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4: Measure the Current Utilizations of the Resources

The resources identified in cardinal rule #3 should now be measured as to their utilizations or performance. These measurements provide two key pieces of information:

  • A utilization baseline from which future trends can be predicted and analyzed

  • The quantity of excess capacity available for each component

For example, a critical server may be running at an average of 60% utilization during peak periods on a daily basis. These daily figures can be averaged and plotted on a weekly and monthly basis to enable trending analysis.

Resource utilizations are normally measured using several tools, each of which contributes a different component to the overall utilization matrix. One tool may provide processor and disk channel utilizations, another may supply information on disk space utilization, while still another provides insight into how much of that space is actually being used within databases.

This last tool can be very valuable. Databases are often preallocated by database administrators to a size that they feel will support growth over a reasonable period of time. Knowing how full those databases actually are, and how quickly they're filling up, provides a more accurate picture of disk space utilization. In environments where machines are used as database servers, this information is often known only by the database administrators. In these cases, it's important to establish an open dialogue between capacity planners and database administrators and to obtain access to a tool that provides this crucial information.

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