Glossary

Capacity Planning

What is capacity planning

In the context of Information Technology, it is the process of planning for increases or decreases in an application’s requirement for computing resources over days, weeks, or months.  In the context of capacity planning, design capacity is the maximum amount of work that an organization is capable of completing in a given period. Effective capacity is the maximum amount of work that an organization is capable of completing in a given period due to constraints such as quality problems, delays, material handling, etc. The phrase is often used in information technology as a synonym for capacity management. IT capacity planning involves estimating the storage, computer hardware, software and connection infrastructure resources required over some future period of time.  A discrepancy between the capacity of an organization and the demands of its customers results in inefficiency, either in under-utilized resources or unfulfilled customers. The goal of capacity planning is to minimize this discrepancy.

Benefits of capacity planning

  • Deferred expenditure. With the pace of technological change, generally the later a purchase is left, the more capacity is obtained for the money
  • Matching the capacity to business need. Unnecessary spare capacity is therefore not required to be maintained and cost savings result, ultimately existing capacity is optimized
  • Reduced expenditure.  Planned buying is always cheaper than panic buying
  • Existing applications risks are minimized through the managing of resources and service performance
  • Risks to new applications are reduced through application sizing. The introduction of new applications can have an adverse effect upon existing applications, the risks to those applications minimized
  • Good capacity planning can interface with change process management, assisting to assess the impact of changes upon existing capacity, often reducing the risk of capacity problems caused by changes
  • The reduction or elimination of the number of urgent changes required to increase capacity


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