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When Availability Matters: Change Control for SaaS Providers
It is a long standing notion in IT Service Management that up to 80% of unplanned downtime is caused by change introduced into the system by what can be loosely defined as “operator error”. Yet, based on our experience, Software as a Service (SaaS) providers focus 80% of their attention (and budget) on hardware redundancy in an attempt to achieve high availability numbers. The real irony is that the more attention spent by SaaS providers on system redundancy, the more complex the system and the more vulnerable it is to unplanned downtime due to “operator error”. As a result, to protect their production systems from unplanned downtime the smart SaaS provider always balance each side of the availability equation. In addition to system redundancy, they will invest in an effective change management framework.
To build an effective change management framework and achieve high availability numbers for an SaaS application requires maturing IT processes along established best practices (such as ITIL) and investing in quality change management tools. With improved processes and tools come greater visibility, control, and accountability over the changes happening at all layers of your SaaS architecture: the application layer, the OS layer, and the physical infrastructure layers (network, compute, storage). Given the volume of change, the interdependencies, and the multiple parties involved at each layer, it is easy to understand why organizations find implementing a framework that effectively reduces downtime caused by change so challenging.
Continue reading to learn more about change control for SaaS providers.