CIRBA announced Version 5.1 of its virtualization capacity management tool on Jan. 28, 2009. I'll be reviewing CIRBA 5.1, and here's why. As virtual infrastructure pervades the data center, capacity planning--along with other management tasks--will rise in importance for maintaining cost-effective operations. Today it's easy to say, "We'll buy fewer physical machines than we did last year." At some point, new hardware will be needed to support new virtual systems, and information will be needed to decide how much new equipment to buy.
I've been interested in CIRBA since I saw a demonstration of the CIRBA Placement Intelligence Technology package at VMworld 2008. At that time I thought it was one of the 10 most interesting products represented on the expo floor.
In 2009 it's likely that another factor will come into play for capacity planning decisions: the cloud. Some new virtualization will be suitable for operation outside of a central data center. Capacity planning will likely be needed even in this arena in order to negotiate the best rates with cloud providers. Knowing roughly how much compute power will be needed will be especially important depending on the overage rates.
For those application workloads that stay in the enterprise data center, capacity planning (and from my early look this appears to be in the 30- to 90-day range; I'll let you know if my testing reveals the ability to forecast beyond three months) will regain the mundane but important role it had just a few short years ago when physical servers alone roamed the planet.
If you're a current CIRBA user, or someone who is considering CIRBA products, I'd like to hear from you. If you're using a different capacity planning tool, feel free to drop me a line as well.