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Optimal IT service availability: Shorter outages, or fewer?
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Industrial Information and Control Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2017-7914
2012 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management, ISSN 1932-4537, E-ISSN 1932-4537, Vol. 9, no 1, 22-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

High enterprise IT service availability is a key success factor throughout many industries. While understanding of the economic importance of availability management is becoming more widespread, the implications for management of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and thinking about availability risk management are just beginning to unfold. This paper offers a framework within which to think about availability management, highlighting the importance of variance of outage costs. The importance of variance is demonstrated using simulations on existing data sets of revenue data. An important implication is that when outage costs are proportional to outage duration, more but shorter outages should be preferred to fewer but longer, in order to minimize variance. Furthermore, two archetypal cases where the cost of an outage depends non-linearly on its duration are considered. An optimal outage length is derived, and some guidance is also given for its application when the variance of hourly downtime costs is considered. The paper is concluded with a discussion about the feasibility of the method, its practitioner relevance and its implications for SLA management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 9, no 1, 22-33 p.
Keyword [en]
availability, fault management, optimization techniques, policy-based management, Service level agreements, SLA management, Costs, Optimization, Risk management, Information technology
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-99539DOI: 10.1109/TNSM.2011.110811.110122Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84858290402OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-99539DiVA: diva2:542383
Note
QC 20120731Available from: 2012-07-31 Created: 2012-07-31 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Analysis of enterprise IT service availability: Enterprise architecture modeling for assessment, prediction, and decision-making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analysis of enterprise IT service availability: Enterprise architecture modeling for assessment, prediction, and decision-making
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information technology has become increasingly important to individuals and organizations alike. Not only does IT allow us to do what we always did faster and more effectively, but it also allows us to do new things, organize ourselves differently, and work in ways previously unimaginable. However, these advantages come at a cost: as we become increasingly dependent upon IT services, we also demand that they are continuously and uninterruptedly available for use. Despite advances in reliability engineering, the complexity of today's increasingly integrated systems offers a non-trivial challenge in this respect. How can high availability of enterprise IT services be maintained in the face of constant additions and upgrades, decade-long life-cycles, dependencies upon third-parties and the ever-present business-imposed requirement of flexible and agile IT services?

The contribution of this thesis includes (i) an enterprise architecture framework that offers a unique and action-guiding way to analyze service availability, (ii) identification of causal factors that affect the availability of enterprise IT services, (iii) a study of the use of fault trees for enterprise architecture availability analysis, and (iv) principles for how to think about availability management.

This thesis is a composite thesis of five papers. Paper 1 offers a framework for thinking about enterprise IT service availability management, highlighting the importance of variance of outage costs. Paper 2 shows how enterprise architecture (EA) frameworks for dependency analysis can be extended with Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and Bayesian networks (BN) techniques. FTA and BN are proven formal methods for reliability and availability modeling. Paper 3 describes a Bayesian prediction model for systems availability, based on expert elicitation from 50 experts. Paper 4 combines FTA and constructs from the ArchiMate EA language into a method for availability analysis on the enterprise level. The method is validated by five case studies, where annual downtime estimates were always within eight hours from the actual values. Paper 5 extends the Bayesian prediction model from paper 3 and the modeling method from paper 4 into a full-blown enterprise architecture framework, expressed in a probabilistic version of the Object Constraint Language. The resulting modeling framework is tested in nine case studies of enterprise information systems.

Abstract [sv]

Informationsteknik blir allt viktigare för både enskilda individer och för organisationer. IT låter oss inte bara arbeta snabbare och effektivare med det vi redan gör, utan låter oss också göra helt nya saker, organisera oss annorlunda och arbeta på nya sätt. Tyvärr har dessa fördelar ett pris: i takt med att vi blir alltmer beroende av IT-tjänster ökar också våra krav på att de är ständigt tillgängliga för oss, utan avbrott. Trots att tillförlitlighetstekniken går framåt utgör dagens alltmer sammankopplade system en svår utmaning i detta avseende. Hur kan man säkerställa hög tillgänglighet hos IT-tjänster som ständigt byggs ut och uppgraderas, som har livscykler på tiotals år, som är beroende av tredjepartsleverantörer och som dessutom måste leva upp till verksamhetskrav på att vara flexibla och agila?

Den här avhandlingen innehåller (i) ett arkitekturramverk som på ett unikt sätt kan analysera IT-tjänsters tillgänglighet och ta fram rekommenderade åtgärder, (ii) ett antal identifierade kausalfaktorer som påverkar IT-tjänsters tillgänglighet, (iii) en studie av hur felträd kan användas för arkitekturanalys av tillgänglighet samt (iv) en uppsättning principer för beslutsfattande kring tillgänglighet.

Avhandlingen är en sammanläggningsavhandling med fem artiklar. Artikel 1 innehåller ett konceptuellt ramverk för beslutsfattande kring IT-tjänsters tillgänglighet som understryker vikten av variansen hos nertidskostnaderna. Artikel 2 visar hur ramverk för organisationsövergripande arkitektur (s.k. enterprise architecture -- EA) kan utvidgas med felträdsanalys (FTA) och bayesianska nätverk (BN) för analys av beroenden mellan komponenter. FTA och BN är bägge etablerade metoder för tillförlitlighets- och tillgänglighetsmodellering. Artikel 3 beskriver en bayesiansk prediktionsmodell för systemtillgänglighet, baserad på utlåtanden från 50 experter. Artikel 4 kombinerar FTA med modelleringselement från EA-ramverket ArchiMate till en metod för tillgänglighetsanalys på verksamhetsnivå. Metoden har validerats i fem fallstudier, där de estimerade årliga nertiderna alltid låg inom åtta timmar från de faktiska värdena. Artikel 5 utvidgar den bayesianska prediktionsmodellen från artikel 3 och modelleringsmetoden från artikel 4 till ett fullständigt EA-ramverk som uttrycks i en probabilistisk version av Object Constraint Language (OCL). Det resulterande modelleringsramverket har testats i nio fallstudier på verksamhetsstödjande IT-system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. xiii, 39 p.
Series
Trita-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; 2012:032
Keyword
Service Level Agreement, outage costs, Enterprise Architecture, enterprise IT service availability, decision-making, metamodeling, Enterprise Architecture analysis, Bayesian networks, fault trees, Predictive Probabilistic Architecture Modeling Framework, Service Level Agreement, nertidskostnader, Enterprise Architecture, tillgänglighet hos IT-tjänster, beslutsfattande, metamodellering, arkitekturanalys, bayesianska nätverk, felträd, Predictive Probabilistic Architecture Modeling Framework
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101946 (URN)978-91-7501-443-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-31, Sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20120912

Available from: 2012-09-12 Created: 2012-09-06 Last updated: 2013-01-28Bibliographically approved

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