Creating a Runbook

Runbooks – Do I really need one? The short answer is absolutely.

The age old adage – plan your work and work your plan applies to IT and especially in the creation/use of a runbook. When there is an event, be it a server, application or site that goes down and the various business departments are letting you know (that they cannot complete their work)…the pressure is on.

  • What do I do?
  • In what order?
  • Who do I alert/notify?

It is in those stressful times when systems are down that a Runbook can save time and money…big money.

So what is a runbook? A Run-book is a collection of the procedures and operations that I.T. staff must carry out to maintain business as usual or to failover and recover systems following an unplanned outage.  It can be considered the operations manual for IT services within an organization.

What information should it include? This information may include any of the following:

  • Contact information – Detailed information about IT staff, facilities staff, utility companies, vendors and crisis management team.
  • Hardware – Detailed information about hardware components
  • Software – Detailed information about software components
  • Procedural/Process Information – Approved and tested procedures for each operational and emergency task that may be needed (recovery steps, screen shots).
  • Vital Records – Access to documents, activation sequences and other controlled items that may be used during a declaration.

Should I test? Of course. A Runbook is a living document that should be tested periodically with enhancements, changes and updates made to reflect changes in your infrastructure and business.

Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. According to FEMA 65% of businesses that experience a disaster fail within a year. Big number. From a financial standpoint, let’s assume you are $30M a year business. There are 2,080 business hours in a year. That is a little over $14,400 per hour. If you save 8 hours of downtime a year – that is worth over $115,000.

Let us know your thoughts. We can point you to resources that can help bridge gaps. We can also help with

  • Architecting/re-architecting solutions to better meet your business requirements
  • Create your runbook
  • Update/enhance your runbook
  • Test your disaster recovery readiness

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