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April 6, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:31am

No space for downtime: How 24/7 IoT demand is driving Capacity Planning as a Service

Analysis: Sheer volume of IoT data still a barrier for enterprise IT managers, Sumerian CTO tells CBR, as CPaaS assumes an ever growing role in keeping businesses ON.

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As business speeds increase, leveraged by the IoT, the necessity to market faster is accelerating alongside the ever-growing need for an always-on network of data centres, systems, and cloud services.

In the age of connectivity, IT leaders have already been told how old business models will not thrive and that there is a need to digitalise and even predict the future. Agile, adaptable, scalable and future-proof have become the de facto terms amongst execs.

One key element to generate ROI in the IoT is the ability to plan and understand the IT infrastructure’s capacity and predict future capacity issues.

Why? To understand the impact of future changes in a company’s IT estate, mainly the data centre, and how to model and adapt to the needed changes by looking at long-term considerations that best serve the business.

Based on this, CBR spoke to Peter Duffy (pictured bellow), CTO of UK-based IT operational analytics company Sumerian who has also developed a cloud-based Capacity Planning as a Service (CPaaS) tool aimed at the IoT field.

peter duffy

According to Duffy, CPaaS is aimed at IT capacity management and consists of a data collection appliance that gathers configuration and usage information from existing management tools.

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The CPaaS application will then analyse the data and provide a user-friendly interface (UI) that businesses can interact with and plan their capacity needs accordingly.

Effectively, CPaaS allows businesses to plan de-risk change, run baseline capacity and optimise/right-size capacity needs, preventing revenue loss and reputational damage from outages. Not restricted to revenue, CPaaS also promises to reduce spend by optimising use of existing resources, and avoid excessive future costs and mitigate risk by accurately planning for changes.

Duffy said: "The sheer volume of data collected from computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, sensors and other connected devices is an old but serious issue for enterprise IT managers, so too is the bandwidth required to ensure 24/7 availability.

"With the rising number of new devices joining the IoT club, meaning evolving patterns of peaks and troughs in demand, obtaining a clear view on what is happening and what is needed in an IT environment is becoming increasingly complex. The IoT will increase the volume and variety of data that some enterprises have access to.

"From this perspective it will probably make capacity planning more critical, but it also provides more data and thereby enables richer, more accurate capacity models."

CPaaS becomes then an enabler to help organisations optimise their IoT investments, by allowing users to accurately predict and model for potential performance issues, and by providing clarity on what will happen with any number of variables.

"With CPaaS, those responsible for an organisation’s IT estate are able to identify potential capacity issues well in advance, allowing them to recommend strategically critical programs and tactics."

At Sumerian, Duffy said that in the CPaaS spectrum, one of the challenges is security which "is always an issue where data is being taken out of a customer’s environment". Yet, he said that another problem he sees regularly when reaching out to customers with Sumerian’s CPaaS is business culture.

"Most organisations’ IT practices are very reactive, a break-fix mind set. CPaaS is all about being proactive, whether using predictive analytics to prevent a potential issue from occurring, or modelling change scenarios in advance to identify and mitigate risks."

According to US computer software company TeamQuest, the three key steps to lay out a capacity planning plan are the determination of service level requirements, analysing current capacity and planning for the future.

The company said in a whitepaper, entitled "How to do capacity planning": "The first step in the capacity planning process is to categorize the work done by systems and to quantify users’ expectations for how that work gets done.

"Next, the current capacity of the system must be analysed to determine how it is meeting the needs of the users.

"Finally, using forecasts of future business activity, future system requirements are determined. Implementing the required changes in system configuration will ensure that sufficient capacity will be available to maintain service levels, even as circumstances change in the future."

Looking ahead, Duffy said that in the CPaaS space, one of the big things we will see this year is a tighter integration between capacity management and other IT service management (ITSM) processes.

"For example, taking details from a change request and running them through a scenario modelling component to determine resources required for the change, and potential impact on other services using shared infrastructure.

"Or identifying a future risk, a disk volume will fill up in two weeks’ time if no action is taken, for example, and raising an incident ticket so that the appropriate action is taken."

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