Technology services are evolving more rapidly than ever. Customers expect the software and services they’re using to provide an elegant user experience that meets their needs quickly. They also expect products to evolve over time and provide additional value. The companies that develop and deploy these solutions must keep an eye toward the future if they want to remain competitive, identifying new features and creating innovative products that meet user expectations. As they focus on building these solutions, however, they must also make sure to think about how to scale the infrastructure that supports them over time. Without effective capacity planning, companies can quickly find themselves struggling to keep up with demand.
Challenges of Capacity Planning
Organizations frequently struggle to assess what their IT requirements will be in the future. It’s easy enough to look at what resources are required today, but looking ahead to determine the processing, storage, and networking resources needed to support sustainable growth is not always as easy as it appears. Underestimating future IT loads can render organizations unable to service customers effectively or take advantage of new opportunities, but overestimating capacity can result in tremendous waste.
Historical trends are helpful to a point, but fast-growing companies don’t always scale consistently. As the last few years have demonstrated, unforeseen events can also have a tremendous impact on IT requirements as customer demand fluctuates. By combining a data-driven approach to evaluating capacity and incorporating as much flexibility as possible into IT strategies, organizations can put themselves in a better position to overcome these challenges.
Benefits of Accurate Capacity Planning
Implementing a strategy that increases the accuracy of capacity planning can have a number of important benefits. A good strategy typically starts with conducting a detailed audit of existing IT resources and needs. Once everything has been inventoried to establish a baseline for current usage potential, a “what-if” analysis can help determine multiple future scenarios that might call for an expansion of capacity.
Exploring potential capacity changes can help IT teams adjust planning to ensure that their strategy is still producing beneficial results.
Lower Energy Costs
Expanding capacity always comes with the burden of additional energy costs. Given the recent volatility of global energy markets due to supply chain disruptions and global conflicts, being able to manage capacity in ways that avoid adding new equipment and infrastructure that requires extra power (and possibly additional cooling capacity) can help to keep costs under control.
Whether they’re running a private data solution, operating in the cloud, or working with a colocation data center, organizations frequently overestimate their capacity needs. While the old adage of “better safe than sorry” certainly has its place in the IT world, building out excess capacity before it’s needed can be both expensive and wasteful. In a best case scenario, companies end up paying for capacity that’s not being used right away, but in a worst-case scenario, all that extra capacity winds up being used inefficiently, with workloads and data sprawling across multiple locations.
Fewer Maintenance Requirements
For organizations operating out of a data center, building out excess capacity also carries significant maintenance costs. Even if a server isn’t being utilized, it still needs to be managed and maintained. Every moment IT personnel or remote hands technicians spend on equipment that’s not being used is time they could have spent on other priorities that could facilitate business growth.
How Colocation Partners Can Help Improve Your Capacity Planning
Capacity planning is especially difficult for companies that still manage an on-premise data solution because they must consider how to build out the power and cooling infrastructure to support their IT equipment. By migrating their assets into a colocation data center, they offload that responsibility to the colocation vendor and keep their capacity planning focused on their own equipment.
When evaluating colocation partners, there are a few important factors worth considering that will make capacity planning more effective.
State of the Art Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
The best colocation facilities use DCIM software to manage every aspect of their infrastructure. These powerful platforms give data center managers and customers visibility into all aspects of operations and performance. They can track power and bandwidth utilization over time, improve cooling efficiency, and provide a detailed overview of deployed assets down to the rack level. The data generated by DCIM tools make it much easier for IT teams to monitor how their current capacity is being utilized, which allows them to better assess when new resources will be required to meet demand.
Right of First Refusal (ROFR) on Contiguous Space
Colocation data centers host multiple customers in a shared server room. When an organization first migrates assets into the facility, equipment is typically stored in one contiguous area to maximize efficiency and performance. But if they need to install new or leased servers in the future, space constraints may force them to deploy equipment in another part of the facility. Evoque offers “right of first refusal” clauses in our contracts that give customers an opportunity to consolidate their assets when space becomes available. By taking advantage of these opportunities, organizations can ensure that they’re scaling capacity as efficiently as possible.
Greater Workload Flexibility
Provisioning and installing new equipment in a data center takes time, especially in an era of disrupted supply chains and microchip shortages. By partnering with a colocation data center that provides flexible access to cloud infrastructure, organizations can quickly provision the resources they need to scale capacity and manage workloads more efficiently. If the colocation provider offers flexible billing options, companies can even use cloud resources as a temporary solution until they’ve had time to install additional equipment. Once the new hardware is in place, they can transition workloads back to the data center and scale back their cloud spending.
How Evoque Supports Efficient Capacity Planning
Evoque Data Center Solutions offers a variety of resources that improve capacity planning. Each data center utilizes industry-leading DCIM software to provide customers with real-time data on equipment performance. Combined with powerful AI tools, our DCIM solution has taken power and cooling performance to new levels that control costs for customers and help them scale capacity more efficiently. Evoque’s contracts offer customers “right of first refusal” on contiguous space when it becomes available to keep deployments scaling smoothly and efficiently.
Our innovative SpendAgility service sets us apart from other colocation providers. Where many data centers lock customers into restrictive contracts that make it hard to adapt to your capacity planning needs, Evoque customers have the ability to shift their spending between colocation, cloud, and hybrid resources during their contract term. We can even migrate workloads to another Evoque data center to ensure that your capacity planning strategy is delivering the most value to your business.
To learn more about how Evoque makes it easy to manage your IT capacity, talk to one of our colocation experts today.