I recently responded to a message on LinkedIn from a regular reader of this blog. He asked several questions which I will answer over the course of several posts.
As part of his first question, he described a strategy report that his group is producing. The audience for this strategy report considers ITIL important to the future of their business, and so he must describe which ITIL processes his data center operations group works most closely with.
I’m very familiar with this topic. I cut my teeth in the IT world in data center operations. During my first early exposure (mid 1990’s) to ITIL, I worked as part of a team that supported a data center operations group with various forms of system automation. In my experience, a strong case can be made that many of the processes that ITIL describes are used by a data center operations group. In this post, I will describe three of the most common processes described by ITIL that a data center operations group might use.
First, one of the most common processes that involve a data center operations group is incident management because data center operations groups regularly work with complex arrangements of technology that often experience interruptions, degradations, and failures. Incident management is the process that data center operations teams follow to restore service in the event of an interruption. An effective and efficient data center operations group will have a clearly defined incident management process that allows them to quickly restore service in the event of an interruption.
Second, data center operations commonly involve handling various low-level and routine requests. The ITIL process that deals with requests is request fulfillment. An effective and efficient data center operations group will have thought about and defined a common set of regularly invoked requests, will have procedures in place for when requests need to be escalated, and will often experience times when requests need to be rejected.
Finally, data center operations groups are regularly involved in monitoring the various systems, platforms, services, and applications under their management. The ITIL process that includes monitoring is event management. Event management deals with events that are specifically generated to be monitored and is one aspect of monitoring that might be performed by a data center operations group. An effective and efficient data center operations group relies heavily on a well-defined event management process in order to understand the status of devices, systems, services, and applications under their control.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, ITIL 2011 defines twenty-six processes. Data center operations groups are regularly involved in more than the three processes described here and will often conduct aspects of many of the other twenty-six processes defined by ITIL 2011.
ITIL 2011: How Many Processes?
Where's the Magic in an ITIL Process?
Do I Have to Read the ITIL Books to be an ITIL Expert?
ITIL®v3: Managing Across the Lifecycle