I have to admit that I have a penchant for comparing IT to other domains of human knowledge to see whether a parallel can be drawn and different perspective could emerge. Today, I was thinking about how we deal with the limitation of natural resources in our world and how this could compare with Capacity Management in IT, and I remembered a book I read about 30 years ago.
I am quite sure very few of you have ever heard of the Club of Rome (http://www.clubofrome.org/), a think tank that was founded back in 1968 by an Italian scientist and other “world citizens” who were concerned about the future of humanity. This group became famous in 1972 with its report “The Limits to Growth” that predicted using sophisticated (for that time) mathematical models that the economic growth of the world could not continue indefinitely due to the limited availability of natural resources. Of course, some assumptions underlying that report reflected the weltanschauung of that time and its conclusions were considered highly controversial. Looking back, it’s easy to say that the report failed to take into account the incredible scientific discoveries and technological innovations we have seen in the last few decades. Nevertheless, it represents the first time a scientific approach was adopted to investigate the possible consequences of exhausting our limited supply of global resources. As a matter of fact, further studies and more accurate models have been introduced since this report and the debate on the sustainability of current world growth is more open than ever.
I think you can easily see the parallel with IT here. In recent years there has been a growing need to gain better control over the capacity of all IT data center (not only compute) resources, to proactively predict their saturation points in order to drive just-in-time provisioning and avoid any business risk.
After an initial misunderstanding of Cloud Computing translating into availability of infinite resources, we are now seeing accelerated adoption of Capacity Management processes in enterprise IT organizations. Of course, a different kind of Capacity Management solution – such as what BMC offers (see http://www.bmc.com/it-solutions/capacity-management.html ) – is required to effectively support IT Operations in cost-effectively managing shared, dynamic, cloud environments and ensuring that resources will be available to be dynamically allocated and that critical services are delivered in alignment with real-time business and user demand.
Even if IT resources are not at risk of being depleted, and possibly exhausted the way natural resources can be, it is fundamental for IT managers to be able to both forecast capacity needs at both the business and service level and to estimate associated costs (i.e. chargeback capabilities). In both cases, the lesson learned is that resources of whatever type should not to be wasted. The ramifications in terms of cost to the business and humanity could be devastating.