Steal these action-oriented ideas for better virtualization planning

Without good capacity management tools, most administrators build their own tool, usually in a spreadsheet. That kind of model may provide an educated way of determining virtual resource requirements, but it is not flexible enough to account for important variables like future changes, what-if scenarios and workload optimization.

Predicting capacity requirements is both art and science. Many admins do reasonably well at it because they make good use of tribal knowledge. Still, wouldn’t you rather use better tools to build more accurate models so your organization can fully realize the benefits of virtualization?

Virtual capacity planning: Admins don’t have the right tools for it

In most data centers, capacity planning is geared toward physical requirements. That’s why we commissioned a survey from Forrester Consulting a few months ago called The Case for Virtual Capacity Management. We wanted to confirm that capacity planning — the process of predicting requirements for future workloads — hasn’t been addressed in virtual environments. And if you’re pushing more and more of your apps to virtual machines, that’s a pretty big gap in planning.

Here are a few teasers I’ll mention to encourage you to read the entire report:

The bad news: Three out of four virtualization admins are using no tool or a homegrown tool to manage their virtual capacity. There’s a broad need for a tool that helps them plan virtual capacity.

The worse news: While they might have adequate capacity planning tools, these tools lack the efficiency and sophistication that would enable the business to fully realize the benefits of virtualization and properly plan for future needs. Ultimately, this could lead to imprecise measurement, over-allocation (read: spending money unnecessarily) or even under-allocation (read: asking for trouble).

The good news: You’re not the only one looking for tools that are more accurate and easier to use. You have plenty of company out there.

How accurate is your planning without the right tools?

One administrator in four uses capacity planning tools and modeling. The rest estimate their virtualized capacity usage on some form of rudimentary planning, utilization or allocation metrics to calculate:

Current rate of growth — Admins often extrapolate their current rate of organic growth to budget for the capacity they’ll need for future workloads.

Maximum peak utilization — Whether a tool is used or not, most admins tend to estimate fairly conservatively, and planning is based on contingencies like acquisitions and spikes in activity, then scaled up to the maximum accordingly.

Combined utilization — They base their estimates on statistical regression, which picks a point between average and maximum utilization. This is no easy task without proper planning tools, and can lead to inaccuracies in an organization’s capacity needs.

In other words, they’re doing the best they can with the limited resources they have. However, capacity planning tools do a better job of helping enterprises to tackle storage and compute needs in virtual environments.

New Forrester report: The Case for Virtual Capacity Management

Have a look at The Case for Virtual Capacity Management and see how your outlook compares to that of your counterparts. The virtualization genie is not going back into the bottle, so see how organizations like yours are faring amid the growing need for tools that handle advanced modeling of virtualized workloads.

And don’t fly blind anymore.