Once you have specified and built your Linux solution, you need to keep it running.
How to support a Linux solution
The principles of Linux support are very simple:
- Define a series of processes to deal with the day to day issues that arise. The goal is to ensure that the infrastructure continues to meet the defined requirements
- Ensure that staff have access to, are trained in and understand those processes
Having the processes defined in writing brings a number of advantages:
- Joined-up thinking: The act of defining the processes forces you to think through different scenarios and will, in itself, result in better integrated operations.
- Consistency: There’s frequently more than one way to do it. When processes are defined, everyone knows ‘how we do things around here’. When a problem arises, you don’t have to spend time investigating how things were set up – you know.
- Training: Whilst sitting someone down in front the documentation may not be the best way to train people, it is a solid reference upon which appropriate training can be built.
- Efficiency: Well-defined processes will take into account how different parts of the IT support operation interact, and also how the IT department interacts with the rest of the business.
- Evolution: The feedback of experience allows you to improve processes over time. They need to be in writing so that all may benefit from those improvements.
The processes are in place so that as various incidents, problems and requests arise they are dealt with in an appropriate manner. If they are not dealt with appropriately, it will be for one of two reasons:
- The process is deficient in some way
- The process isn’t being followed correctly
This greatly simplifies the day-to-day management of the infrastructure, and, if things do go wrong, it’s relatively straightforward to identify where changes need to be made to prevent a recurrence.
Tools for support
The following tools and utilities will be needed to provide the best possible support:
- A ticketing system
- A monitoring system
- A documentation systems
- A configuration management system
- Appropriate processes and staff
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