Four Advantages of Capacity Forecasting and Analytics with Hyperconvergence

Andre Leibovici, Sr. Director, Partner Innovation and Vertical Alliances, Nutanix
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Andre Leibovici, Sr. Director, Partner Innovation and Vertical Alliances, Nutanix

Dating back to ancient civilizations, forecasting has always been a key and imperative function for societal success.

Even in biblical times, the importance of forecasting was highly respected and revered; lives depended on it. A young Hebrew slave, Joseph, forecasted Egypt’s 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine to Pharaoh (possibly the first historical record of long-range forecast). Joseph followed it up with suggestions on saving crop outputs from good years and selling them in bad years. As a result, the famine never affected Egypt. (Genesis 41:30)

In modern times, organizations use forecasting methods to implement production strategies. While lives may not depend on this prognostication, jobs and economic success certainly do. Forecasting involves using several different estimating methods to determine possible future outcomes for the business. The primary advantage of forecasting is providing the business with valuable information that it can use to make decisions about the future of the organization. Given that every business is technology business and the technology landscape is shifting faster than ever before, the importance of forecasting here and now is ever more important.

  Hyperconvergence enables IT management to make use of automated and accurate data analysis and forecasting 

In the datacenter space, planning for these possible outcomes is the job of IT operations management. The methods used by an individual organization will depend on the data available across disparate technology layers, silos and departments.

It is not unusual to see organizations looking at datacenter consumption trends, using a variety of complex tools and doing a variety of statistical labor-intensive projections to get a feel for the growth. Things could get even trickier if the company needs to run 3-5 year projection windows. Yet, in my real world experience as a technology leader and consultant I have witnessed a lot of ‘Finger in the Air’ forecasting.

The historical problem with forecasting IT spending has always been its unpredictability. Uncertainties in projecting computing resources risk the rapidly exceeding IT budgets. Public Cloud is one way in which CIOs have attempted to address the problem.

The good news is that the unpredictability issue can be solved. This can be done through Predictive Analytics and Forecasting coupled with hyperconvergence, offering a smarter way to manage IT – enabling IT problems anticipation before they occur.

Hyperconvergence Forecasting and the Analytics Model

One of the many benefits of hyperconvergence is the ability to combine continuous monitoring of the entire datacenter stack with deep rich data analytics for a solid data center capacity planning. Hyperconvergence is built on the back of virtualization stacks and allow IT operations to remove storage as a separate island - this has made possible for IT to look at forecasting in a new way. Before this, the storage layer was always hard to forecast because it was sitting separately from everything else that make applications tick.

Nowadays, hyperconverged stacks have the ability to offer cross-clusters and cross-sites unified forecasting for compute, memory, networking and storage capacity runways (time remaining) based on machine-learned consumption behavior from the running workloads. It can demonstrate detailed trending information of hosts and storage levels with recommendations of appropriate scale-out options to build upon an existing deployment. These technologies apply multiple predictive algorithms against one another, commonly picking the best fit and providing actionable recommendations to eliminate over-provisioning without increasing risk to application performance.

Four Advantages of Datacenter Capacity Forecasting

Helps to Predict the Future

Forecasting allows IT operations to see what will happen over the coming periods based on time-series analysis. It provides a sense of direction which allows organizations to prepare ahead of time and continually think about their future and where their business is headed. This allows them to foresee changing market trends and keep up with the competition.

Reduce CAPEX Costs

Forecasting helps IT predict how much capacity should be on hand at any given time. Deploying the optimal amount of datacenter capacity saves on upfront CAPEX. Risk of incurring obsolescence costs in case new technology arrivals (newer Intel CPUs, faster SSDs, higher capacity HDDs, and new technologies such as NVMe and 3D XPoint) is also reduced.

Easier Project Funding

Funding an existing project typically requires a completed forecast. C-level executives want real justification before releasing the money it takes to build or renovate a datacenter.

What-If-Scenarios

Scenario simulation can help IT operations see how changing past time-series analysis change the possible future outcomes. As an example, if a company sees a likely imminent increase in sales, how should IT operations react to it?

Financial Advantage of Accuracy

Just as the days of simply throwing inventory at supply chain inefficiencies are over, so are the days of settling for poor datacenter forecasts. The stakes are too high. Market conditions change too rapidly for CFOs to make confident financial decisions without accurately sensing demand.

Hyperconvergence enables IT management to make use of automated and accurate data analysis and forecasting. Just as the financial industry depends on systematic analysis of real-time market data for trading decisions IT operations now count on accurate predictions from the automated analysis to make better business decisions.

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