Saturday, February 19, 2011

Explanation and definition of EITRP Tiers

This is my second posting in the series to introduce EITRP. This posting focuses on the concept of 'Tiers' within EITRP.

Enterprise Information Technology Resource Planning (EITRP) is a new method for documenting and modeling the resources that contribute to the creation, operation and retirement of assets, policies and systems in modern Information Technology (IT) environments. EITRP enables organizations to clearly document the resources that contribute to and guide how an IT department implements and manages the necessary tools for a company to conduct business. The majority of the IT environments that are active today can be represented and described in a similar way, EITRP exploits those similarities to provide a consistent method for documenting the life cycle of an IT environment.

The core of EITRP representations of an organizations is the idea of 'Tiers.' 'Tiers' are representations of the common building blocks of all organizations, infrastructure and resources supporting that infrastructure. 'Tiers' ensure that any EITRP model can be referenced, simulated and documented in a consistent manner.

Each 'Tier' is unique in the data is contains and provides for standards of documentation. Every 'Tier' has relationships with one or more 'Tiers' for data dependency and references. These associations ensure that simulations can be done of environmental changes based on the data stored in an EITRP model and the necessary dependencies are properly referenced, updated and correlated. The following graphic and bullet points explain the tiers as they are contained in the EITRP model:

  • Company – The 'Company' tier is used to document details and information regarding the organization the EITRP model is being developed for. The syntax standards will include methods for documenting all legal entities of the company and subsidiaries. The company tier will also be used to document information about staff, and company locations.

  • Business Rules – 'Business Rules' are all policies for the company that influence how business is conducted. These rules will include hiring of staff, revenue recognition and financial reporting policies as well as industry specific policies regarding data retention, documentation, corporation governance as well as all associated business rules.

  • Business Process – The 'Business Process' tier is the location for documenting all work steps necessary to implement the controls and safeguards documented in the 'Business Rules' tier. This 'Business Process' tier is used to define all work flows within an environment for ensuring smooth operation of the business.

  • Policies – 'Policies' are derivatives of 'Business Rules'. 'Policies' are the rules that will be implemented within the technical environment to enforce the 'Business Rules'. These 'Policies' will be used within the EITRP model to validate that 'Business Process' are being followed and 'Business Rules' are properly implemented. 'Policies' will take the form of documenting who can do what, when and how they can do it.

  • Service Level Agreements (SLA) – 'Service Level Agreements' are the objectives the IT organization will use when defining all IT solutions. These will be used to determine technical measurements including response time, capacity, availability and scheduled downtime to name some of the measurements. This list will be used as the baseline for defining how the IT environment will be measured for success after each new evolution of the environment.

  • Services – The 'Services' tier is the documented list of applications and services that are exposed to the users within the 'Company.' 'Services' define how a specific application is accessed, what methods are available to access it, what that access provides and associates the 'Service' with the appropriate 'SLA' and 'Infrastructure.' Examples of 'Services' could be DNS, web sites, or APIs.

  • Infrastructure – The 'Infrastructure' tier is used to document the types, models, locations and configurations of all the supporting hardware and solutions for the 'Services' tier. This tier will include documentation of a companies servers, storage, data centers, network devices and the associated configuration parameters for those devices. All previous tiers have focused on definition of information and documentation of that information, this tier focuses on the design and documentation of physical components to support the higher tiers.

  • Data – The 'Data' tier is used to document the types of data a company creates, manages and requires and the associated parameters for that data. Parameters for the data could include how the data is used, access criteria, retention criteria and security policies. The 'Business Rules', 'Business Process', 'Policies' and 'SLA' tiers will influence the implementation and operation of the data represented by this tier.

Tiers are an important part of the developing EITRP framework. 'Tiers' allow a consistent representation of a corporation, documenting how the companies goals, policies and procedures are influenced by the IT environment and how the IT environment enables the companies goals and policies.

In my next post I will discuss 'Views.' 'Views' is a concept within EITRP that is for representing what staff have a primary and secondary role with each of the 'Tiers.' 'Views' define how an organization manages the IT environment and how policies go from being defined to being implemented. After discussing 'Views' we will continue with defining EITRP Associations and how each 'Tier' is influenced by each other and what dependencies are created and documented in each environment. These dependencies will then be used to implement the modeling capabilities for a company to understand how a change in one 'Tier' will affect change in a separate 'Tier.'

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