The Art of Capacity Planning

July 05 2011

I just got through reading “The Art of Capacity Planning” by John Allspaw. He is one of the guys that designs and maintains systems for Flickr. This is someone who designed geographically dispersed systems and faced real capacity problems at Flickr. Just to give you an idea: Flickr gets 4 billion database queries per day, stores over 500 million images, and has over 20 million users worldwide. All this experience makes for a great book for anyone who wants to start doing any kind of intelligent capacity planning. It provides a good methodology and workflow for end-to-end capacity planning with many real-life examples. The book also underlines the importance of capacity planning for the cloud, which is often ignored.

Here are some of the topics the book covers:

  • The difference between performance and capacity
  • Determining system requirements and setting goals for capacity
  • How architecture design affects capacity planning and management
  • Vertical and horizontal scaling
  • Importance of measuring and recording systems performance stats on all levels
  • Different capacity tracking tools like Munin, Ganglia and others
  • Application-level monitoring
  • Finding ceilings for different resources like I/O, CPU, web requests, and others
  • Database capacity planning and scaling
  • Predicting resource usage trends based on historical data
  • Fitting curves to determine usage trends for different resources
  • Automated forecasting using tools like Fityk
  • Procurement process and purchase justification
  • Importance of automated deployment systems
  • Virtualization and cloud computing
  • Cloud computing case studies
  • Dealing with instantaneous growth

This book is highly recommended and is a quick read.

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