Questions to ask about business critical service IT assets

For every asset that supports business critical service, Visible Ops recommends the following questions be answered:

  • What does it do?
  • What is the hardware platform?
  • What is the operating system platform?
  • What applications are installed?
  • Who is responsible for this asset´s uptime?
  • What service(s) does it support?
  • Who is authorized to make changes?
  • What does this box do for the business?
  • What will happen when this box stops working completely?
  • What will happen when the performance of this box is severely degraded?
  • What is the change success rate?
  • Is this device fragile? Can we build a new one if it fails?
  • What are its dependencies?
  • What other infrastructure depend on this unit?
  • What planned and unplanned changes have been made?
  • What is the device´s name? Is it appropriate for the tasks performed?
  • What is the outage cost? (In other words, the cost per minute of downtime)
  • Where is it physically located?
  • Is there anything odd about this box?
  • Is this a generally-supported platform in our company?
  • Is this box going to go away in the next few months?
  • How do we get access to this box (remote or otherwise)?
  • How is this unit backed up?
  • How long does it take to re-provision this unit (estimate)?
  • How long can the business afford to be without it?
  • Are we monitoring this unit for changes?
  • Are we fault-monitoring this device?
  • Do the fault-monitoring assumptions match the dependency realities?
  • If the unit is mission critical, then are there adequate hardware backups in place (power supply, network card, RAM, etc)?
  • Why do we feel that this unit is unstable (if applicable)?
  • Is there anything that needs attention on this unit?

Source: Starting a Visible Ops-Based Change Management Program / Tori Harris, Ron Zika / Tripwire, Inc.

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