Stakeholders and the Design

By | September 24, 2014

Associate a stakeholder with the information that needs to be collected:

This information should always be passed on to you from the business you are working with.  In some companies, smaller cooperation for instance do not understand who are the stake holder.  They have a hard time finding who is the correct person in the business who knows about this applications/servers.  So you organize a meeting with the stakeholders.

People you will need to speak to will include:

  • C-Level executives
  • Application Owners
  • Business Unites
  • Users – They will understand the operation of the application. (Speed and processing times)
  • Server Team
  • Storage Team
  • Network Team
  • Security Team
  • Compliance Team

I have always tried to acquire two critical pieces of information out of these meetings at a minimum. The aligned business stakeholder, and an SME (subject matter expert). Then I ensure these people are listed in the design along with their title or role, email addresses, and other contact information.


Utilise customer inventory and assessment data from their current environment and define a baseline state:

VMware has produced a 5 step design methodology which should always be followed.

  1. Initial Design Meeting – scope, goals, requirements, constraints. Who should be invited.
  2. Current State Analysis – complete datacenter inventory, virtualization candidates, tools, constraints and assumptions.
  3. Stakeholder and SME training – educate SME’s who can help make informed design decisions
  4. Design Sessions – allow for design decisions with stakeholders/SMEs to be made so there are no surprises later on
  5. Design Deliverables – documentation to include: capacity analysis, hosts, vCenter servers, clusters, networks, storage, monitoring, patching, backup, restore, DR/BC, security, installation, operations, scalability, support, logical, physical.

These five steps were pulled from a #vBrownbag slide.

Analyse customer interview data to explicitly define customer objectives for a conceptual design:

The conceptual design focuses on achieving the organisations business goals and requirements. It will be the first design that is created, and will be high level based on:

  • The information gathered from key stakeholder and SME interviews (scope, goals, requirements, assumptions, constraints)
  • The information gathered from the current state analysis

This design will not be detailed.  You will only use general terms.  SAN, switches, servers, etc.


Identify and apply requirements tracking:

A good design will document all requirements. The requirements should be allocated with an unique identifier (for example, R01. Ro2 etc) which should be proceeded with a description of the requirement, the source of the requirement, an approval date and a priority. The design should will need to reference these requirements and show they have been met.

Identify requirements for a conceptual design:

The purpose of the conceptual design is to satisfy the business goals and objectives. You must be able to define all the entities of the organisation. These entities could be a user, a service, an application a process, or an entire line of business. Entities can be anyone or anything affected by the design project and that have goals, requirements and constraints.

The conceptual design associates the goals and requirements to these specific entities then defines which capability will be employed to reach the goal and/or satisfy the requirement. Generally the conceptual design is documented with a series of diagrams, tables and text. This design has more detail.  You can start to use brands os systems.  You will not be documenting down the the ports.

Make use of VMware Capacity Planner to gather information for a current state analysis is you have access to this software. The following analysis need to be includes:

  • Detail on current server, storage and network platforms
  • Detail on current applications and operating system levels
  • Detail on resource consumption
  • Detail on resource performance
  • Once the current state analysis is complete, envision the design. This is often easier to do with a diagram and/or whiteboard.

Categorise requirements by infrastructure qualities to prepare for logical design requirements:

The logical design will follow after the conceptual design. The logical design will show how to arrange hosts, storage and network components. The logical design will be useful for understanding and evaluating the design of the infrastructure. The logical design includes the relationship between all major infrastructure components.

The logical design will be based on the information documented in the conceptual design and will include all the constrains and risks. When risks exist, they should be communicated to the business along with a recommended remediation to help enable a decision to be made.

When creating the logical design be aware of the capacity analysis, although the logical design doesn’t normally include item specifics such as, LUN sizes, CPU count, memory required etc. Also, the logical design does not specify details of specific hardware, port details or FC zones. The logical design will illustrate how the design will meet the goals and requirements established by the business.

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