For most companies, an Information Technology (IT) department can be very complex. With all of the network services and applications that are available, larger companies usually need a team of people because of the workload and specialization needed. To help manage all of this, several standards have been created to give an organization some guidelines to follow.
When you are managing complicated systems that your company depends on, you need to have processes in place to plan, design, implement, monitor, and retire servers, services, and applications to ensure that your time and money is well managed and that the needs of your organization are met.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and practices for managing Information Technology (IT) systems, IT ServiceManagement (ITSM), IT development, and IT operations. ITIL gives detailed descriptions of a number of important IT practices and provides comprehensive checklists, tasks, and procedures that any IT organization can tailor to its needs. ITIL is published in a series of books, each of which covers an IT management topic.
The ITIL version 3 core books include:
- Service Strategy: A view of ITIL that aligns business and IT together. It focuses on customer outcomes. Subsequent titles in the core set will link deliverables to meeting the business goals, requirements, and service management principles described in this publication.
- Service Design: Provides guidance on the production and maintenance of IT policies, architectures, and documents for the design of appropriate and innovative IT infrastructure service solutions and processes. Service Transition: Provides guidance and process activities for the transition of services in the operational business environment. It covers the broader, long-term change management role; release; and deployment practices so that risks, benefits, delivery mechanisms, and the support of ongoing operational services are considered.
- Service Operation: Introduces, explains, and details delivery and control activities to achieve operational excellence on a day-to-day basis.
- Continual Service Improvement: Focusing on the process elements involved in identifying and introducing service management improvements, this publication also deals with issues surrounding service retirement.
In either case, the ITIL publications will only give you a starting place in developing your organization’s processes to help manage your IT department. You will also need to discuss the needs of the organization with various managers including managers of your core business and managers of other support departments such as human resources, accounting, and legal departments to gather what services your organization should provide and what other requirements you must follow.
For example, if you work with medical records, you have certain standards that you have to follow to keep the data secure such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In a publicly traded company, you have to follow certain financial requirements including archiving data. Finally, your organization may have its own standards in place.
When you want to start using a server, service, or application, you should follow certain steps to implement it properly. Those steps include:
- Collecting requirements
- Designing and planning
- Managing and monitoring
By collecting requirements, you define what the server, service, or application is supposed to do, including its workload. Without properly collecting requirements, you may not select the correct hardware or software that will support your objectives. You must then plan and design the server, service, or application to make sure that it does what it is supposed to do without interfering with other servers, services, or applications. Next, you implement the server, service, or application, which includes installing and configuring it. Finally, you need to manage and monitor your server, service, or application to make sure it does what it is intended to do and that the proper users and services can access it. If a problem occurs, you will need to fix and troubleshoot the problem. As you monitor the system, you should look at the performance of the system so that you know when your server, service, or application should be replaced. You may also need to identify potential problems to correct them before they affect your server, service, or application to the point that it cannot be used or that it is significantly degraded.
Most of the information available from Microsoft to design, plan, implement, manage, and monitor Microsoft products can be found at Microsoft’s Web site, particularly at Microsoft TechNet (http://technet.microsoft.com). It includes Microsoft Knowledge Base, service packs, security updates, resource kits, technical training, operations and deployment guides, white papers, and case studies.
Within these documents and Web sites, you should always pay attention to the Best Practices sections. By following these guidelines, your system or application will run more efficiently and reliably, be more secure and more scalable. Some of the more complex software components including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server include Best Practices Analyzer software, which will automatically analyze the server and give recommendations.
When managing your servers, you can take one of two approaches: proactive or reactive. Being proactive means that you are planning ahead and anticipating problems before they disable or degrade your server, service, or application. Being reactive means that you are waiting for problems to occur before addressing them. In the long run, the best approach is to be proactive so that you can avoid system downtime. Of course, you must allocate some time and effort and possible additional hardware and software to help you efficiently monitor your servers, services, and applications. Finally, remember that while you make an effort to be proactive, you will eventually have to deal with unforeseen or unexpected problems.
This lesson is a part of Monitoring and Troubleshooting Servers chapter from 98-365 Windows Server Administration Fundamentals Prep course. More lessons in this chapter are
The Practice tests included in this course are: