IT Infrastructure Insights

Customer Impact: Predicting Future Capacity

Jan 27, 2020

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Capacity Planning

Every week VSI reviews each customer environment and sends email and reports summarizing the findings, trends, and specific issues of interest.

VSI not only provides reports and analysis, it also provides predictive analytics to proactively project when potential capacity upgrades will be needed, when performance bottlenecks will occur, and even potential outages based on error trends and other device specific data.  Clients don’t even need to sign on to the application to get these application benefits because VSI proactively sends emails with the results of its analysis every week.

Predicting Future Capacity: Upgrade required or NOT?

Predicting future capacity is pretty straight forward when the upgrades are expected, but not quite as clear when the projections are not within budget or somehow not believable. It is just as important to project when upgrades may not be needed.

– Unplanned growth – Capacity needed earlier than expected

– Changes in Data reduction rations – Additional Capacity Needed

– Data reduction changes – no capacity needed

We saw all of these in various customers in 2019. The most typical is unplanned growth on devices supporting unstructured data (Isilon or NetApp).  These are the lower cost storage arrays for which the customer is not paying attention to the growth on a specific platform or at a specific location.  VSI reports usage and projects trends by device, data center and device classification out for the next 6 months.  In one case the customers unstructured data platform was growing at 100 TB/month and the projection was within the next 6 months the customer would need additional capacity.

The customer was unaware and for the first 2 months did not believe that to be true until after each 1 month review the projected 100 TB/month trend continued.   VSI saved the $100,000 on their storage purchase. “VSI saved us $100,000 on our storage upgrade because we knew how much we needed and by when.  We were able to negotiate with the vendor and partner to save $100,000 in excess costs we would have paid had we not begun the process when VSI told us.”

The next 2 use cases are even more interesting:  In case 1 the customers had a large Data Domain environment and as their arrays began to fill up their data reduction ratios got better and better. The customer was showing over 70% used on each array -but every week the data reduction savings were greater than the increase in used storage – this show the customer was storing more and getting more free space – and situation every customer would love to experience. The customer avoided a capacity upgrade in 2019 all together – $200,000 savings.  “We changed our executives’ confidence in our planning and management process because we clearly showed we know how to effectively manage IT assets.”  Saving money by not buying upgrades that are not needed!!

Finally, there is the case of a PURE storage array customer not thinking they needed to upgrade because their used storage was growing very slowly so how is it possible to need more capacity.  The issue was the data reduction ratios were worsening much more rapidly than storage growth so the effectively capacity line was getting lower and lower.  The were treating PURE like any other array but since data compression and deduplication are automatic their effective capacity changes.  In this case the effective capacity line was being reduce weekly until used storage was > 80% of effective capacity.  The customer reaction was “Thank goodness we had VSI otherwise we would never have known we would need a storage upgrade – no one else seemed to have this type of analysis that helps us manage our PURE arrays more effectively”