Monthly Archives: September 2009

What defines success for IT Operations?

 

What must an IT Department do to be successful? The Operations Department within IT requires diligence across many technology disciplines. Here are some suggestions for IT Operations Management, that if met, will bring IT Operations closer to success.

  1. When the latest security patches have been applied to all servers.
  2. When all hardware is operational. There are no known failed components in the infrastructure. A streamlined process is in place to detect and respond to failed components. We also monitor the life cycle of equipment to make sure that critical systems are always under warranty.
  3. When all critical devices are monitored 24/7 IT staff is notified when a failure event occurs.
  4. When Line of business applications have sufficient bandwidth to perform their role. A monitoring solution should alert IT when network traffic exceeds 70% – because WAN links become saturated at this level and TCP retransmissions will occur, causing latency within applications.
  5. When servers have sufficient hard drive space to perform their role.
  6. When servers and workstations are protected from viruses, worms and advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  7. When servers are protected from data loss. For example, Exchange Native Protection does not protect you if all copies of the DAG databases are taken offline by an external hacker, an internal disgruntled admin, or a worm.
  8. When servers are fast or adequately responsive to end user requests. Using something like synthetic transactions are helpful to measure performance against previous accepted baselines.
  9. When servers have sufficient capacity to not only meet existing need, but to handle data and transactional growth for the next twelve months. This helps you be less reactive when problems occur. Using Azure IaaS helps because of the Autoscale feature.
  10. When all servers are provisioned with the lowest surface attack area possible.
  11. When IT can respond to a request to provision a server in minutes.  
  12. When IT discusses and then tests changes before implementing them in a production environment. Using Virtualization can help reduce the cost of implementing change management.
  13. When the most critical systems are clustered.
  14. When the IT staff has a good work/life balance. For example, creating a single weekend where all patches or maintenance is performed can reduce turnover compared to allowing IT Operations staff to work most nights and weekends.

 

Please leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions to add to this list.