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2006 Scalable Systems Architecture: Capacity Planning

A critical part of any application development process is capacity planning. The goal is to build a system that meets your business requirements both now and in the future. For the last 30 years, most of the application development started from size assumption of the application. At most an assumption was made for some procentage of application growth. Classic capacity planning assume the size of the application is relatively stable. Nowadays the the automation process is taking more then the core bussiness process, it involves communication with the customer the internet and ever changing marketing requirements. Just in time processes and the access over the internet, require a variable rapid changing capacity. Load and capacity requirements with scale peak differences of 20 times or more are not uncommon. A single processing infrastructure needs the scalability flexibility in all of its components (CPU, Memory ,Bandwith ,IO storage, applicative bottlenecks ....) The requirements will Quickly exceed todays technology capabilities. Traditional concepts and non-scalable platforms can only be scaled for the maximum possible capacity requirements, pushing infrastucture costs to a maximum.

Service level agremeents as a contract between you and your clients, quantify your goodwill, and service quality towards your customer. Service level agrements often require you to offer warranties even when individual components fail. Resiliance to failures can put the costs to exremes. Globalisation of the bussiness, can add additional requirements to offer a 24H service 7 days a week.

2006 systems require a different architectural approach. The approach involves an overall vieuw if the bussiness where for example spare capacity is is used to fill the peak capacity requirements. Only the overall architecctural approach can warranty the delivery of the required service.

The workload needs to be distributed over the available capacity. A service oriented architecture distributed over a enterprise information bus can help a lot offer the required cpacity and flexibility. The enterprize infrastucture needs an overall concept and should be well chosen to be able to flexibaly addapt to the required needs. So the load can be balanced over the infrasructure components, requiring an optimal cooperation of application design, telecom ,database and installed hardware. The critical factor is not having technical top quality components, but having a view and concept to allow all components to work together. The solution requires an architectural vision and knowledge of capability of all automation components.

The cooperation requires standardisation of the components. Standards allow the design to concenetrate on the capacity problem and not on technical restrictions of 10 different operating systems, compromizing to be able to handle basic cooperation.

The design requires the modularity that separes stable functionalities from functionalities that might change in the future.

A view on what is going to be stable and what is stable can only be given by recognizing the bussiness requirements and business drivers, recognizing the required flexibility and potential business changes Identify design nodes where capacity functionality is concentrated(bottle necks) identify concurrent and simultanious uses. identify actions to be handled within the respondse period .. identify what needs to be handled synchrone or asynchrone with the request. Avoid the need for batch processes that block an immedate response


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