The availability of capacity and performance management skills for horizontally scaled architectures will be a major constraint or risk to growth for 80 percent of major businesses by 2016, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
Agile infrastructures demand that infrastructure and operations (I&O) managers acquire the performance management skills present only in Web-scale IT, and while major organizations will need to maintain and sustain their conventional capacity-planning skills and tools, they will also need to regularly re-evaluate the tools available.
Businesses will also need to make a special effort to acquire and grow the capacity and performance management skills that are rarely evident outside the Web-scale IT community, the report said.
Gartner research director Ian Head said to take advantage of Web-scale IT approaches to capacity and performance management, IT architects need to fully embrace stateless application architectures and horizontally scaling infrastructure architectures.
"Organizations managing such services need the ability to rapidly assign and de-assign resources to each service, as well as the ability to scale linearly and continuously as more resources are added or removed," Head said in a statement. "They also need high levels of resiliency that will allow sections of the infrastructure to fail without bringing the services down. Designing the underlying infrastructure for horizontal scalability, high degrees of fault-tolerance and rapid, incremental change is a key prerequisite for effective Web-scale operations."
Gartner predicts that through 2017, 25 percent of enterprises will use demand shaping for capacity planning and management, a significant increase from less than one percent in 2014.
Demand shaping enables finite infrastructure resources to maintain their vital always-on character with acceptable, if not consistent, performance experiences across the entire user base.
Although adding additional central processing units (CPUs), memory and storage to a monolithic server has been the traditional, vertical way of scaling up applications while capacity planning has traditionally been developed with the goal of forecasting the requirements for a vertical scaling approach, vertical architectures and approaches have limited scalability.
This makes vertical architectures unsuitable for hyperscaling, and for service capacity to expand seamlessly to extremely large scales, different approaches are required, the report said.
"Traditional capacity-planning tools enable I&O organizations to gather data from various sources, including monitoring tools and, possibly, business demand forecasts, then produce trending, utilization and investment forecast information, taking into account several different scenarios," Head continued. "The different architectures and the huge scale of the Web-scale IT organizations make traditional, highly focused tools of limited utility. Demand shaping requires more and different functionality than current off-the-shelf tools provide."