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I work as a Solution Architect, and I'd like to get some support in sizing hardware for (mainly) bespoke applications (some COTS as well).

The recommended sizing for any given project is usually done by someone else, but I'd like to be able to verify the sizings myself (sometimes the sizings are from vendors); or be able to provide a ball-park sizing when "kite flying" new ideas.

Ideally I'd like a tool (exe or website is fine) that I could plug various parameters into and get a rough answer. Alternatively, any guidance on how to "manually" come up with a decent sizing.

Bonus points for useful info that takes virtualisation into account.

I know to do this isn't trival.

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As you've most likely discovered, Google will have all sorts of suggestions on sizing tools for whatever type of application/server/storage/etc you're looking at. Most ever vendor (whether hardware or software) has some sort of estimation application you can use. Sure, given good information, they may be able to get you into the ballpark as far as how much hardware you'll need. In order to get closer than that, though, you just need to rely on experience and a "sixth sense" that comes with working in the infrastructure business.

tl;dr: While hardware sizing apps may get you a very rough estimate of the needs of a certain app, there are far too many variables to consider. Raw experience and intuition are needed to go the last mile.

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Thanks - I guess I'm a bit screwed then, I definatley don't have the sixth sense as far as sizing goes! I come from a software development background not an infrastructure one. I assume I just need to spend lots of time on projects - and pay special attention to sizing discussions, etc. –  Adrian K Jun 29 '10 at 0:47
    
Yeah, it is more of a black art than a science. The number of variables are huge. We had one home grown app that went live with what was thought to be 25% overage of needed hardware. It was nowhere near enough. We doubled the CPU/memory and it still was not enough. We doubled them again, and it was then OK. 6 months later the developers realized their build script still had all the debugging code live. When this got turned off, we were able to remove 2/3 to 3/4 of the hardware. Good luck. –  Kevin K Jun 29 '10 at 1:34
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