Planning Your Way to Better Capacity Utilization

Arthur Cole

Storage management has emerged as one of the top enterprise trends of the year as IT looks to get more mileage out of disparate systems in the face of ever-increasing data requirements. And of all the components that make up an overall management system, capacity planning seems to be getting the lion's share of attention.


This is no small wonder, considering the challenges that arise when trying to manage a system of unknown size and scope. But there are a number of factors that go into selecting a capacity planning system, according to this article in Computerweekly. Among the more sage pieces of advice here is to make sure your solution offers things like dynamic capacity monitoring, data classification and migration tools, and strong virtualization features.


If done right, a capacity planning system will go a long way toward improving utilization rates, which can be as low as 5 percent on some direct-attached storage environments, according to the Butler Group. Again, a strong monitoring component that encompasses discovery and usage pattern analysis across all storage resources in both real time and historical modes is key.


Thin provisioning through virtualization is starting to play a key role in capacity management, as well. Hitachi recently added a Dynamic Provisioning component to its Universal Storage Platform that lets you allocate virtual disk storage based on expected requirements, rather than over-provisioning physical storage to cover your bases.


New independent software solutions are coming in at a steady clip. Evergrid Inc. of Fremont, California, recently showed a beta version of its Load Manager software that provides resource management at the application level to ensure that capacity can be maintained for all apps, regardless of priority. You can also organize application processes into logical units to make it easier to assign capacity based on need.


Nothing drives the end user, or the boss, crazier than "disk full" messages, especially when money is being spent acquiring extra storage. Poor capacity planning can really put a kink in the network, and possibly your steady employment as well.

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