Network Capacity Planning – Without Ouija Boards

network capacity planning

In the world of networking, the focus tends to be on the ‘here and now’ rather than considering what's ahead with network capacity planning. Whether your organization is an enterprise, a carrier, or an MSP, you and your colleagues need to know what’s happening with your network right now, and what’s expected to happen during the rest of the day today, overnight, tomorrow, and through the end of the week. That’s the realm of network operations pros, the tech world’s equivalent of first responders. They’re the police, firefighters, and EMTs who keep things from getting out of hand.

While managing the here and now is key, network capacity planning is perhaps an even more strategic function. This function, generally handled by experienced engineering and IT staff, is all about looking to the future, and effectively discerning what their organization’s evolving networking needs will be next month, next quarter, next year and beyond.

In years past, network capacity planning teams were hobbled by a lack of effective tools for the job at hand. For network performance data, legacy monitoring systems provided neither the detail nor breadth of coverage that teams needed to make truly informed network capacity planning decisions.

That’s why this function used to be more of an art than a science. While we have no solid evidence that any teams used Ouija boards to formulate their plans back in the day, we have our suspicions.

The Challenge of Seeing the Future

All kidding aside, network capacity planning has always been serious business. It’s how IT and network engineering teams ensure that their networks have the right resources properly deployed in order to reliably deliver the applications and services the organization and its users need to run the business.

Network capacity planners focus out past the visible horizon, two, three or even five years out. They look to identify areas that will need more resources to meet projected performance and availability requirements. Conversely, they also look at areas where networking needs will require shrinking or elimination. After all, in today’s fast-paced corporate world, offices, groups, regions, divisions and even entire companies are always evolving. Network capacity planners need to envision these future states – and build their network plans around them.

How do they get the clear, forward-leaning views they need to work successfully?  There are several answers, however they all involve a next-generation network performance monitoring system.

Next-Gen Network Monitoring – Changing the Capacity Planning Game

Capacity planning involves determining when the demand for
a given resource – such as bandwidth, CPU, disk space, memory, etc. –
will outpace an organization’s capacity to deliver it. When done right, network capacity planning makes it possible to determine the likely outcomes of infrastructure changes. With which upgrades will the business achieve higher user/customer satisfaction? When areas are downsized, de-emphasized or have their operations otherwise reduced, which areas should have their resources pared back in order to reduce costs? More specifically, capacity planning teams need to be able to answer convincingly questions such as these:

  • Is our infrastructure optimally provisioned, and when and where will our network resources need more (or less) capacity?
  • How can we be sure that we’re accurately anticipating the capacity we’ll need to handle future growth and changes?
  • How will the introduction of new services or applications impact our existing network infrastructure, and how best can we mitigate those impacts?

How can teams avoid making mistakes in this organizational calculus, and avoid either over-provisioning or failing to upgrade capacity?

The answer is having detailed and accurate, real-time and historical network performance data, generated through broad coverage of device types and the protocols they use, all coupled with powerful analytics. Armed with this performance and consumption intelligence, capacity planners can instantly see how much bandwidth is being used, how much will be needed, and where.

Having this information also lets network planners see and understand why their servers are trending toward maximum utilization, and when those maximum thresholds will be reached. In other words, they get clear views of network capacity projections. It’s the gating factor in effective network capacity planning, and it’s a gate that’s swung wide open by the SevOne Network Data Platform.

The SevOne Network Data Platform is the industry’s most comprehensive and scalable network and infrastructure management platform. It is built as a series of modular components, based on a cloud-native architecture for maximum deployment flexibility. The Platform simplifies the extraction, enrichment and analysis of network and machine data from across multi-vendor environments, transforming raw data into actionable, real-time insights. Those are exactly the types of network and infrastructure insights that capacity planners need to do their jobs effectively.

network capacity planning

Conclusion

It’s obvious that to do today’s network capacity planning job effectively, teams require something different and better than legacy performance monitoring tools and a decades-old approach to managing them. Things change very rapidly these days, and that includes infrastructure and networking needs.

To anticipate what the evolving needs will look like, and which types and amounts of resources will be needed when, and in which locations, teams need rearview and present reads on how their network resources have been and are being consumed. With that data and analysis, network capacity planners can gaze into the future and determine with accuracy which upgrades and downgrades they should make to best support this organizations.

And they can leave their Ouija boards at home!

Ready to learn more? Take the first, risk-free step and contact us today to set up a demo.

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