fredag 31 maj 2013

The tail of a server, asset and ci

Once upon a time there was a small server born. Along his interesting life he always took comfort in the "computer God" that he was was told lived in the Internet. From birth he always considered himself as curious, open for new ideas and thoughts, and this is his story.

Early on he lived in a big factory pretty much waiting for something to happen. One day there was a big fork-truck loading him and many other server on their journey towards new exiting adventures. After a couple days of traveling he could feel that the box he was inside had stopped. Somebody was scratching on the outside. The box was slowly opened and a face full of anticipation look down at him. - Oh look at that. What a beauty the person said. He was one of the company technicians and was known for his love for hardware new technology. The server had never felt this kind of care and warmth. He was really enjoying the mounting in the server room and installation of Software that the technician put him through. He was told plenty of times that he was the proud and joy and how fantastic everything was going to be.

During the unpacking he had seen that the technician had been talking notes and writing down numbers from the box on a piece of paper. He thought about it and asked the "Computer God". -What was that about? Why did the technician write down all that stuff? God replied -You are now an Asset. When you where received here you entered a new stage in your Asset lifecycle. You where registered as "received" instead of "ordered". You will soon be registered as "in use". You belong to the type of servers called "small server". You are the first of your kind and there are other ones, not of the same kind, already living here, also called "small server". They will slowly be faced out and replaced by more of your kind. -Wow, this really sounds fascinating thought the server and asked God. -Why am i a asset? God replied. -the company needs to keep track of you so that we know what contracts covers and supports you, what licenses are used on you, the cost of owning you and who the supplier is etc. You have a lifecycle that will manage and follow you as an Asset until you are disposed of. -What, said the server. Is my purpose to be disposed of? God replied -Well, not your purpose, but that will eventually happen to you. Just like it is now happening to the server that you are replacing. The server was very disheartened by this and did not feel good about the new things that he had learned.

The days passed and the server was really doing well and enjoying his job. Every time there was a need of process power he really put his hardware to it and performed his very best. Occasionally the technician came by and told him that he was doing such a good job and everyone was very impressed with his work. The server felt really good about this and continued to work very hard. One day he turned to God and asked. -I really like the job and its very clear to me that i do it good. But i am still wondering why i am doing it. Do not get me wrong, i really like it and the technicians are very kind and i like it here. -Well this is the life of a server. We keep track of you and take care of you. If something in you breaks down we order a new part and replace the broken one, everything is a part of you lifecycle. The server remembers the last time he was broken. It took 3 days before someone replaced the broken part and additional 2 days before he was fully operational again.

One day there was a buzz in the server room. All server where talking because one server had overheard a technician say the there is a new process guy starting at work. -Why is this so exiting? asked the server. The technician had said that the process guys was going to explain the purpose of all equipment including the servers. This sound really exiting thought the server but remembered what the God had told him about getting disposed of. He felt a bit depressed by it but was interrupted in his thought by a burst of processor capacity and did not think about it more. 

The months passed and the process guy had visited the server room a couple of times but there was no news about what was about to happen. After some additional weeks the buzz in the server room started again. -The process guy is done with the first stage, the server heard another server say. Everyone was exited about the news but time went by and nothing happened. One day, suddenly the server noticed that he was getting warm and after a wile a memory card broke down. Well, he though. I will just sit here and wait like the last time he broke down. But this time everything was different. People came running and remote control tools where used and he had never seen this much attention for any server before. He was up and operational in less that two hours. Less than two hours! This had never been seen before in the server room and all the servers where talking and discussing what had happened but without any answers. 

The little server felt proud. He did not really understand why he got all that attention but he did and the other server look at him with admiration. Everyone was happy for him and he felt very good. He asked God. -Do you know what happened and why i got all the attention? -Well, God said. You are now a Configuration Item as well as an asset. -I already knew that i was an Asset but what is a Configuration Item. -Well, you have actually always been an asset and then later a CI but the process guy has done some changes in the CMDB and now everyone can se what you are used for and who is using you. We also know if it is important that you work correctly and how long it can take before you need to be fixed. The server look confused and asked. -What is the difference between an Asset and a CI? God replied. -An asset is tracked from a financial perspective and the information is structured to fulfill those needs. An Assets being grouped into variants that is grouped into products that is grouped into types etc. This structure is used ,among a lot of other things, to maintain license compliance on the software that is running on you. -So what is a CI? -You se, said God, when you are used for something then the Asset status is set to "In use" and a new lifecycle starts and kicks in and that is the lifecycle of the CI. So in short you could say that within the status of "in use" for an Asset there is many more statuses that is irrelevant from an Asset perspective but i crucial in the delivery perspective where the CI exists. To keep them separate we call them Asset and CI. You are both Asset and CI but depending on what information is require we can look at it from different perspectives. 

-You still did not tell me why i got all the attention earlier on. -Well said God and thought about it for a while and continued. -I might as well show you because it is kind of hard to explain it. God showed him a picture with lots and lots of squares and lines and pointed to one of them at the bottom and said. -This is you. -Me? said the server and looked very confused. -Yes it is you and everything you are in relation with. -But said the server -Just follow me here, interrupted God. -This is a visual representation of everything in the server room and connected to it. We store the information in the CMDB and this square is you. This one over here is the server next to you. Here you have the network you are connected to and this is the softwares that is run on you. -We have always had this information said God. The server asked -Last time I broke down it took 5 days before i was in operational state and this time it took two hours. If we always had this information why was it such a difference. -As i said earlier the process guy had done some changes in the CMDB, which actually is what we are looking at right now but as a visual representation. The changes and additions he made are these squares here at the top. They are services. They shows us who is using the equipment for what and how important it is that it is working at a specific moment. The reason you got all the attention is because you are a very important part. The server look shocked and said -important, me, but, why? -You are a very critical part of a service delivery and when you break down there is a lot of people that can not do their job. We did not know that before but now when the process guy have shown us how to understand whats really important we can focus on the right things and make priorities based on that. 

As the story continues out little server experienced breakdowns and upgrades until he finally was replaced by a new server. The server felt that he had lived a fulfilling life and was looking forward for retirement. The Ci was decommissioned and the Asset was disposed of and the server ended up in a secondhand store. He was purchased by a newly graduated student who was exited to get her own server so she could learn how to write program code. She had a brand new new idea for a program like nothing else seen on the market but that is a completely other story.

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