The capacity planning tool formerly known as Indy now has a product name and release schedule. Announced at MMS during the opening keynote, System Center Capacity Manager 2006 Express Edition was developed by Microsoft Research. IT Pros can use it to model a server deployment based on service-based forecasts, such as the number of offices, users and network linkspeeds. A simulation of user workload can be run to determine system capacity, letting users experiment with different hardware, software configurations and user behavior before deploying anything on a live network.
But here is the kicker - the data sheet says that the tool will recommend a topology using pre-defined knowledge and dynamic performance modeling. This knowledge is packaged with the tool and can be updated via the hardware vendor with server-specific metrics.
This is best practice bootstrapping in the box. In addition to saving tons of money and time, this will go a long ways to easing SOX-type governance issues for IT Pros. Anytime you can show that you are modeling and testing things beforehand, and following industry best practices, you are showing good IT governance.
Customers who have already deployed can do "what-ifs" on their current topology, or planned changes, to optimize their environment. Think of it this way - this will have about the same impact on IT that spreadsheets did on finance.