Forward Thinking Overview

Overview

Forward Thinking enables you to simulate future changes to your IT infrastructure, and plan for hypothetical what-if scenarios.

This gives you a fast and accurate way to evaluate the impact of changes to your IT infrastructure, so you can build up a timeline of tactical actions to successfully align your IT with your business needs. Based on this, you can then run reports to help you share the results with customers and stakeholders.

With Forward Thinking, you can answer questions such as, “We're running a new marketing campaign for the season—how much new kit do we need to process the extra orders?”, and "When will this host run out of memory and require an upgrade?".

Forward Thinking scenarios allow you to add a time line to the sunburst view, which allows you to chart your infrastructure changes as you make them in your different scenarios.

What is a scenario?

A Forward Thinking scenario is the combination of a Baseline View, your goal for the IT infrastructure that view represents, plus a list of operations to change that view to be able to meet that goal. It is where you represent the changes that are required in the IT infrastructure you want to change. Saved within Capacity Planner, it is a reference that you can revisit to get it to a perfect state for your needs.

You build a scenario by adding operations to a timeline to simulate future actions which you might take to improve your IT infrastructure. Examples of operations are migrations, upgrades, and decommissioning of existing entities. You can then review the progression of each Forward Thinking scenario along the timeline.

What is a sunburst?

For more information about the meaning of rings and segments, see Sunburst in Application Interface.

The central part of the screen is where your Baseline View or Forward Thinking scenario is visualised. We refer to this chart as the sunburst.

Graphically, the sunburst is divided into the following elements:

  • Rings — represent groupings and can be rearranged.
  • Segments — rings are divided into segments, each segment represents a grouping value.
  • Centre circle — a segment of its own, with details that can be viewed just like any other segment.
  • Small circles around the sunburst — represent your workloads.

Colours of the elements on the sunburst carry particular meaning . For more information, see Sunburst Colours.

What are operations?

Operations are simulated future actions that you make to your IT infrastructure. When you apply operations to the scenario in Forward Thinking, you create a new model of how that scenario will look if you implemented it at that point.

When building your scenarios, you can work step by step by applying individual changes to the initial state of your Baseline View.

Types of operations you can make include the following:

  • Adding or removing hosts or workloads
  • Transferring physical machines
  • Migrating workloads
  • Right-sizing workloads
  • Upgrading hosts
  • Adding data stores
  • Adding or setting demand to application tiers
  • Load balancing

Each operation you perform on the sunburst is added to the operations list and to the timeline with a coloured indicator. For more information about the timeline, see Timeline.

Data always up to date

Each Scenario is kept up to date with your data, as long as the Baseline View from which it was created has no upper date boundary. Any new data you add to your project is played through the list of operations in each of your saved scenarios.

Capacity Planner ensures that any hosts and VMs in a scenario will have their data moved in step with the list of operations you create. For example, migrations stay migrated, upgrades stay upgraded, and decommissions stay decommissioned.

Reporting

Use your Forward Thinking scenario model to generate a report of what the estate used to be with a comparison of what it will be. Reports contain a breakdown of how each change affects the estate, and highlights where the benefits come from. You can show your customers and stakeholders exactly what you intend to change, why, and what the benefits will be.

You can create as many reports as you need for each scenario you build.

For more information, see Scenario Reports.

Interface

The interface of Baseline View and Forward Thinking is very similar. Most of the visible elements are the same, but the interactions with these elements may be different.

For more information, see Application Interface.