Capacity Management: 5 steps for best practice
Working within the IT industry means that you’re probably all too familiar with the difficulties of keeping up with evolving digital technologies, whilst monitoring the adaptability and intelligence of your existing IT systems.
The truth is that technology will only ever be as good as the computing power behind it, and IT systems can be negatively affected when existing resources are overworked when organisations are trying to meet deadlines on increased project demands.
In this article, we’ll look at five ways you can ensure best practice for capacity management within your organisation.
Determine your needs
The size, complexity and rate of change of your organisation will determine how capacity management should be implemented. For a fairly stable environment, good monitoring and alerting should be sufficient. However, in a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing environment, more time and effort will be required to plan the capacity needs of your IT systems and resources.
Determine a process
A process must be put in place to ensure that capacity management is used successfully and consistently. It’s likely that process improvements will be required to define what must be done when threshold violations occur, and what process ought to be followed for baselining, trending, and upgrading the IT systems or network. After determining the requirements and resources for successful capacity planning, the methodology should be considered.
Test and tune performance
Once an application has been built and put into a test or production environment, it will likely be necessary to tune the way it works, especially when it is integrated with other systems for the first time. This should be done in a performance testing environment, which is as close to the live environment as possible. Aspects such as the number of connections between an application server and its database, the number of instances of a process or the size of a swap file may need tuning. In fact, any of the many hundreds of configuration options that are available when implementing complex IT systems may need tuning or altering and this should be kept closely in mind.
Include data collection and reporting
The majority of systems collect performance metrics and applications should also collect statistics on how they are being used. This data should be stored securely in a database for easy access and summarisation, making reporting much easier. Reporting is crucial to the success of any capacity management function, as this is how it can be monitored. Reports should be run for different time periods, e.g. daily, weekly monthly. Key reporting should be done to compare what was predicted previously, against what is actually happening in the live environment.
Include Service Level Management
This may sometimes be a process in its own right. However, the skills and tools needed to perform much of this are usually found within capacity management. The first step should be to define measurable service levels, which means understanding what metrics are available – and if not, what needs to be done to collect them. Secondly, you should monitor and report against the service levels defined, which is usually done using the capacity database, and capacity reporting systems.
At Capacity Management Consultancy, we can work with your business to define your capacity management needs, by running our audit and using an assessment matrix to rate your current capability and help you implement these five steps for best practice. Get in touch with our friendly team today, to find out more.