Scope of the platform work stream
The platform work stream is one of the four major work streams of the Zero Outage Industry Standard initiative. The following chapters will provide an overview of what is to be expected of the platform work stream in a technical and operational model perspective.
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The Zero Outage Industry Standard initiative aims at providing best practices to deliver the highest quality services in a way that, ideally, the customer’s business is not impacted by any failure or other disruption, or at least the impact is minimized. Furthermore, this standardization simplifies the cooperation with and by multiple suppliers and providers collaboratively delivering services.
This requires standard specification in various areas:
- The process framework in which services are being delivered, where ITIL is great start with a very high adoption in the market. However, there are areas of improvement and higher specificity required towards achieving the Zero Outage quality.
- Guidelines towards specific people capabilities and architectural governance to steer the execution of service delivery within the provider organization.
- The platform on which the services are being delivered, requiring specific architecture policies to guarantee the level or resilience, security, availability and preferment to support the Zero Outage quality goals.
A short note: When we speak of architecture and technology, we are not interested in how features, e.g., high availability will be delivered from a technology perspective from different vendors. We keep an eye on the resilience of the features and how the features of IT-elements work together.
Most terms for cloud environments e.g.: open clouds, public clouds are described from the application or customer view. From our perspective, we require a technological and operational view. We apply the following terms in our documents:
- IT-element: We use this term for all kinds of components of an IT infrastructure, for instance, LAN switches, SAN storage devices, servers.
- On-premise solution: These IT infrastructure models employ on-premise software products which lead to a close interconnection between the software and the hardware. The on-premise model is slowly being replaced by the cloud model, but still has a wide customer system distribution.
- Enterprise cloud solution: With these IT infrastructures, the applications are embedded in a dynamic IT framework. These applications, e.g., standard databases, are not designed with an open cloud software standard. The dynamics and resilience of the application is mainly is mainly hardware driven.
- Open cloud solutions: Core element in this particular cloud platform is, contrary to the enterprise cloud solution, driven by the application, e.g., web Services.
One of our first questions for the platform work stream was how to structure the incredible number of various topics:
- All kinds of technologies, starting with single IT-elements and ending with all kinds of cloud or on-premise infrastructures and hybrid models
- The service delivery model or operational model which is the basis for effectively using of the IT infrastructure
- A set of minimal requirements for IT elements and all kinds of shared infrastructure e.g.: Open cloud environments need design principles to guarantee an end-2-end reliability
- The implementation services with all the aspects of implementation, testing and continuous improvement of the services
- Different technologies and architecture need different Lifecycle management concepts which needs to suite to the same process framework and management systems e.g., configuration data bases.
- Certifications and defined testing procedures to ensure the Zero Outage Quality Standard
- Last but not least, security which extends across all phases of the plan-build-run model
In order to structure the end-to-end specifications, we decided to start with the plan-build-run structure for our first release. The following picture shows the relationship of plan-build-run with the topics of release one.
Existing and future challenges for IT-infrastructures show the growing importance of the handover from plan to run.
The Open Group IT4ITTM standard takes this into consideration in their description of the IT landscape. The IT4ITTM value chain model added a deliver phase to the plan-build-run model to take into account the importance of the handover from plan to run, the deliver phase segregates the concerns of creating service release packages and the actual instantiation in production via service order and service fulfilment catalogues. This is very much driven by IT trends, namely DevOps, Cloud and Service Broker models becoming pervasive.
We will open a discussion within the next releases, hopefully with your participation, to figure out if the deliver phase helps us to tackle the increasing priority of the transfer from the plan-to-run phase.
For each phase we will look at the key capabilities, functions and data objects that are most important for delivering Zero Outage compliant services.
In the first release, the platform work stream focuses on the following key aspects:
- Plan: Zero Outage Design Principles
- Plan: Hybrid Model (mix of on-premise and cloud) and concerned operating models
- Run: Methods to check the health check of services and the technical aspects of the implementation of releases and patches in on-premise or cloud environments
ZO Design Principles
A multitude of technologies in the fields of applications calls for a closer coordination in terms of employed technologies (production model, support systems). The use of these technologies requires the definition and application of design principles. These design principles for the individual components and their combinations enable an optimal efficiency for customers. In these work streams, we deal with the conditions and requirements set on these technologies to guarantee a Zero Outage quality standard with commercially available products.
A first outlook and overview is published in Chapter Design Principles
Hybrid technology and related operating models
One of our core subjects lies in the current technological and operational challenge of the hybrid model. The cloud models, “enterprise” and “open”, despite all their differences – have certain overlaps, which we want to deep dive within the next releases.
Traditional challenges in the life-cycle of shared-IT infrastructures
One of our Topics of high priority is the general maintenance activities in complex IT-infrastructures. Our first release will show a procedure for release cycles in shared-IT infrastructures.
We have set our goal of providing best practices that have optimized the quality standards and cooperation of our companies.
For the right answer to challenges such as the Hybrid Cloud, Industry 4.0, etc., a closer collaboration and a common approach for technical solutions in tight cooperation with partners is required.
From our point of view, a standardized best practice approach is required for increasing the quality standard in complex system landscapes. One of the most formidable challenges consists of bringing multiple partners together towards the reaching of a common solution. Therefore, collaborative work between the partners is an important requirement.
Our goal for the upcoming releases is to enhance the points in the plan-build-run approach step-by-step, while continually developing the delivered best practices.
We are looking forward to your feedback and ongoing discussions aimed at making our business more stable and easier to handle.
The platform work stream Team.
Define the service business strategy, the service portfolio and the related non functional design criteria, e.g. architecture patterns, technology resilience.
- Architecture Policies
Design criteria for the overall service and the underlying application e.g. native cloud application need to be architected as set of integrated micro services in order to take full advantage of underlying cloud infrastructure.
- Service Strategy
Description of the business boundary conditions of delivering ZO service for the target marketing, e.g. the target market with financial constraints, the portfolio priorities and the related sourcing strategy.
- Technology policies
Design Criteria for the Infrastructure, such as the differences and similarities of different models and the related resilience criteria.
- Delivery Model
Operating model to deliver services in the constraints of the strategy boundary conditions and design criteria.
Develop the required new services or updates to existing services with a proper development lifecycle.
- Requirements & Design
For the service to be newly developed or updated, articulate the related functional requirements, translate non-functional requirements from the design criteria, and develop the respective detailed design of the service.
- Build & Source
The actual development of the service, which might entail SW development, sourcing or buying elements of the SW, system integration etc. There is no limitation regarding the choice or mix of agile and waterfall models.
- Test & Verify
Once customer value is integrated, the function of the service needs to be verified and the non-functional requirements need to be tested, namely security, performance and reliability. Again, this can certainly be agile and interwoven with the development phase.
- Release & Deploy
Once the service is sufficiently tested and the required risk analysis meets the release criteria, the service is ready for release, a deployable release package is generated and finally tested.
Deliver the released service package to consumers via the service catalog, and manage the activation and costing aspects.
Take the release package and publish it as a service catalog item to the consumer community. In today’s cloud world, this may likely involve aggregation of various elements from different catalogs into one consumable item.
Make the service catalogue entry consumable (e.g. as part of the catalog portal) and facilitate the request/ordering process.
- Route & Fulfill
When being ordered, based on the consumer information, figure out where to instantiate the service and execute the deployment process, with interlock to the change process. Again, in today’s cloud world, this may likely involve deploying components of the service to different physical infrastructures using different fulfillment engines.
- Measure & Charge
After the service is activated measure the usage of the service and facilitate the monetary consequences based upon the charging approach specified in the delivery model, which could be e.g. cross-charge or general allocation through the IT Financial Mgmt system in place.
Monitoring the availability and performance of the services as a last resort, but more importantly monitor all elements of the service model and its interdependencies to anticipate potential issues, taking resiliency of components into account. That already involves data analysis techniques of both, structured and unstructured data to be able to anticipate.
Diagnose in detail the relevance, potential impact and the cause of potential issues.
Determine the required tasks, priorities and timelines to repair things in order to keep the resilience level of the service overall.
Determine between automatic changes that only need to be tracked (e.g. adding bandwidth to a server farm) and ones that need to be governed (e.g. patching as part of a technology lifecycle change). Facilitate the appropriate process for the respective part of the service or infrastructure architecture, adhering ti their respective resilience approaches.
Our presented best practices include the plan/build/deliver/run perspective and the reflection of the provider- supplier- and customer view.
A first outlook and overview is published in chapter XXX
One of our core subjects is located in the current technological and operational challenge of the Hybrid model. The cloud models, “legacy” and “open”- despite all their differences – have certain overlaps, which we want to deep dive within the next releases.
You will find some key facts and first solution approaches in chapter XXX
One of our topic with high priority are general maintenance activities in complex IT-Infrastructures. Our first release will show a procedure for release cycles in shared IT infrastructures.
We have set ourselves the goal to provide best practices that have optimized the quality standards and cooperation of our companies.
For a successful answers to challenges like Hybrid Cloud, Industry 4.0, etc., a closer cooperation and a common approach for technical solutions in a close cooperation with partners is required.
From our point of view, a common best practice approach is required to increase the quality standard in complex systems. One of the biggest challenges is, to bring multiple partners together to reach a common solution. Therefore a collaborative work between the partners is an important requirement.