Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner 2007 is designed to help IT professionals design an optimal architecture that meets their capacity and service level goals of their Microsoft Exchange Server deployment. A capacity model is a recommended hardware and software architecture based on information you specify in Capacity Planner. Capacity Planner 2007 offers the following capabilities to help you plan your implementation:

Capacity Planner Features

You build and adjust your capacity model by using the following Capacity Planner features:

  • Capacity Planner Model Wizard

    • To enter basic information about the infrastructure

  • Capacity Planner Model Editor

    • To refine and enhance the infrastructure

  • Capacity Planner Simulation

    • To verify and review recommended infrastructure

  • Capacity Planner Hardware Editor

    • To modify device and computer configurations that are part of the infrastructure

Capacity Planner Model Wizard

You create your initial capacity model by entering summary information in the Model Wizard, and later you can refine information about your infrastructure by using the Capacity Planner Model Editor.

You use the Model Wizard pages to specify the following information:

  • Site and network information

  • Number of users (for Exchange Server)

  • Typical, or average usage

  • Hardware preference

  • Application-specific information, such as high availability and or clustering

  • Model summary that Capacity Planner generates

After you specify your desired topology and expected application usage in the Model Wizard, the wizard generates a model that is based on your input. When you save the model, it is stored as a compressed binary file with a .sam file name extension. At this point, you can either run a simulation of the model or use the Model Editor to refine the model.

Capacity Planner Model Editor

By adding, removing, or modifying objects such as sites, servers, usage profiles, and network connections, you can use the Capacity Planner Model Editor to refine and validate a capacity model that you have already created. You can also use the Model Editor to export information generated by Capacity Planner to Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio.

To export to Excel, you must have already run a simulation.

The Model Editor provides two views of your model: the Global Topology view and the Office Topology view. Using these views, you can edit sites, user groups, networks, and servers and their relationships to one another. You can easily zoom in or out of a given view, and you can view topologies by using different routing display selections available on the toolbar. Routing views display objects in different formats.

The Model Editor also provides the Model Summary page, which lists the topology, application roles, number of users in a site, servers, and hardware used by a server in your capacity model.

Capacity Planner Simulation

After you create a model by using the Model Wizard or refine it by using the Model Editor, you can run a simulation of the model to get utilization and latency performance data for your deployment. When you run the simulation, the elapsed time of the simulation is displayed and any needed simulation adjustments are listed.

If simulation adjustments are required, you can use the Model Editor to modify the capacity model. When the simulation is complete, you can use the displayed results to determine whether resources are over-utilized or under-utilized or whether transactions have high or low latencies. All results are measured against threshold settings in the simulation results summary page.

Capacity Planner Hardware Editor

You can use the Capacity Planner Hardware Editor to view, edit, and add computer and device configurations to your capacity model. Computer and device configurations are used in the Model Editor to represent hardware that you are planning to purchase and might want to deploy. Although Capacity Planner includes many predefined configurations in its library, you will probably have to define a configuration that more closely represents hardware configurations in use or planned for use in your deployment. After you have added or modified computer or device configurations and when you navigate away from the Hardware Editor, you are prompted to save your changes to the hardware library.

See Also