Simplified Capacity Planning Tool (CPT) -- please!

Idea created by Avitale on Mar 30, 2016
    New
    Score170
    Recently I have been tasked with making recommendations and requests to the server specifications for the servers supporting GIS operations in my enterprise.  More specifically I was asked to come up with recommended server specs (# of cores, RAM, etc.) that could be reasonably changed to alleviate frequent server and ArcGIS service crashes that have been occurring recently.  I reached out to ESRI Support for some brief assistance and my conversations were very useful, informative and productive.  In my research, I was led to the Capacity Planning Tool, part of the System Design Strategies series on wiki.gis.com (http://wiki.gis.com/wiki/index.php/System_Design_Strategies). 

    While I know that the Capacity Planning Tool (CPT) is a wonderful (if not imperative!) tool in designing your GIS implementation in light of your users' needs, hardware capabilities, network capabilities, etc., it is also exceptionally complex and very cumbersome to use for even a skilled and accomplished GIS professional.  Given ESRI's recent (and commendable) paradigm shift to refocus the ability of GIS professionals to configure and take more ownership of their data and applications we serve, it seems contradictory that this tool (which could be amazingly useful in a variety of ways for IT and GIS professionals alike) has not followed suit.  If we (the GIS people, not the hardcore IT people) are going to be put in positions where we have to make recommendations where this tool is required to be used, it only makes sense that this tool be made to be useable for us as well.  I have to do the same thing in the applications I build and ultimately support, why would this tool be any different?  Even the ESRI recommended preparatory course to use the CPT represents significant time and expense (3-days and $1605).  I don’t believe I should be required to spend that kind of time and money to use such a tool.  This process should be a bit simpler. 

    This is not to say I’m looking for the tool to be "dumbed down", or to be re-engineered in such a way that the answers it yields are no longer relevant because certain factors have been "cut out" or over simplified.  Rather, maybe the interface can be made friendlier to the intelligent GIS / non-hardcore IT professional.  Otherwise, the alternative is to have the responsibility of making such recommendations remain in the hands of the hardcore IT staff.  While I don’t object to this, this is not the way both of our industries are going (as referenced to the aforementioned ESRI paradigm-shift, which is mirrored by the IT industry as a whole as well). 

    In short, I ask that ESRI continue to put relevant and useful tools in the hands of the correct professionals they want using them for the right reasons.  But would it be possible to re-engineer these tools to be more useful for their intended audiences?