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Five steps to capacity planning, step 4

Step 4: Identify opportunities to consolidate

I'm sure that some readers would argue with me on this point, but I have always believed that when you address the issue of capacity planning, it is also a good time to look for possible opportunities to consolidate servers.

Having more servers means you customer is spending more money. I'm not talking just about licensing costs, although that is also an issue. Each server on the network represents a substantial investment. There's the initial cost of the hardware and the ongoing costs of maintenance for that server. If it looks as though your capacity planning is going to lead to additional hardware purchases, it sometimes makes sense to spend a little bit extra and buy servers that are each powerful enough to take the place of two or more existing servers.

Of course, you must keep in mind that server consolidation is not always a good thing. When it comes to your customer's infrastructure, it is important to have some redundancy for file tolerant reasons. For example, it might be perfectly acceptable to consolidate an internal DNS server and a domain controller onto the same physical server, but you probably would not want to perform a consolidation that reduced the number of domain controllers or the number of DNS servers on the network.

Capacity planning step-by-step guide

  Step 1: Meet with executive management
  Step 2: Determine how well existing hardware is meeting the company's needs
  Step 3: Determine the company's future needs
  Step 4: Identify opportunities to consolidate
  Step 5: Determine whether the existng infrastructure can support anticipated growth

Brien Posey
About the author
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as the CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at .

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