A global Life Sciences company experiencing rapid annual growth of over 90% and generating $20Bn revenue in 2014, recognised that this level of growth was putting significant strain on its IT department.
Existing IT processes were not mature enough to cope with this pace of growth in business demand and regulatory audits had flagged up weaknesses in a number of areas, identifying IT Capacity Planning as a critical IT function which was failing and posing a significant risk to the business.
The issues went deeper. The IT team were responsible for many hundreds of applications, some of which were subject to various healthcare regulations. Rapid growth had meant that these applications were often deployed on shared infrastructure, making it increasingly difficult for the appropriate regulations to be applied.
The company had neither the skillset nor the time in-house to implement and resource the necessary IT capacity planning function.
Why Capacity Planner
The company chose Capacity Planner as a quick and cost effective way of establishing a best-of-breed capacity planning capability. Capacity Planner, as a cloud-based service, delivered everything required without the need to invest in infrastructure or deploy additional agents or tooling.
Capacity Planner Solution
By extracting and analysing operational data from existing sources across the IT estate and measuring the capacity and performance of the services and applications running, Capacity Planner immediately identified a storage unit which was going to run out of capacity four days later, allowing the IT operations management team to avoid a looming issue.
Capacity Planner rapidly became an integrated part of the customer’s overall IT Service Management framework, with Capacity Planner integrating with the company’s IT Service Management Platform, ServiceNow™. This provided a highly automated, end-to-end process where Sumerian Capacity Planner exported predictive capacity events into the ServiceNow™ workflow for action. By identifying trends and patterns in underlying resource usage Capacity Planner could predict when systems would run into capacity issues in the coming weeks and days. These Capacity Events were then exported via Sumerian’s Capacity Planner Event Integration and pushed into ServiceNow™, allowing the IT operations management team to use the same workflow and processes for managing Capacity Events as for other operational issues.
Since the company had no capacity management team as such, Sumerian also provided a virtual capacity team as part of Capacity Planner. Capacity Planner’s flexible engagement model meant its team of expert data analysts could provide regular daily exception reporting and monthly trend reporting and was available, on demand, to assist with modelling complex infrastructure change plans and assessing their risk and impact. For example, assessing the company’s options for transforming its core data centre to deliver class-leading partitioning for regulatory compliance purposes.
In this case, Capacity Planner’s Forward Thinking™ Scenario Modeling was used to simulate four different transformation scenarios. The scenarios were based on 2 different specifications of hardware (their current model of server and a newer version), and applied different migration and right-sizing strategies to meet the established workload resource demand profile while reflecting the different server capabilities. The outcome of the different scenarios was compared to determine which mix of existing and new assets, and which rightsizing strategy, best matched the customer’s desired risk/cost profile.
Outcome and Results
Within the first six months of operation Capacity Planner had already delivered significant value to the company by:
Outage avoidance: Avoiding 7 capacity-related infrastructure outages
Cost avoidance: Identifying a 24% cost-saving opportunity in a data centre reconfiguration