Advanced capacity planning techniques on data migration

This blogpost starts my series of blogposts regarding advanced capacity planning techniques on data migration. Capacity planning is the most lucrative part of data migration projects. It is not unusual to save up to even 50 - 60% in TCO what comes to your data estate renewal with advanced capacity planning. Savings can be found from areas such as:


  • Intelligent workload consolidation
  • Decreased licensing and hardware costs
  • Simplified SQL Server maintenance
  • Improved availability
  • Better performance
  • Reduced carbon footprint


My background on data migrations and capacity planning

While writing this blog, I have experienced over 50 capacity planning projects for mid-sized to corporate customers and have been patenting and developing SQL Governor software in this field for over 10 years. The biggest distinct environments I have worked with have had 3-digit numbers of SQL Servers and tens of thousands of databases. Now I want to share my knowledge on this. Some of the methods may surprise you – it just works!


During this time, I have learned a lot on data migrations from the capacity planning point of view. I have seen data estates from on-premises to private-, public- and hybrid clouds as well as versatile SQL Server setups in standalone-, clustered- and AG configurations. Servers have been physical, virtualized and hyperconverged. Even though all this may sound simple and straightforward, well - it isn’t. ALL the SQL Server setups and ALL the different data estates have their own specialties, which affect capacity planning methods and the process itself.


What these blogposts are covering

In these blogposts, I will lead you through different data migration methods from the standpoint of capacity planning. In these example scenarios, I will use our SQL Governor software for capacity planning purposes to demonstrate each use case. I will help you to understand the pros and cons of different SQL Server topologies when upgrading / migrating your current SQL Server estate. Each topology model should be analyzed from multiple perspectives such as:


  • Business needs
  • TCO and Time-To-Solution
  • Company politics
  • Data center and architecture
  • Licensing
  • Other technical and technological constraints
  • Non-functional requirements such as performance, availability, and maintainability

As I mentioned earlier on, there are several techniques to implement new SQL Server topology on data migrations. What I have learned is that there is no silver bullet: One method fits for one customer, another for a different customer – and many times – you need to combine several methods. It is good to master at least following capacity planning methods:

  • Scaling up SQL Server
  • Right sizing SQL Server
  • Virtualizing SQL Server
  • SQL Server instance consolidation
  • SQL Server database consolidation
  • Scaling out SQL Server (i.e., dividing workloads)

Each of these beforementioned data migration methods has potentially different impact on your SQL Server estate, also depending whether you are migrating on-premises or into the cloud. I will lead you through the decision process on what, when how and why.

I hope you find this series of blogposts insightful!

Jani K. Savolainen
CEO & Chairman,
SQL Governor