September 12, 2013

Capacity Planning in the Cloud

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Cloud computing offers incredible flexibility and fantastic options compared to traditional computing or storage methods. Many cloud services operate with pay-as-you-go models that have no boundaries on capacity or usage. The question becomes; is capacity planning necessary in the cloud? Although at first glance planning may seem irrelevant, don’t be fooled by the cloud hype. Despite the allure of “infinity”, it’s extremely important to still use comprehensive planning when determining the capacity of your cloud resources. Proper cloud planning can save money from your budget, streamline your IT operations and maximize efficiency.

One of the biggest advantages cloud computing offers is the elastic usage of resources. The cloud requires less hardware than traditional computing structures which can mean greater flexibility and a lower upfront cost. Even better, it can be easy and quick to purchase additional resources. However, elasticity is only good if your implementation strategy is good. Even though increased capacity can be easily acquired, it is important to know what your company is currently using and will need in the future. With the cloud, the possibility of elasticity is ever present but it is up to the user to know how to use that power effectively.

One of the most important reasons to utilize proper planning strategies is cost. Cloud models can seem appealing because they offer lower cost alternatives to previous structures. However, there is a dangerous risk of wasting time and money. Moreover, the allure of limitless resources may cause companies to needlessly overspend. Proper capacity planning stops you from paying for resources that aren’t being used effectively. Even though it seems fail-proof, in many cases the cloud is only cheaper when used properly. Pay-as-you-go services are fantastic but, they can be extremely expensive if you are paying for large amounts of capacity that is not being used.

Additionally, if you are implementing the cloud through a third-party vendor, it is essential to have an understanding of your future usage needs. Cloud providers often base their pricing models around usage levels.  Despite the promise of scalability, the best choice for a large enterprise with high demand may actually be extremely costly for a model with smaller needs. Even worse, unexpectedly switching providers could be time consuming and damaging to company revenue.

Another issue is the ability to properly manage the resources you have acquired. Although a massive amount of capacity may be appealing, it is important to assess whether your current infrastructure can handle it. If you purchase cloud capacity that exceeds the capabilities of your infrastructure, then your system may need to be redesigned or rebuilt. While this isn’t the end of the world, it is important to be aware of it before diving in.

While cloud computing offers unprecedented flexibility, it is extremely important to analyze your usage and plan accordingly. Evaluating your companies needs could save untold amounts of money from your IT budget and maximize company profits through greater technological efficiency.


Bhatti, Sudhir. “VMware Cloud Management.” VMware Cloud Management. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
Raz, Shahar M. “6 Reasons to Remember Capacity Planning in Cloud Computing Environments.” Raztscom. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.

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