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Tim Wasle from T-Systems International on Zero Outage and defining industry standards

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 11 November 2016

T-Systems International’s Tim Wasle on defining industry standards with Zero Outage

Zero Outage logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there for Zero Outages?

Tim Wasle (TW): I’m Tim Wasle, IQ-Care executive consultant ITIL (for T-Systems International), project member of the Zero Outages industry standard association.
I´ve lead the creation, agreement and documentation of the process content on our website.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Zero Outage what is it and what does company do?

TW: Our Zero Outage association has the goal to publish practical guidance enabling adopters to improve stability, security and with it customer satisfaction. We build our best practices on top of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and other relevant frameworks like ISO/IEC 20000.  

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

TW: We like to reach anyone providing IT services to customers. Our practical guidance, which is freely accessible shall help to ease access and therefore use of our best practices in IT services. We noticed that outages are often a result of missing skill and knowledge in the areas of design, build and management of IT infrastructures. These can be inadequate designs for given requirements as well as not implementing the design due to pace or changing things during operation that should not be changed.

SMP: A recent collaboration between all parties to define new industry standards, how is this going to be achieved?

TW: We ask experts of our founding or any other future member to collaborate and define useful best practices to manage IT Infrastructures. In addition on the long run, we desire to agree improvements between hardware and software vendors to enable easier management of especially complex infrastructures.

SMP: Why is this standard important to the industry?

TW: The complexity of IT Infrastructures in increasing significantly and we detect more and more incompatibilities in Infrastructure layers when we combine more and more of them. This is impacting the desire to reach a high availability, which we call zero outage. Zero Outage means a reliable availability beyond 99.9% of the time. This translates into a possible unavailiability of 43 minutes per month or eight hours and 46 minutes a year. The highest availability class six is 99.9999% and means an unavailability of 2.63 seconds per month and 31.6 seconds per year. Each nine added behind the comma means a huge cost increase.

Zero Outage logo Photograph of Tim Wasle, IQ-Care executive consultant ITIL (for T-Systems International), project member of the Zero Outagess

SMP: How is collaboration going to be managed?

TW: Collaboration will be handled in work streams, lead by a designated work stream leader which our board of directors agree. All companies which have joined the association are asked to add experts and ideas into the work streams to come up with our next best practice. I especially love the controversial discussions.

SMP: What are the challenges that you’ve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at Zero Outage?

TW: Bringing competitors together into a working group is a difficult thing and requires a lot of professionalism and plenty of legal discussions on all sides to come down to the details. It is a tough job for all but it can be done as we have shown in our first release content.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

: I am very proud that we agreed a general direction to involve partners when they are needed.

For example to verify a design or if the first implementation (build) is good to go for production or during issues in production. Especially for production we already documented our best practices on how to involve partners fast, efficient and how to manage critical incidents.

TW: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities for your sector and the competition that you have?

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding quality and reliability for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

TW: Our biggest challenges and most interesting aspects are
  • To identify incompatibilities of Firmware updates and patches as well as applying them timely. 

  • To implement a useful monitoring and event management system across the landscape and keep it effective.

These are so key as often implementing firmware upgrades in large infrastructures take a long time due to potential incompatibilities with other used technology layers or required reboots of devices which may result in a downtime for customers. Monitoring and Event management has the tendency to lose effectiveness over time as created alerts by the used tool often get misunderstood and then taken away incorrectly with a classification as false alarm.

SMP: How are you going to create a common standard for IT processes, platforms, people and security?

TW: Via the association ☺ and our work streams resulting in practical guidance’s, which people can use. The broader the base of knowledge is, the more likely company IT departments can identify and correct habits.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for IT and the standards that can have an impact upon it for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

TW replies with:

  • Easy and free access to best practices. People can read and use the practical suggestions whenever needed.

  • Reference capability. The standard gives IT professionals the ability to reference to best practices, which gives them more weight in their own organisation.

  • Ideas to avoid pitfalls. Best practices are just that, ideas how to solve a business problem and what to think about when doing something. This avoids pitfalls.

  • Walk the talk. We use our best practices ourselves and customers can ask their partners to do so as well.

  • Set a reminder. There will be content that is obvious, but still often forgotten or not attained to, we hope our content reminds people to apply best practices they know already.

SMP: What are your top overall tips for technology companies to works to the new standards and why?

TW: At the moment we “only” have issued our first best practices especially in the process and training area (concrete) as well as the platform area (less concrete). In security we provision a full-blown, marvellous framework with a use case. So, the tip join us and build more content. Let us make a great reference platform that really helps to avoid outages.

Zero Outage homepage image

SMP: Best way to contact you and Zero Outage?

TW replies with
Twitter @zero_outage

Watch more about Zero Outage at YouTube.

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

TW: German bread with butter and usually homemade strawberry marmalade.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

TW: Privately I often help in restoring data lost on defective devices ;-) or get IT services or devices to work in the neighbourhood. Sometimes I help with not working internet connections too.

SMP: If you weren’t working at Zero Outage what would you be doing?

TW: When not being at work, I love to do Geocaching.

SMP: Where did you go on your last holiday and why?

TW: Summer vacations! We spent them in August in Brittany in the area of Brest.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

TW: Plug in the computer, open the windows and then get a coffee.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

TW: I think I am happy with how things are. I do not need superpower. Usually these heroes do not have a fun life ;-)

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