Today in Canada we tested our nationwide emergency response system. Apparently the test failed in the province of Quebec. It did in fact succeed in Ontario, where I live. Knowing about the test I purposefully had my phone on this afternoon because I was interested in what would actually happen. Sure enough, my phone made a very annoying noise and a message came up to inform me that it was just a test. So that was good.
An important aspect of IT Operations, and Business Operations for that matter, is to be prepared to respond to emergencies. While the Canadian government is worried about responding to inclement weather, terrorist attacks, military attacks, and coffee being sold out at the local Timmies your IT department should be concerned about ensuring that your systems are running properly, that they are repelling cyber attacks, and that your data centres are operational (to name a few potential issues). This is why the IT Operations process goal includes a process decision point called Mitigate Disasters (see the pic above).
By running this scheduled disaster simulation, after careful planning and communication (which I why I had heard about it), the Canadian government has discovered in a controlled test that their strategy needs work. This is exactly the type of thing you want to find out when you have the luxury of safely addressing any problems that you do find. The government certainly wouldn’t have wanted to discover their emergency alert system didn’t work as expect in the middle of an actual emergency.
What your organization should ask itself is what would happen if:
Will your IT ecosystem respond properly? Will it recover automatically? Are you guessing at these answers or do you know for sure because you’ve actually simulated them?
I hope this blog has been food for thought. Time for a Timmies.
The Disciplined Agile (DA) toolkit describes strategies for how an organization’s IT group can support a lean enterprise. An important part of this is to have an effective IT operations strategy, and to do that the people involved need to have what we call a “lean IT operations mindset.” The philosophies behind such a mindset include:
Future blog postings in this series about IT operations and support will explore topics such as why you need IT operations and support, what activities you perform, and the workflow of doing such.
DevOps Strategies: Operations
There are several technical strategies that support the operational aspects of DevOps:
In the next blog posting in this DevOps series we will explore solution support strategies.
There are several disaster mitigation strategies that IT departments may choose to adopt:
As you would expect, truly disciplined organizations have adopted all of these strategies.
Related blog postings:
There are several teaming strategies that you can choose to adopt when it comes to getting development professionals and operations professionals to work together. Starting with the least effective and working our way to the most effective, they are:
Of the four approaches listed above, the only one that is clearly a DevOps strategy is developer-led operations. The production support strategy is definitely a step in the right direction and is often seen as sufficient in many enterprises. If this is the case in your organization we recommend that you experiment with the developer-led operations strategy on a few teams to see how well it works for you. We suspect that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
In the next blog in this series we will explore disaster mitigation strategies.
Related blog postings: