Cloud computing has not reduced the importance of capacity planning. This statement runs contrary to the wide spread belief that capacity requirements will be taken care of when virtual infrastructures are harnessed or sizing will take care of balancing. The truth is that the beliefs are untrue. Capacity planning is still one of the most important activities of the IT manager. Virtualization does not determine how much capacity you need now or in the future and it does not predict how much the IT density will increase over a period of time. Without capacity planning, organizations will end up making unnecessary purchases of IT infrastructure. IT managers still need to ensure that their organizations have sufficient capacity; and skilled IT managers must avoid over-provisioning of capacity, and accurately predict required capacity for their company.
It is obvious that there are a number of misconceptions about capacity planning in the Cloud computing era. In fact, organizations have taken a step backwards in believing that Cloud computing does not require capacity planning and management skills in that direction. The bottomline is that there are a number of core capacity planning parameters that have emerged with the Cloud. These include planning for meaningful trending, intelligent capacity reservation, efficient workload placement, effective resource allocation, and development of operational policies. Organizations must tackle all these issues with awareness and understanding.
To this end, management needs to be proactive, skilled, and qualified. The staff must have the capacity to handle the organizational and technical challenges arising from this new era computing technologies. Unfortunately, managers depend on hypervisor vendor tools and these vendors have little or no knowledge of capacity planning requirements. The managers on the other hand have physical capacity planning skills, but almost no knowledge of Cloud and virtual capacity planning skills. A marriage of the skills needs to take place, and organizations need to proactively take up the task, and update their managers through training programs, seminars or panel discussions that are participative, informative, and educational.
A number of software tools are being built by vendors to help organizations plan capacity requirements and perform a number of analytical exercises. One size fits all approach will not work and managers must use every tool and skill at their disposal to plan capacity requirements before they deploy IT over the Cloud.