Microsoft Capacity Planner hits beta milestone

Software that helps IT administrators monitor performance and plan for system deployments is closer to shipping. The System Center Capacity Planner 2006 went into beta last week.

A tool that helps IT administrators predict system bottlenecks and quicken user response times hit a milestone last week with the release of its first public test run.

The beta for the System Center Capacity Planner 2006 started last week. The tool uses modeling technology for the process of performance analysis and planning of system deployments for applications like Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Operations Manager, the company said.

Microsoft released the Capacity Planner, which was also once known by the code-name Indy, at the Microsoft Management Summit earlier this year as System Center Capacity Manager 2005 Express Edition 1.0.

It was originally supposed to be delivered separately from System Center Capacity Manager. Microsoft said this is still the plan, though the name was changed "to distinguish where in the application lifecycle the product provides the most value," the company said.

Tools for capacity planning are useful in large enterprises, particularly when there are more than 1,000 users per server and performance matters, said Lee Benjamin, a consultant at ExchangeGuy Consulting in Boston.

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"With fewer than 500 users per server, performance isn't so much an issue, but when you get to more than 1,000 users, it really does make a difference," he said.

What's important now is not to tune for users but for what kind of users and the number of [input/output operations per second], Benjamin said.

The tool lets users proactively plan so that they can keep service-level goals consistent. IT administrators can also use the tool to help plan the correct amount of infrastructure needed for new applications.

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