IT Infrastructure Insights

Obstacles to Effective Storage Capacity Planning

Jul 15, 2021

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In the ever-changing world of data storage, capacity planning is an essential process for anticipating what you will need, where and when you’ll need it, and how much it will cost.

Between potential budget cuts, the recent pandemic, and competitive challenges facing businesses worldwide, it’s more important than ever to develop an accurate budget and strategy for your future storage and infrastructure plans. Don’t just look at what you spent this year or last year and assume you will spend the same next year. What changes should you be anticipating?

Consider the following costs. Do any feel familiar to you?

  • Insufficient (or inaccurate) planning can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in unbudgeted or even unnecessary purchases.
  • Unplanned purchases can waste weeks of implementation time, leaving other projects and priorities delayed or ignored (while also prolonging overtime).
  • Unmonitored infrastructure renders your capacity planning out-of-date too soon and can expose you to risk of outages, delays, or even security breaches.

Each of these scenarios hurts your bottom line. Through strong capacity planning, IT leaders have an opportunity to spend less and improve organizational standing through better budget forecasting.

In typical workplaces, however, this is easier said than done.

Obstacles to Capacity Planning

Some popular capacity management tools only do exactly what they claim – capacity management, not capacity planning. For example, they might not be able to model or forecast with the ease you need.

Most storage environments use multiple vendor suppliers for their infrastructure. The problem is that most capacity management tools or vendor-supplied software are only compatible with certain vendors. In these circumstances, capacity planning can require multiple capacity management tools – which in turn must be exported, standardized, and combined, usually through manual spreadsheets.

So, whether someone is using native tools or Excel, chances are they will spend weeks working on manual spreadsheets in order to do capacity planning. Is that sustainable over the course of a year? And what happens if that employee leaves the company before training a successor?

Shortfalls of Traditional Capacity Planning

Because of these and other limitations, most capacity planning is not only haphazard but also surface-level. Considerations that often get missed include:

  • Month-to-month variations – factoring in recent changes.
  • Going beyond the array level – accounting for data center, tier, or application levels.
  • Performance capacity – specifying percentage of IOPS or latency.
  • Type of storage needed – considering high performance versus high capacity.
  • Variable capacities – predicting the behavior of variable capacity arrays (such as those offered by Pure Storage).

IT leaders should be empowered to make the best long-term decisions for their organizations – without the traditional costs associated with thorough capacity planning.

In fact, we believe there are three essential principles of capacity planning that everyone should strive for.

Principle One: Collect & Analyze Data from All Levels of Your Storage Infrastructure

Principle Two: Build Models & Run Forecasts That are Tailored to Your Specific Environment and Goals

Principle Three: Use Consolidated Reporting to Ensure Your Capacity Planning Stays Reliable in Changing Environments

At Visual One Intelligence, we offer capacity planning and other infrastructure services that capitalize on all of these principles. Contact Us today to schedule a conversation so you can learn more.