How to develop an effective capacity planning process

This article is excerpted from IT Systems Management with permission of publisher Prentice Hall Professional, copyright 2010 all rights reserved.

Trying to get a handle on matching technology infrastructure with demand? Here are the nine major steps associated with implementing a sound capacity planning process.

  • 1. Select an appropriate capacity planning process owner.
  • 2. Identify the key resources to be measured.
  • 3. Measure the utilizations or performance of the resources.
  • 4. Compare utilizations to maximum capacities.
  • 5. Collect workload forecasts from developers and users.
  • 6. Transform workload forecasts into IT resource requirements.
  • 7. Map requirements onto existing utilizations.
  • 8. Predict when the shop will be out of capacity.
  • 9. Update forecasts and utilizations.

Step 1: Select an Appropriate Capacity Planning Process Owner

The first step in developing a robust capacity planning process is to select an appropriately qualified individual to serve as the process owner. This person is responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining the process and is empowered to negotiate and delegate with developers and other support groups.

First and foremost, this individual must be able to communicate effectively with developers because much of the success and credibility of a capacity plan depends on accurate input and constructive feedback from developers to infrastructure planners. This person also must be knowledgeable on systems and network software and components, as well as with software and hardware configurations.

Several other medium- and lower-priority characteristics are recommended in selecting the capacity planning process owner (see table below). These traits and their priorities obviously vary from shop to shop, depending on the types of applications provided and services offered. Next: Identify key resources to measure

Capacity planning characteristics

1. Ability to work effectively with developers High
2. Knowledge of systems software and components High
3. Knowledge of network software and components High
4. Ability to think and plan strategically High
5. Knowledge of software configurations Medium
6. Knowledge of hardware configurations Medium
7. Ability to meet effectively with customers Medium
8. Knowledge of applications Medium
9. Ability to talk effectively with IT executives Medium
10. Ability to promote teamwork and cooperation Medium
11. Knowledge of database systems Low
12. Ability to analyze metrics and trending reports Low
13. Knowledge of power and air conditioning systems Low
14. Knowledge of desktop hardware and software Low
Source: IT Systems Management
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