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The Standard

Processes

Introduction

The goal of the Zero Outage process stream is to describe architectural and design principles that are needed to reach a “Zero Outage” IT implementation which delivers value to customers through uninterrupted availability.

In today’s economic environment, it is essential to develop solutions that meet growing customer expectations, as well as business requirements, for high availability and to avoid the increasing costs of service interruptions, both direct and indirect, such as damage to brand reputation.

The platforms on which the services are being delivered are required to follow specific policies in each phase of the Zero Outage Value Map, starting from proper architecture (Plan), to correct implementation (Build) and deployment (Deliver), to well managed operations (Run), in order to guarantee the level of resilience, security and availability that is the Zero Outage quality goal.

The processes covered in this section fall in to the “Run” phase of the IT Lifecycle as shown in the diagram.

Zero Outage environments should be designed in a very specific way with 100% application and service availability the aim. In this way IT becomes a utility, like water or electricity, providing data/services that are always on and always available to facilitate the required outcomes in an environment of accelerated business cycles.

The primary process in such environments is Event Management, where the way in which events are monitored and addressed is a key success factor. Obviously processes for change, incident and problem management must still exist, but in the case of change management it is much simplified from the ITIL model. Incident management by its nature falls outside of what should be needed in a zero-outage environment. The process must exist as a contingency, but the zero-outage model will effectively have failed if it is needed.

Thus, the traditional change management process is replaced by a more agile “continuous deployment” model and the traditional process of problem management is replaced by a knowledge management and “continuous improvement” model.

In more traditional deployments where the design may, by necessity, be more “high availability” than “always available”, the principles and processes described in ITIL v3 can be very effectively applied to minimise the effect of changes and incidents on service availability. Increasingly such “traditional” processes for the operation of IT services are becoming outdated as business cycles continue to accelerate, but the impending release of ITIL v4 in late 2018 may address some of these gaps.

This material aims to do the following:

  • Provide more detail & some enhancements to the well-known ITIL processes which may help customers and service providers get as close to “zero outage” as is possible, in more traditional high availability environments.
  • Describe best practices & processes for managing true zero outage environments i.e. environments which have been designed from an “always on” perspective.
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