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Guerrilla Capacity Planning: A Tactical Approach to Planning for Highly Scalable Applications and Services

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In these days of shortened fiscal horizons and contracted time-to-market schedules, traditional approaches to capacity planning are often seen by management as tending to inflate their production schedules. Rather than giving up in the face of this kind of relentless pressure to get things done faster, Guerrilla Capacity Planning facilitates rapid forecasting of capacity requirements based on the opportunistic use of whatever performance data and tools are available in such a way that management insight is expanded but their schedules are not.

A key Guerrilla concept is tactical planning whereby short-range planning questions and projects are brought up in team meetings such that management is compelled to know the answer, and therefore buys into capacity planning without recognizing it as such. Once you have your "foot in the door", capacity planning methods can be refined in an iterative cycle of improvement called "The Wheel of Capacity Planning". Another unique Guerrilla tool is Virtual Load Testing, based on Dr. Gunther's "Universal Law of Computational Scaling", which provides a highly cost-effective method for assessing application scalability.

This book is based largely on the material used in the professional training course of the same name. Currently, the Guerrilla Capacity Planning (GCaP) classes are usually conducted every calendar quarter by Performance Dynamics Educational Services (www.perfdynamics.com) in Pleasanton, California. The same course has also been taught privately at such international organizations as: Amdahl Corporation, AT&T Wireless, Boeing Companies, Federal Express, Peter Harding and Associates (Australia), Sun Microsystems (USA and France), System Administrators Guild of Australia, and Thales Naval (Holland).

Some of the material originates from 1997, when I began teaching a similar class under the title Practical Performance Methods, at the Stanford University Western Institute for Computer Science summer extension program. My class replaced a similar one that had been taught jointly for many years by Ed Lazowska, Ken Sevcik, and John Zahorjan. Their course and the accompanying book (Lazowska et al. 1984) (now out of print) has provided much inspiration for all my books. Sadly, while writing this book, I learned that Ken Sevcik had passed away.

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