The new capacity planning tool, now available in Beta, will unlock the value of Tivoli Monitoring and Warehouse and enable a rich set of analytics on the existing data. This new capability will enable you to
- Understand and plan your virtual environments pro-actively, initially for VMWare
- Minimize risks in your plan
- Optimize how you use capacity in the environment with intelligent workload sizing and placement
- Apply business and technical policies to keep your environment efficient and risk-free
- Make changes in a what-if analysis framework and view the impact of change.
The tool leverages Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP) and Tivoli Common Reporting (TCR) with embedded Cognos reporting engine. It integrates with the ITM and TDW infrastructure to get configuration and usage data from your virtual infrastructure.
Here's a quick overview of the advanced planning scenarios you can now implement in your virtual environment using this tool.
Key Scenarios for a Capacity Analyst
- Planning for capacity growth: Let's suppose your business provides a forecast that will increase the load on the IT infrastructure in the coming months. The capacity analyst can model the increase in resource requirements from the existing VMs in the what-if planning tool, scope the part of the infrastructure to analyze, and automatically generate a plan to fit the increasing demand. If required, new servers can be added to handle the growth.
- Ensure compliance with defined capacity planning policies: The LOB and application owners often provide a list of their requirements to the capacity analyst in terms of how their workloads should be placed on the IT infrastructure. These are typically business guidelines to improve efficiency, reduce cost, respect organizational boundaries, or cut risks on a virtual infrastructure. For e.g. The Finance and Payroll apps may not share common hosts or may not want to share hosts among apps with different downtime requirements. There may also be technical policies that guide planning. For e.g. reduce license cost by putting OS images on fewer hosts or the DBA may want to keep some headroom for the database VMs. The tool can help to centralize the creation of such policies and select a subset to guide a what-if planning scenario.
- Avoid bottlenecks in your environment: IT Administrators can predict a bottleneck in a VMWare cluster that may not be fixed by dynamic allocation within the cluster. These are often long term issues as the cluster may be running VMs that are not the right combination to share resources dynamically. The planning capability may be used to recommend how VMs can be moved “across” clusters or clusters can be restructured to remove bottlenecks and optimize resources in a broader scope.
- Plan for new users into a Cloud environment: The Cloud administrators are often challenged with planning for new users on the shared infrastructure and do what-if analysis planning. With this tool, they can simulate new VMs on the discovered Cloud, add information regarding users, create policies specific to such users, and create a recommended new environment plan. The policies may simulate users that want dedicated hosts for their VMs, or some images that need specific types of hardware etc. The recommended plan can help them to understand how and where to add new hardware or consolidate VMs to free up fragmented Cloud resources.
- Plan for retiring or re-purposing hardware: The planning capability enables the user to add new information for the discovered environment. For example, a user can add warranty date information about the discovered hardware, often contained in spreadsheets or other tools, and then select hosts that are more than 5 years old in the planning tool. They can add new hardware from the catalog for a what-if scenario. The tool can then automatically generate an optimized plan on how the workloads from the old hardware will fit on the new hardware and how many new machines of what type are required.
There may be several other scenarios that one can come up with on this tool framework.
The planning tool also provides a workflow-driven UI with both fast-path and expert-mode options. The main workflow page is shown below with a 5-step approach to create optimized virtual environment plans with default options for several steps. One can iterate through these steps to reach the desired results.
Load the latest configuration data of the virtual environment for analysis
Set the time period to analyze historical data
Define the scope of hosts to analyze in the virtual environment
Size Virtual Machines in scope
Generate a placement plan for the virtual machines on the physical infrastructure in scope
An example recommendation output of the tool is shown below with interactive topology navigation capability, summary views, and risk scores assigned to the infrastructure elements. This is an actionable recommendation as one can take this structured output in an XML and write an adapter to trigger automation workflows that implement the recommendations. The example screen shows how we analyzed a cluster with 4 hosts and recommended a consolidation on 3 hosts.
The topology view is interactive as it allows the user to click on various nodes and visualize the summary of the infrastructure levels below the node. Risk levels of the nodes are shown as node colors.
Hope this will be an exciting set of functions to start with and we look forward to suggestions on feature improvements and scenarios. Please contact Gary Forghetti (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a demo or sign up for the Beta version of the tool. We'll keep updating this forum with more and more details, such as demo videos, white papers etc.
Anindya Neogi, PhD | Senior Technical Staff Member | Tivoli Software | IBM Master Inventor