Capacity Management, SDDC-Style
Capacity planning and management have always been important in the physical data center. Without the tools to ensure that resources match business requirements and growth, it has been easy to overbuy or overprovision capacity just to ensure that a project or division didn’t come up short.
While the need for capacity planning and management are equally important in the software defined data center (SDDC), they are still critical. It’s about knowing when a component is out of resources and being able to automatically add more. It’s also about understanding trends in a way that enables the system to predict when capacity is running out.
The main difference is that instead of physically adding servers—in essence, focusing on managing infrastructure capacity—capacity management in the SDDC focuses on managing application or service capacity and response time. And since everything in the SDDC is defined by software–including policies–capacity planning can rely on pre-defined policies. That also makes the entire process easier: In addition be being more automated and policy-driven, functions tend to be more drag-and-drop.
One way to gain these capabilities is by using a tool like VMware’s vRealize Operations through the use of Capacity Projects, which allows a data center manager to define one or more “projects” within an environment. The tool then allows a manager to simulate and model capacity changes in each project within the data center environment.
Another way to tackle capacity planning in the SDDC is through Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools. While often used with physical data centers, they aren’t often used in SDDCs. They have their place, though. In a recent report, Rhonda Ascierto, research director for data center technologies at 451 Research, noted that VM management tools like VMware’s vMotion (included in vSphere with Operations Management) can seamlessly migrate workloads according to policies by using real-time data from DCIM systems about location, infrastructure status, and cooling and power use,
If DCIM is the chosen route, be sure to choose a solution that can be fully integrated into the SDDC to the point of being able to communicate directly with the SDDC management and orchestration software.
Whatever the method used, capacity management is as critical in the SDDC as it is in the physical data center. Not only does it save money by avoiding overprovisioning, but it can help unnecessary or unplanned tasks and ensure that services keep running without problems.
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