VMware Capacity Planner Overview

VMware Capacity Planner is a business and IT capacity planning tool for the datacenter and desktop that provides an integrated set of analysis, planning and decision support functions to enable faster, measurable and more accurate infrastructure assessment services.



  • Faster, more accurate, benchmarked datacenter and desktop capacity assessments and planning.
  • Improved visibility of complex datacenter and desktop environments.
  • Increased productivity, reduced complexity and improved predictability of datacenter and desktop infrastructure.

Standard Approaches to Capacity Planning


To make good decisions about capacity planning and server consolidation one needs to know what capacity is currently present.

  • How many servers are available in your organization
  • How much capacity (resources) is available in your organization: processor, memory, storage, network

Availability and Utilization of Current Capacity

Obtain a detailed understanding of the available and used capacity (processor, memory, storage and network). The data should be correlated to obtain a useful picture.

Server CPU% Utilization
A 10%
B 20%
C 30%
D 40%
Overall performance 25%

Uncorrelated data

Server CPU% Utilization CPU Capacity Utilization
A 10% 3000 MHz 300 MHz
B 20% 1500 MHz 300 MHz
C 30% 500 MHz 150 MHz
D 40% 200 MHz 80 MHz
Overall performance 5200 MHz 830 MHz

Correlated data The correlated data shows more opportunity for server consolidation, revealing that the capacity utilization is only 16 percent. The analysis based on percentage of CPU utilization alone was distorted by the fact that older, slower CPUs were being used more intensively than newer, faster CPUs.

Utilization Variation over Time

Calculating average utilization has some value, but it is more important to know peak hour utilization. Peak utilization will differ within a 24-hour period based on the types of users, applications on the server, scheduled maintenance, batch processing and so forth. The peak hour is the 1-hour in the 24-hour period that has the highest average utilization. Average utilization is calculated using data collected between for example 07:00h and 19:00h or for the entire 24-hour period. The difference between these two metrics is significant.

Determine how to consolidate

After all the necessary and relevant information has been obtained, the most important step follows: using this information to recommend changes that will consolidate the environment in an effective yet manageable way. Several considerations should be addressed to achieve this goal:

  • Optimize the performance of your applications. For example, any of the following conditions can lead to excessive resource usage:
    • Poorly configured storage resources
    • Excessive virus scanning on Exchange systems
    • Bad index design on SQL server systems
    • Excessive logon processing in Citrix environments
  • Which workloads can be combined based upon predicted total resource utilization. This depends on the resource utilization of each original server as well as thresholds for usage based upon factors such as peak load.
  • Which servers are too obsolete to maintain, and what server hardware can be purchased in order to achieve a net consolidation gain.
  • Which workloads should be consolidated onto a particular system? Some people are tempted to stack multiple virtualized servers running the same application into a single ESX server system. This approach limits the consolidation opportunity, because similar applications compete for the same resources. One needs to determine what resources each application requires, match applications that demand different resource allocations to maximize virtualization opportunity


  • Evaluate the demand placed on various servers at different times of the day


VMware Capacity Planner


VMware Capacity Planner is designed to collect and analyze the data you need to plan an effective server consolidation project. At the heart of VMware Capacity Planner is a unique Information Warehouse, which houses a constantly growing set of industry reference data that is used to drive intelligent, benchmarked IT capacity recommendations. With VMware Capacity Planner you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • How many servers do we have?
  • How well are we utilizing them?
  • What is the right amount of capacity
  • What are the options and what is the best recommendation?
  • How else can we better optimize our environment?


VMware Capacity Planner enables to conduct comprehensive assessments of your existing infrastructure to assess how much IT capacity currently exists and how well this capacity is being utilized. Agent-less implementation ensures discovery and inventory of all hardware and software assets, providing a complete view of the IT infrastructure. VMware Capacity Planner then correlates key performance metrics with inventory data to generate server load profiles. This information enables you to analyze and evaluate how well current capacities are being utilized.


VMware Capacity Planner enables you to develop an effective capacity optimization plan so you can determine exactly how much IT capacity you will need, considering current and future business needs. VMware Capacity Planner enables you to analyze capacity utilization metrics, predict capacity needs, forecast utilization trends and compare your data against industry benchmarks.


During the modeling phase, VMware Capacity Planner enables you to evaluate the various alternatives generated in the planning phase. You van use scenario modeling to test alternatives including purchase planning, virtualization and server consolidation. You can alos conduct what-if scenarios for consolidation based on different groupings, thresholds, target servers, and other factors.


VMware Capacity Planner helps you continuously compare resource utilization against benchmarked thresholds to ensure ongoing capacity optimization. You can provide periodic reports to monitor current capacity utilization and compare them to industry benchmarks in order to detect anomalies in utilization. Automated alerts and monitoring capabilities enable you to detect deviations in utilization trends, predict capacity problems, and make timely troubleshooting and optimization recommendations. You can continue to take advantage of VMware Capacity Planner capabilities to ensure that you are able to manage unexpected or planned changes in capacity requirements and utilization over time.

How VMware Capacity Planner works

VMware Capacity Planner is a web-based application that combines inventory and utilization data. It gathers data without the need for agents installed on target systems. It then generates optimization recommendations, enables modeling for server consolidation and virtualization projects, and provides ongoing capacity planning decision support. The key components of VMware Capacity Planner are:

  • The data Collector
  • The Data Manager
  • The Data Analyzer
  • The Information Warehouse
  • The VMware Capacity Planner Dashboard

Data Collector

The Data Collector discovers and inventories information from all the computers on your network or from only a subset that you want to evaluate. No software or agents is installed on any server. The Data Collector runs on a single server and all collections are executed using remote procedure calls. Network impact is minimal and CPU load on the targeted server is less than 1 percent.

Data Manager

The Data Manager provides an organized view of the collected information and administrative control for the Data Collector. This includes detailed and summary views and reports on all discovered objects, collected inventory and monitored performance information. The Data Manager also includes data synchronization capability that is used to send sterilized, anonymous data in the form of CSV files over HTTPS to the Information Warehouse.

Information Warehouse

The Information Warehouse is a central data warehouse hosted at VMware where collected client data is sent and stored. The Information Warehouse includes industry benchmark and research data derived from hundreds of VMware Capacity Planner client sites. The data is not client-specific.

Data Analyzer

The Data Analyzer servers as the core analytical engine that processes all the analysis required for intelligent capacity planning. It combines inventory and performance data to develop server load profiles and calculate insightful utilization metrics.

VMware Capacity Planner Dashboard

The VMware Capacity Planner Dashboard is a web-based hosted application that delivers a rich set of IT infrastructure analysis and capacity planning capabilities to users. Reports provided with the Dashboard range from inventory, performance and utilization reports to advanced analyses that enable you to run what-if scenarios and generate intelligent capacity optimization recommendations.

Rigorous Information Collection

The Data Collector component of VMware Capacity Planner discovers servers and desktops by name and operating system within minutes. Over the next few hours, VMware Capacity Planner collects a detailed inventory of all servers and desktops. VMware Capacity Planner collects more than 40 core performance statistics plus additional relevant statistics for specific applications from the 4 main data groups of processor, memory, storage and network utilization. VMware Capacity Planner collects data every hour and calculates peak hour utilization in the 24-hour day. After several weeks, it identifies utilization for the busiest hour in the week. VMware Capacity Planner maintains a summary for the most recent 4 weeks of performance statistics.

Get an Assessment of your Datacenter today

Services based on VMware Capacity Planner are available through VMware Professional Services or VMware partners who are trained on VMware Capacity Planner and authorized to deliver assessment services. You can request a VMware Capacity Planner Assessment here. Currently, the VMware Capacity Planner product can be leveraged to offer high-value assessment services for the datacenter or desktop environments, such as:

  • Consolidation Estimates (CE): Optimized for conducting presales sizing estimates of a customer’s datacenter or desktop environment, CEs provide guidance on what can be achieved via virtualization and consolidation assessments. CEs offer a simplified, guided workflow for VMware Capacity Planner with a defined methodology and process for sales professionals to conduct more sizing and lead generation activity.
  • Capacity Assessments (CA): Optimized for Consultants and Professional Services organizations that want to conduct a deep-dive analysis into a customer’s datacenter or desktop environments. CAs provide a detailed roadmap on how customers can achieve an optimized, virtualized datacenter. Capacity Assessments show the implementation blueprint for actualizing the “to-be” state of the datacenter or desktop.