Storage – Capacity planning thinky post

I don’t like to do too many thinky-type blog posts, preferring instead for this to be more a vehicle for educational demonstration. I tend to spend too much time talking about how I don’t do these post too often. Then I spend as little time on the idea as possible. Invariably, I’ll finish off with some naff comment that doesn’t in any way support what I’ve said previously. That said, I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how we approach capacity planning, and our view on the overall health of infrastructure. Having been on the ops side of the fence, then moving between solution architecture and systems integration, I’ve seen a number of approaches to the problem. So I guess I just wanted to put this out there as a concept that, while it’s by no means new, is sometimes overlooked by punters and integrators alike.

In my opinion, there are three elements that are key to the overall health and usefulness of a storage array. These are:

  • Configuration;
  • Capacity; and
  • Performance.

The ability of a storage array and, indeed, other infrastructure (such as compute and network) to service the requirements of its applications is dependent on these elements in the following way:

  • Configuration – the ability of the array to be perform tasks as intended by the vendor;
  • Capacity – the capability of the array to provide sufficient storage to meet the applications’ requirements; and
  • Performance – the ability of the array to service the requirements of the hosted applications from a performance perspective.

If any of these elements are not functioning as designed, the capacity of the array to perform as expected is diminished. In my day job I have clients asking for capacity plans all of the time. Oftentimes, I think, we spend too much time on one of these elements, but not enough time on all three. Ideally, you want a platform that takes care of all of this for you. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that if your preferred vendor isn’t talking to you about capacity planning in these terms, maybe it’s time to re-think who you’re talking to.