The Operations Report Card

A. Public Facing Practices

1. Are user requests tracked via a ticket system?
2. Are "the 3 empowering policies" defined and published?
3. Does the team record monthly metrics?

B. Modern Team Practices

4. Do you have a "policy and procedure" wiki?
5. Do you have a password safe?
6. Is your team's code kept in a source code control system?
7. Does your team use a bug-tracking system for their own code?
8. In your bugs/tickets, does stability have a higher priority than new features?
9. Does your team write "design docs?"
10. Do you have a "post-mortem" process?

C. Operational Practices

11. Does each service have an OpsDoc?
12. Does each service have appropriate monitoring?
13. Do you have a pager rotation schedule?
14. Do you have separate development, QA, and production systems?
15. Do roll-outs to many machines have a "canary process?"

D. Automation Practices

16. Do you use configuration management tools like cfengine/puppet/chef?
17. Do automated administration tasks run under role accounts?
18. Do automated processes that generate e-mail only do so when they have something to say?

E. Fleet Management Processes

19. Is there a database of all machines?
20. Is OS installation automated?
21. Can you automatically patch software across your entire fleet?
22. Do you have a PC refresh policy?

F. Disaster Preparation Practices

23. Can your servers keep operating even if 1 disk dies?
24. Is the network core N+1?
25. Are your backups automated?
26. Are your disaster recovery plans tested periodically?
27. Do machines in your data center have remote power / console access?

G. Security Practices

28. Do Desktops, laptops, and servers run self-updating, silent, anti-malware software?
29. Do you have a written security policy?
30. Do you submit to periodic security audits?
31. Can a user's account be disabled on all systems in 1 hour?
32. Can you change all privileged (root) passwords in 1 hour?

24. Is the network core N+1?

An outage for one person is a shame. An outage of many people is unacceptable. Just like redundant disks is now a minimum, duplicate network connectivity is, too.

Yes, it is still expected that there is one link from a workstation to the first switch, but after that everything should be N+1 redundant. At a minimum, all trunks are dual-homed. At best, any one uplink, any one card, or any one network router/switch/hub can die and packets still get through.

LANs are generally designed as follows: The laptops/desktops in an office plug into the wall jack. Those connect to "access switches" which have many ports. Those access switches have "trunks" that connect to a hierarchy of "core switches" that scoot packets to the right place, possibly to egresses (the connections to other buildings or the Internet).

My rule is simple: The core has got to be redundant. It used to be a pricey luxury for the rich. Now it is a minimum requirement.

If your site isn't configured that way, you are living in the days when computers were useful without a network.

Exception: Sites small enough that they don't have a core. Even then all trunks should be redundant and a "spares kit" should exist for each kind of hardware device.

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