Are you missing the forest for the trees? Or, maybe you can see the forest but not the trees? Either way, by only considering a few parts of a problem, whether you are focusing too much on the minutia or the big picture, you may be failing to understand the entire situation.

Analyzing storage capacity across your enterprise can be a daunting task, but it is also a necessary one. Effective data storage capacity management requires a proactive approach in order to control costs and increase efficiencies.

Most of the time, businesses track storage usage and growth trends at a high level, typically at an array level, without any consideration for the application level detail. But when companies only do capacity management at a high level, they risk missing key information that can cause them to not see crucial growth trends that can result in reactive and wasteful decision making.

It’s essential for IT leaders to have the complete picture when it comes to storage capacity management in order to be more proactive and responsive to business needs. VSI delivers superior data storage confidence through four levels of storage capacity management and three forecasting models.

What are the essential principles for successful storage capacity planning? Learn three steps to minimize costs, save time, and reduce organizational risk through stronger capacity planning.

Download the Storage Capacity Planning Handbook

Four Levels of Storage Capacity Management

Effective storage capacity management helps IT leaders ensure that there are enough resources for both short-term and long-term goals. By looking at historical storage utilization trends, IT leaders can predict and plan for storage capacity in the future. In order to accurately forecast future storage capacity needs, it’s important that IT leaders are able to collect and track storage data at all levels of the organization.

Imagine running a high-level storage capacity report that shows 300 terabytes available across your storage environment – more than enough space for your next 100 TB project.

What you did not see was that space is split between your two data centers, then divided across a number of arrays. Finally, it’s even further divided across multiple pools. In reality, your 300 terabytes are fractured storage, and there isn’t enough of it in one place to handle the workloads that you need.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t analyze storage at each of these levels. Why? Because analyzing storage at each of these levels is difficult and time-consuming, it takes time away from other critical responsibilities, and sometimes the level of detail is simply unavailable.

While everybody can do capacity management at some level, truly effective capacity planning should rely on consistent reporting at four levels of capacity management.

Four Levels of Storage Capacity Management:

  • Device
  • Group
  • Location
  • Pool
You Need These Models in Your Capacity Planning Toolkit

Why Four Levels?

The only way to accurately track your growth trends, forecast precise outcomes, and improve budgeting accuracy is to collect data at all levels of the organization. Without the full picture, IT leaders may be at risk for unnecessary, reactive purchases.

Organizations may choose to start at either the top, the device level, or the bottom, the pool level, when it comes to capacity management planning. For companies starting at the top, the first question they might ask is, do I have enough capacity for all backups? They might have three devices for backup, and they notice that one device is out, so they start looking to upgrade that device. While that device may need to be upgraded, could data at another level provide additional information?

Let’s say that you have two big arrays, both doing production, and you’ve divided the workloads 50/50 between the arrays. Before long, it appears that one of the arrays needs a costly upgrade. From the array level, where most capacity planning is done, there seems to be no reason why one array has reached capacity faster than the other. But a more detailed look at the pool level shows that the growth trends for one array were different from the other. Rather than investing in an upgrade, all that was needed was to change the workloads.

No one is tracking at the pool level manually, but without monitoring at this level,  IT leaders are leaving themselves open to problems. That’s why VSI helps IT leaders with a tool to do this for you.

The details that appear as a result of doing multi-dimensional capacity planning can offer further insight to IT leaders, helping them avoid surprise purchases, plan accordingly, and get the right storage in the right place at the right time for the right price.

Consolidated Reporting is Essential for Capacity Planning Success

What Else is Needed?

Admittedly, it can be hard for IT teams to monitor and plan with this level of detail. It is time-consuming, takes time away from other critical responsibilities, and sometimes the data is simply unavailable. Moreover, collecting the data isn’t enough; it should be applied through modeling and consolidated alerting in order to plan for your storage environment plan for various storage needs, including new workloads coming in or leaving, new applications, and performance requirements.

Better reporting tools make it easy to perform storage capacity management, enabling IT leaders to be proactive about storage requirements, make smarter, more strategic decisions, and spend limited budget dollars more wisely. VSI helps IT leaders drill down capacity planning and provides flexibility based on your heterogeneous environment. Schedule a demo to talk to a VSI data expert.

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