Capacity Planning in the Cloud

Level Billing and Cloud Capacity

Today’s organizations are migrating to the cloud at lightning-fast speeds, and a big reason for this is the desire to eliminate on-premise equipment. These capital expenses, or CAPEX, are often frowned upon by members of the C-suite; they depreciate over time, and when a company has reached its infrastructure capacity, more expensive equipment needs to be purchased, putting another large lump sum on the balance sheet. However, by operating within the cloud, computing costs become an ongoing operating expense, or OPEX, and are now viewed as “the cost of doing business.” But moving from CAPEX to OPEX isn’t the only benefit of migration. The cloud also enables organizations to add or subtract capacity as needed, with a moment’s notice. But this isn’t always as easy as it appears. Here are some factors organizations should consider.

 

Consider What to Migrate

Arguably the biggest consideration you’ll need to make is determining what you want to move into the cloud. Of course, you can migrate everything, but many organizations like to test the waters first, moving only a portion of applications, systems, and servers. An application requiring large amounts of memory may not operate well in the cloud without modifications, making a “lift, tweak, and shift” approach the way to go; on the other hand, some applications are dependent upon one another, so you may need to consider a decoupling strategy. Those are just two of five methods; read about the rest and download our migration strategy tip sheet.

 

Review Workload Analytics

It’s important to consider why your workloads change over time. Before migrating, take a look at any historical data available, and begin to look for trends. You’ll also want to consider projections; for example, do you expect to onboard large customers next quarter? That will affect capacity demands, and needs to be planned for.

 

Review Patterns of Utilization

Understanding how your applications, systems, and servers are utilized is an important aspect of capacity planning. Many organizations find that their utilization rate varies by time of year, or time of day; for example, in the financial industry, some applications may be at full capacity when the market is open; once it closes at 4pm, however, capacity usage may drop considerably. Therefore, these organizations would want to use that same infrastructure to run evening applications, such as batch jobs, to make the best use of capacity. This keeps one system at 100% capacity rather than running two at half capacity.

 

Check Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Most SLAs include uptime guarantees, compliance considerations, data protection processes, and the process for repatriation, as well as the provider’s financial penalties for failing to live up to terms. It’s also important to be sure that scalability is addressed. Organizations can change dramatically in size over time, and intervals for reviewing a contract should be addressed so that if your organization grows larger, your cloud capacity can grow with it (alternatively, if your organization decreases in size, you’ll want the option to reduce capacity; no sense in paying for what you aren’t using).

 

Purge Unneeded Data

When migrating to the cloud, not all organizations purge their unnecessary data and wind up paying for unnecessary capacity. For example, law enforcement agencies moving to the cloud to ensure CJIS compliance may have petabytes of data for body-worn camera video, dash cam footage, and static surveillance video. However, most states only require this data to be retained for 90 days, so it would benefit agencies to purge older footage so they’re using less capacity when virtualizing.

According to Stanford researcher Dr. Jonathan Koomey, companies are wasting $62 billion per year paying for cloud capacity they don’t need. Keep these five considerations in mind when contemplating migration to ensure you’re not paying for unused capacity.


If you choose to partner with DSM, we’ll conduct a capacity planning assessment. Once completed, you will receive a precise evaluation of the compute resources you need to move to the cloud, or to virtualize your environment. DSM also offers level billing, so there are no surprises on your monthly cloud OPEX. Want to learn more about level billing and capacity planning? Contact DSM today.

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