Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and techniques for managing information technology (IT) infrastructure, development, and operations. ITIL is published in a series of books, each of which cover an IT management topic. The names ITIL and IT Infrastructure Library are registered trademarks of the United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce (OGC). ITIL gives a detailed description of a number of important IT practices with comprehensive checklists, tasks and procedures that can be tailored to any IT organization. ITIL was originally created by the CCTA under the auspices of the British government, and ITIL is a registered trademark of the UK Government's Office of Government Commerce (usually known as the OGC).

ITIL History
Many of the concepts did not originate within the original UK Government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) project to develop ITIL. According to IBM:
“ In the early 1980s, IBM documented the original Systems Management concepts in a four-volume series called A Management System for Information Systems. These widely accepted “yellow books,” ... were key inputs to the original set of ITIL books." ”
The primary author of the IBM yellow books was Edward A. Van Schaik, who compiled them into the 1985 book A Management System for the Information Business (since updated with a 2006 re-issue by Red Swan Publishing). In the 1985 work, Van Schaik in turn references a 1974 Richard L. Nolan work, Managing the Data Resource Function which may be the earliest known systematic English-language treatment of the topic of large scale IT management (as opposed to technological implementation).

What is now called ITIL version 1, developed under the auspices of the CCTA, was titled "Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management Methodology" (GITMM) and over several years eventually expanded to 31 volumes in a project initially directed by Peter Skinner and John Stewart at the CCTA. The publications were retitled primarily as a result of the desire (by Roy Dibble of CCTA) that the publications be seen as guidance and not as a formal method and as a result of growing interest from outside of the UK Government.
During the late 1980s the CCTA was under sustained attack, both from IT companies who wanted to take over the central Government consultancy service it provided and from other Government departments who wanted to break free of its oversight. Eventually CCTA succumbed and the concept of a central driving IT authority for the UK Government was lost. This meant that adoption of CCTA guidance such as ITIL was delayed, as various other departments fought to take over new responsibilities.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a collection of best practices that aim to improve and then maintain a certain level of computing services quality in the information technology sector. ITIL covers organizational structure and skill requirements for an IT organization via a comprehensive set of procedures with which an organization can manage its IT operations. These procedures do not rely on a particular vendor's technology and apply to all aspects of IT infrastructure.

ITIL consists of a seven subject, which are sub-divided into disciplines, each one of them focusing specific level:

1. Service Delivery: Covers the processes required for the planning and delivery of quality IT services, and looks at the longer-term processes associated with improving the quality of IT services delivered. Example of it:

1. IT Financial Management
2. Capacity Management
3. Availability Management
4. IT Continuity Management
5. Service Level Management

2. Service Support: Describes the processes associated with the day-to-day support and maintenance activities involved in the provision of IT services. Example of service support:

1. Change Management
2. Release Management
3. Problem Management
4. Incident Management
5. Configuration Management
6. Service Desk

3. Planning to Implement Service Management: Examines the issues and tasks involved in planning, implementing, and improving service management processes within an organization; also addresses the issues associated with addressing cultural and organizational change, the development of a vision and strategy, and the most appropriate method of approach.

4. Security Management: Details the process of planning and managing a defined level of security for information and IT services, including all aspects of security incidents. Also includes the assessment and management of risks and vulnerabilities and the implementation of cost-justifiable countermeasures.

5. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Management: Covers all aspects of ICT infrastructure management from identification of business requirements through the procurement process, to the testing, installation, deployment, and ongoing operation and optimization of ICT components and IT services.

1. Network service Management
2. Operations Management
3. Management of local processors
4. Computer installation and acceptance
5. Systems Management

6. The Business Perspective: Provides advice and guidance to help IT personnel understand how they can contribute to business objectives and how their roles and services can be better aligned and exploited to maximize contribution.

7. Application Management: Describes how to manage applications from the initial business need through all stages in the application lifecycle, up to and including retirement. Places emphasis on ensuring that IT projects and strategies are tightly aligned with those of the business through the application lifecycle, to ensure that business obtains the best value from its investment.

From the beginning, the ITIL framework has been publicly available (however, it is copyright protected). This means that any organization can use the framework described by the OGC in its numerous books. Because of this, ITIL guidance has been used by a wide range of organizations including government, energy, public utilities, retail, finance, and manufacturing. Very large organizations’, very small organizations’ and everything in between have implemented ITIL processes.

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