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A Practical Approach to Capacity Modelling

Links to Modeling Tools

Here are the links I have found to modeling tools, both simulation and analytic, and modeling information. Some I have used, some I have read about and others look interesting but I haven't any first hand information about them. The comments are strickly my opinions and are focused on how useful I think the tools are for modeling computer systems and applications. My main interest when looking at each tool is it's usefulness for The Simalytic Modeling Technique. Please look at each tool in view of your own situation and requirements. Many of these companies have very good academic and research programs. All information presented here was accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time I collected it, but I make NO guarantees! Comments or additions are welcome.


Books on Modeling

The Practical Performance Analyst: Performance-By-Design Techniques for Distributed Systems (McGraw-Hill Series on Computer Communications) by Neil J. Gunther. 1998. McGraw Hill Text; ISBN: 0079129463

Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling; From Mainframes to Client-Server Systems by Daniel A. Menasce, Larry W. Dowdy, Virgilio A. F. Almeida, Lawrence W. Dowdy. 1994. Prentice Hall; ISBN: 0130354945

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General Purpose Modeling Tools


Developed for the manufacturing industry but very usable for other types of models, such as computer systems. Supports connections to Visual Basic and Excel (really any DDE application) and does nice on-screen animation.

Simul8 Corporation (formerly Visual Thinking International Ltd)

Windows 3.1, Windows NT & Win95 ($495)


Developed for the manufacturing industry. Might be usable for computer systems, but the demo I used would not allow models to be saved (check for yourself to see if that is still the case), so I did not do much with it.

PROMODEL Corporation

Downloadable demo, runs on 3.1 & NT ($$$$)


Specific client/server modeling tool. Somewhat of a steep learning curve and the tool requires a "dongle" on the parallel port (caused me some problems with other applications). It allows a quick analytic solution to the same model that can be simulated, but this is not very useful because many of the most useful features are only supported in the simulation mode (and will disable the analytic solution feature). It is one of only two tools that I know of to specifically target client/server applications (see SES below).

AST Engineering Services, Inc.

Runs on MAC, Win95 and Windows NT ($$$)

SES/workbench and SES/strategizer

Workbench is a general purpose simulation tool that can be used for complex models (extended using C). A Windows NT version should be out soon.

Unix/X-windows ($$$$)

Strategizer is a specific client/server modeling tool. Very Windows "friendly" and easy to learn. Uses a scripting approach to describing application behavior that fits very well with modeling applications (not as useful for modeling the hardware view). It is one of only two tools that I know of to specifically target client/server applications (see Qase above)

Windows NT (not recommended but will run on Win95) ($$$)

SES - Scientific and Engineering Software


A library of C routines for use in constructing process-oriented, discrete-event simulation models (requires developing a simulation program using the libraries).

Mesquite Software



Tools developed for SPE (Software Performance Engineering); understanding performance during software design. Does both analytic (MVA) and simulation (CSIM) for different views of an application. Very useful for modeling the early stages of software designs to insure the application will meet the required performance goals. User interface was originally developed on the Mac and it is awkward for Windows users.

Runs on MAC, Win95 and Windows NT ($)

Performance Engineering Services


Developed for the manufacturing industry, but looks interesting for computer systems and applications. I have not had a chance to look at it in depth. Comments welcome.

Imagine That, Inc.

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Platform Specific Modeling Tools

PRO-SIM and Athene

Pro-Sim is a simulation tool and Athene is a platform-centric tool. I have had limited experience with these tools (and it was some time ago). UNIX/NT/MVS/VME ($$$?)

Metron Technology Limited


Platform-centric tool that include data collection for each of the platforms for performance analysis and capacity planning. Modeling is a minor aspect of the tool. Data collection runs on host system, presentation runs on Windows NT/95. ($$$)?

Information Systems Manager Inc

Best/1 for MVS/Unix/VM/VMS/NT

Very robust platform-centric analytic tools that include data collection for each of the platforms. The Best/1 tools go beyond modeling to provide performance analysis and capacity planning, but they are focused on existing workloads and do not have very good support for modeling application not yet running.

MVS/Unix/VM/VMS/NT, each tool runs on the platform it models ($$$$)

BMC (was BGS Systems)

Business Process Specific Modeling Tools

STELLA and ithink-is

The major difference is documentation. ithink audience: business (BPR, Strategic Planning, Financial Analysis). STELLA II audience: educational and research (natural and social sciences). Downloadable demo. ($$ 2/98: Retail $599 to $1099, Student $149 to $279)

High Performance Systems, Inc.

Vensim PLE

Very similar to STELLA. Free for academic use, cheap for commercial purposes (90 day trial of full tool). Downloadable version. Windows 95/NT, Windows 3.1, Macintosh ($ 2/98: free to ~$75)

Ventana Systems, Inc.

Powersim Constructor 2.5

Like Stella and Vensim but a much better user interface. Downloadable demo (full function but limits size of models). ($)


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Links to Additional Commercial Products

Bienvenue chez Simulog ! - Welcome to Simulog !

Micro Analysis & Design, Inc.

CACI Software Home Page

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Other Modeling Tool Links

Exhibits at the 1996 Winter Simulation Conference.. Theis page have links to several other simulation tools (most have a manufacturing orientation), but many look they have interesting features and could be useful for computer systems and applications.

Paul Fishwick Computer Simulation

Iwan van Rienen's Digital Simulator

Simulation Commercial Products and Services


IASTED - Home Page

CMG - Computer Measurement Group





15th IMACS World Congress '97 on Scientific Computation, Modelling and Applied Mathematics

ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation (TOMACS)

IEEE Computer Society: Conferences, Symposia, and Workshops

INFORMS College on Simulation

Society For Computer Simulation International

UniForum WWW Server Home Page

Winter Simulation Conference

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Other Modeling Related Links


Journals Publishing Simulation Papers

Meridian Marketing Group

Applications of Queueing Theory

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