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CFIA in 4 Easy Pieces

Sep 22, 2006

Hank Marquis


The final step is to develop a request for change (RFC) to address the improvements identified. Examine first the “X’s”, then the “B’s”, by asking the following questions:

  • Is this CI a SPOF?
  • What is the business/customer impact of this CI failing? How many users would be impacted? What would be the cost to the business?
  • What is the probability of failure? Is there anything we can do differently to avoid this impact?
  • Are there design changes that could prevent this impact? Should we propose redundancy or some form of resiliency? What would redundancy cost?
  • As you get good at CFIA, consider expanding your CFIA matrix to include the procedure used to recover from a CI failure as a row across the bottom of your CFIA matrix. (Of course, this requires that you are mature enough to have written procedures.) Adding documented response procedures to your CFIA matrix lets you examine the organization as well as infrastructure.

    For each entry in your table ask yourself:

  • How do we (or would we) respond when this CI fails?
  • What procedures do we follow? Are these procedures documented? Could they be improved? Could they be automated?
  • Can we improve the procedure through staff training, new tools, or improved techniques?
  • Could preventative maintenance have helped avoid this problem?
  • Effective CFIA at any level of infrastructure, organization, or both delivers RFCs that can result in real improvements to the business without requiring high process maturity or expensive supporting software.

    There are some other IT-centric benefits to CFIA as well, including a head-start on IT service continuity management; aiding configuration management, which benefits from the addition of recovery procedures to the CMDB; and problem and incident management who may follow these procedures.

    Hank Marquis is a managing partner and CTO at itSM Solutions . You can contact Hank at hank.marquis@itsmsolutions.com.