What is Capacity Planning?


What is Capacity Planning?

IT capacity planning is a process used to manage IT service delivery. Business services depend on IT resources in most organizations. Retail organizations need IT to make sure their POS system stays up and running – even on days with unusually high transaction counts, like Black Friday. Banks and other financial services providers need their infrastructure to stay up and running to process customer transactions, applications, trades, transfers, and more. Essentially, every organization needs to make sure that the right IT resources are available at the right time.

How do you make sure the right resources are available at the right time so that services stay up? Capacity planning.

Capacity planning answers what-if questions that arise from changing business demands. Questions like:

  • “What if our business grows?”
  • “What if we wanted to move a workload from a server to a virtual machine?”
  • “What if we offered a new service to customers?”
  • “What if we added another application to this existing server?”

In some of the cases listed above, IT resources that support those efforts may need to change.

How do you do capacity planning?

Capacity planners can use mathematical formulas to do the analysis. This requires trained professionals who know your IT infrastructure well and can process a huge amount of data in order to make accurate predictions.

Or you can have powerful capacity planning tools do the heavy lifting for you, using queuing theory to predict to the behavior of a system, application, or service. The prediction results tell you what to expect and how IT should prepare to support the business.

The whole goal of capacity planning is to minimize risk, avoid embarrassing and costly outages, and help IT manage resources and cost effectively. That helps your business to grow with confidence, knowing that the IT resources are there to support service delivery.

Want to move beyond a capacity planning definition?

Download How to Do Capacity Planning, a comprehensive guide to starting a capacity planning practice.