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Why cloud-based IT gives new relevance to capacity planning

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 16, 2017 4:44:00 PM / by Sarah de Castro

Sarah de Castro

Just because  cloud infrastructure makes it possible for  businesses to adapt and scale their IT needs with more flexibility than ever before, doesn’t make it easy. While cloud migration is quickly becoming an indisputable step into the future, many companies are finding the transition comes with an unforeseen disadvantage: a debilitating lack of control and foresight.

“Capacity planning is the process of determining the production capacity needed by an organization to meet changing demands for its products. In the context of capacity planning, design capacity is the maximum amount of work that an organization is capable of completing in a given period,” says Wikipedia. So are these definitions and task frameworks relevant if we are talking about virtual IT? Absolutely.

In the world of IT capacity planning is all about predicting the resources necessary to make sure companies can optimally fulfill their-own and their clients requirements for computing power at any given moment... at the smallest possible cost and with the best availability and uptime. But it’s not just about reducing everything to bare-bones to save costs, cloud computing comes alongside risks that need to be mitigated through resilient data-storage environments, yep we are talking back up in multi-cloud, multi-regions -more on that here.


However, under provisioning is rarely the problem, in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s a well known industry adage that around 30% to 50% of enterprise cloud capacity is wasted. Why? Well, thanks to IaaS and the cloud, computing power is suddenly on tap-practically infinite, no longer restricted to the machines in the company basement. Combine this with bad habits fueled by fear, lack of procurement process, a lack of accountability…. It’s a catch 22: Engineers often over provision to mitigate the risks of under provisioning (and also because they are not in charge of budgets). This situation is fueled by a lack of visibility on who does what with the cloud, meaning accountability for overspending has left the building.

One of the top reasons companies transition to the IaaS cloud model and away from on-site iron is to benefit from the flexibility of on-demand resources, a model more in tune with the demands of today’s business landscape. Just adopting cloud IT is not enough, capacity planning is needed to ensure the benefits of the cloud environment are actually reaped.

Capacity planning, the balancing act of calculating the ideal (aka at the least expense to the company) amount of computer hardware, software, memory and connection infrastructure resources for each project and the team, deadline and budget that goes with it… while mitigating risk, is key to optimizing your cloud environment.

Being able to understand, report on, predict and control cloud needs and consumption is one of the most important aspects of an IT department as we move into a virtual world. But it's much more difficult than before, because resources are no longer "stable" over time. They are highly variable. Solutions are now needed to accurately predict future costs, by using historical data that takes thousands of data points into account instead of just a few dozen like the traditional data centers of the past.

Agree? Not at all? Tell us what role capacity planning plays in your company, and  how this has evolved in line with cloud adoption?

Topics: AWS, Budget, Corporate, capacity planning, Predictive

Sarah de Castro

Written by Sarah de Castro

Cloud-enthusiast and storyteller, Sarah is a content strategist at OneKloud. Explorer of the technology landscape, she boils down technical and complex ideas for everyday digestion (and enjoyment). With an appreciation for sophisticated simplicity, linguistics and branding, she is a global local in Paris from New Zealand.