In almost every industry where resources are shared, bookings or reservations systems are used to manage requests and control the allocation and use of resources. Hotels, restaurants, and airlines all rely on reservations systems to ensure the effective use of resources – so that they are neither over nor under-committed. In virtualized infrastructure, the same principles apply. Particularly with the introduction of internal clouds and self-service portals, IT organizations need to find better ways to manage the pipeline of demand: requests for workloads to be placed into virtual and cloud infrastructure.
Think of it this way: in the hospitality industry, a small bed and breakfast with a couple of rooms might get away with logging customer reservations in a journal, but once operations expand or the owners move on to manage a hotel, manual processes and journals make the effective allocation of resources nearly impossible. The ability to quickly confirm availability and make a booking is diminished, let alone accurately project occupancy rates and room requirements.
Managing demand for capacity in virtual and cloud environments is even more complex with the variable nature of workload demands and operational and policy requirements, yet many organizations rely on spreadsheets and equivalents to log requests. Beyond keeping a basic log, they really have no way of using that information to accurately determine availability of capacity, reserve it or even accurately forecast infrastructure requirements. The only way IT can ensure it has enough capacity in these environments is to buy way too much of it.
And the problem is only going to get worse as virtual infrastructure grows — app owners want faster responses to requests and threaten to take their apps “elsewhere” (to external clouds) if they don’t get what they want.
Andrew Hillier, Cirba’s CTO and co-founder recently published an article on the topic in Data Center Journal that outlines why a reservation system for IT is so critical in managing virtual and cloud environments – not just to be more responsive to the business, but also to accurately forecast capacity requirements. If you’re up for a deeper dive on the topic, check out Cirba’s white paper Capacity Reservations Systems for IT.
We would love to hear how you are tackling this challenge!