Over-allocation generally refers to situations where resources are allocated at excessive levels. In the context of IT, the resources often refer to hardware or software capabilities such as processing power, memory, data management, bandwidth or other specifications. However, another very common use of the term involves resources to which too many jobs have been allocated, for example, a processor that is dealing with an excessive number of job commands.
IT professionals use tools and strategies such as resource leveling to handle over-allocation problems, such as jobs with overlapping time frames or the improper clustering of resources in a network.
One excellent example of over-allocation that needs careful calibration is in virtualization. In a virtualization system, the physical hardware is partitioned into virtual components. Resources like memory and processing power must be precisely allocated. Any deviations either result in inefficiency or place too many demands on one point in the system, such as a given processor. IT professionals need to look closely at a system and observe it carefully to see whether the allocation is efficient and accurate.