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Ever wonder how much IT infrastructure capacity you have and what it’s costing you?

It’s not something many people outside of IT think about but something nearly everyone in an organization relies on in the form of IT services, both internal and external, whether they know it or not. All organizations and, more specifically, all organizational initiatives and projects rely on IT resources at some level today. Which brings up some basic questions:

  • How much IT infrastructure capacity do you have?
  • How much IT infrastructure capacity do you need?
  • Does your IT infrastructure have the capacity to support the next IT resource-intensive project?
And also brings up some more complex questions:
  • How do you get clarity on historical demand, predicted demand, performance, utilization, etc for your IT service delivery?
  • How do you really know if your IT infrastructure utilization rates are improving?
  • Can you measure and improve your ROI on IT investments?
  • Can you properly measure the cost impact of an insource versus outsource decision?

There’s a good discussion on this topic specifically as it relates to IT capacity planning in this LinkedIn group thread. The first and most important step is understanding where you are today before you can make rational decisions about where you need to go and how to get there – like the old Yogi Berra quote “if you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there”. But how do you determine where you are? What metrics do you use?

At 6fusion, we approach these questions from the perspective of IT as a utility (Side note: John Cowan, 6fusion Co-Founder and CEO, has a great 4-part series of posts on this topic GigaOm analyst Paul Miller has also recently published a white paper called “Metered IT: the path to the IT utility“ if you are interested in more detail). The take-aways from this approach as it relates to IT infrastructure and IT management in general are as follows:

  1. Pick a single unit of measure for IT resource consumption and stick with it. We like to use the WAC, but whatever you pick stick with it, because historical comparisons are key (see number 4 below) and if you change metrics your historical data loses relevance.
  2. Measure across all environments in use, whether those are virtual, physical, public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud environments.
  3. Measure across all users, groups, business units, divisions – however your organization is segmented.
  4. Continue to measure at intervals appropriate for your business and technical requirements – could be every minute, could be every week, could be every month – the specific interval isn’t necessarily critical. What matters is that you continue to measure over time so you can compare, contrast and improve.
  5. Benchmark outside your organization – internal comparisons are good, but external comparisons and benchmarking are even better, particularly when you can benchmark against leaders in the field.

The IT industry is rapidly changing with the move to virtualization and the proliferation of public and private IT service providers.  As organizations consider moving to either a public or private cloud solutions to host their corporate infrastructure, they need to gain a fundamental understanding of how they use IT infrastructure first.  By adopting a utility metered approach to IT services, those organizations can gain a tremendous amount of insight into how their resources are being used, who us using them, and what they actually cost to run.  With this knowledge in hand, the enterprise can make educated decisions on what type of services are needed, what they cost to produce internally, and whether or not they can be produced externally at more competitive rates or service levels.  This approach allows IT to take a true business focused approach to IT and help drive value to the organization.

Shameless plug: 6fusion has been working with organizations to answer these questions for years with a combination of experience, expertise and innovative tools. We recently formalized a service to bring this approach to IT infrastructure capacity and costs analysis to market. You can download a sample output here by clicking the image below. Reach out to us if you want to explore further.

IT Infrastructure Analysis









How are you approaching IT infrastructure capacity and cost analysis? Welcome your comments and thoughts below.

The post Ever wonder how much IT infrastructure capacity you have and what it’s costing you? appeared first on 6fusion.

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More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.

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