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1: Agree on a Common Definition of Capacity Planning

Capacity planning means different things to different people. Agreeing on a common, formal definition of the process is key to designing and implementing an effective capacity planning program. Here's an example of such a definition:

A process to predict the types, quantities, and timing of critical resource capacities that are needed within an infrastructure to meet accurately forecasted workloads.


Be careful to distinguish capacity planning, which is a long-range, strategically oriented process, from capacity management, which tends to be a short-term, tactically oriented activity.

A person's perspective plays a key role in capacity planning. For example, a server operating at 60% capacity may be great news to a performance specialist who is trying to optimally tune response times. But to an IT financial analyst trying to optimize resources from a cost standpoint, this may be disturbing news of unused resources and wasted costs. A formal, common definition of capacity planning can help to explain and bridge these two perspectives.

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