“Automation” is often assumed to represent a positive concept when associated to any IT tool or process. Indeed, why do things manually when they can be executed automatically? However, in some cases automation can only be characterized as “a nice feature”, possibly applied to some collateral action, such as restarting a stopped process. But in other cases it represents a core and absolute mandatory feature. In my humble opinion, the latter is the case for Capacity Management, or at least mandatory for a modern Capacity Management process.
Why am I compelled to add modern here? Well, I think we need to recognize that while Capacity Planning can still be defined as the Science (or sometimes the Art [see ”The Art of Capacity Planning,” John Allspaw]) of matching IT supply with IT Demand. In reality Capacity Management is one of those IT processes that has been mainly impacted by the recent evolution and transformation of IT. These days, Capacity Planners need to manage dynamic, shared and virtual/cloud infrastructures, including storage and network resources – basically the entire Data Center – and they need to provide effective support for decisions that will impact the business. And they need to accomplish all of this in a much shorter timeframe and with fewer resources than they had in the past.
Because of this, Capacity Management needs to be a holistic, business-aware, and automated process. But what exactly does it mean to apply automation to the Capacity Management process? Automation can, and I would argue should, be applied at all levels:
- Data integration and processing: data integration from multiple, diverse data sources, data normalization, data summarization and purging, data aggregation and tagging
- Analytics: analyses and models (e.g. time forecasting models that automatically select the best algorithm) and by-exception predictions
- Presentation: by-exception reporting, notification of predicted capacity issues and dashboard views
Automation is what enables Capacity Planners to keep up with the continuous and ever increasing challenges of managing complex IT environments and to demonstrate the ability of Capacity Management to reduce IT costs and minimize business risk.
BMC Capacity Optimization (BCO) is the only solution on the market that provides automation at all levels for a true automated Capacity Management process. Actually, BCO takes automation to the next level – something that I usually refer as 3rd generation Capacity Management – thanks to its support for real-time Capacity-Aware Placement Advice (CAPA) for Cloud Management solutions, such as BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM). CAPA uses the BCO algorithms to intelligently provision resources dynamically, based on capacity-related criteria.
More details on how to implement an Automated Capacity Management process can be found in a presentation delivered at the April 20, 2012 CMG Connecticut meeting titled “Automated Capacity Management-real-world experiences.” This presentation was co-authored by myself and Boris Gdalevich (BNY-Mellon), an expert capacity planner, and describes how he was able to leverage BCO’s unique features in his capacity management practice.