision capacity
    • Provide timely capacity and related cost information for more informed business decisions
    • Provide more complete input to TCO of proposed new and/or major IT-related upgrades or initiatives
    • Project consumption at future growth levels and uncover bottlenecks with sufficient warning to correct before business services are adversely affected

    Capacity management teams have close ties to ITIL Service Level Management and Financial Management areas. Through Capacity Management processes, more thorough service level and associated financial information is available to the business, permitting business leaders to make more informed decisions.


    ITIL Capacity Management offers quick, early wins that have often generated enough cost savings (in the millions of dollars in our experience) to fund the remainder of your ITIL project. Recovering implementation costs early and demonstrating success also helps gain momentum for the project, encourage senior management to stay the course, and alleviate organizational resistance. These benefits make Capacity Management a good candidate for a pilot implementation.

    TeamQuest Surveyor and TeamQuest Analyzer enable you to easily identify underutilized capacity, determine opportunities for consolidation, and then monitor and document improvements while maintaining application performance. In addition to embedding a process that satisfies ITIL requirements, the resulting savings from such an analysis can often fund a considerable percentage of the rest of a company's ITIL program.

    TeamQuest Predictor enables IT departments to proactively partner with business units to simulate the potential impact of a new application, business process or IT requirement change. TeamQuest Predictor results can help gauge IT impact and enable accurate calculation of potential future costs. This information allows for a more informed business decision on whether to move forward with a project, as well as how to budget for the project and provide detail needed for cost justification.

    TeamQuest tools support Capacity Management by:

    • Collecting application and system performance data and archiving it into a Capacity Database (CDB)
    • Providing reporting tools to assess current state of critical business applications
    • Facilitating analytical processes to uncover problematic trends and chronic service interruptions
    • Analyzing performance data to discover application bottlenecks in order to effect more timely tuning efforts
    • Providing simulation tools to predict future needs based upon planned business events

    As with all major projects, proper planning is key. TeamQuest recommends following these steps for implementing ITIL Capacity Management:

    1. Gather the data.

      Identify a capacity manager and form a CM team to spearhead this pilot implementation. The team must perform several duties:
      • Develop a mission, including desired end-state goals, processes and responsibilities.
      • Assess current state. Discover where and to what extent CM work is being performed today and document current reports, distribution lists, policies and procedures.
      • Inventory existing capacity management skills of the IT staff.
      • Inventory tools and software currently used for monitoring, capacity planning, performance management, and chargeback.
      • Collect budget details that pertain to capacity management work.
      • Perform a gap analysis to reveal areas that require process improvements, training, or software.
    2. Build the plan.

      The implementation plan should:
      • Establish the three major components of capacity management - people, processes and tools.
      • Outline the costs necessary to sustain the new organization and build a preliminary budget.
      • Determine where capacity management should be placed in the organization.
      • Describe either a formal, centralized capacity management team OR a matrixed organization.
      • Describe workflow, including data inputs, information outputs, and work processes.
      • Allocate sufficient time for training.
      • Identify any necessary work to acquire, consolidate and/or implement capacity and performance tools.

      Once the implementation plan and budget are complete, they should be submitted for approval.

    3. Execute the plan.

      Your first step in executing the plan is to build the organization. This includes determining the size of the organization and writing job descriptions complete with position names, salary grades, and skill requirements.

      Secondly, you need to document and publish the processes. This typically requires a substantial amount of work. It is important to document the workflow while minimizing any disruption to day-to-day activities. Processes are commonly documented for these areas:

      • Performance management
      • Capacity planning/capacity plan
      • Modeling
      • Performance data collection, storage and reporting
      • New application and major upgrade sizing

      Third, you must acquire and implement the appropriate tools. The tools you use should have these capabilities:

      • Infrastructure utilization data collection and monitoring
      • Flexible, automated reporting
      • Analysis functions
      • Modeling

      Fourth, you must define meaningful metrics in order to measure success. Be sure to tie your metrics to business value, not technical measures. Keep them at a manageable level as management does not have the time nor the desire to sift through many pages of metrics reports.

      Lastly, you must build the training materials and execute the training plan. The better staff members understand the work and the processes, the greater the chances for successes. Develop training materials based upon the processes you documented and test staff members to ensure retention.

    4. Open for business. 

      Initially, you will want to focus on performance management since it takes time to gather sufficient historical data for capacity planning areas.

      To begin, choose a highly visible but less complex piece of work. Attack low-risk problems that have wide visibility and where correction efforts provide significant benefit to the company.

      Gather at least 30 days of historical performance data before developing any trends or models. Work your way from simple, platform-specific capacity planning to end-to-end application transaction and business processes. You will enjoy the benefits of ITIL all along the way.

    5. Post implementation review.

      Document lessons learned and identify any changes that should be made to the process to facilitate future process migrations. Perform a post-implementation audit 6-12 months after completion to determine if the new processes are being adhered to and if you're getting expected results.