In a computer system or network, a runbook is a routine compilation of procedures and operations that the system administrator or operator carries out. System administrators in IT departments and NOCs use runbooks as a reference. Runbooks can be in either electronic or in physical book form. Typically, a runbook contains procedures to begin, stop, supervise, and debug the system. It may also describe procedures for handling special requests and contingencies. An effective runbook allows other operators, with prerequisite expertise, to effectively manage and troubleshoot a system. Through runbook automation, these processes can be carried out using software tools in a predetermined manner.
Runbooks are typically created by technical writers working for top tier managed service providers. They include procedures for every anticipated scenario, and generally use step-by-step decision trees to determine the effective response to a particular scenario.
Runbook Applied to Operations
Operational Runbooks may be tied to Category-Type-Item elements in ITIL Service Operations to allow repeatable processes supporting specific aspects of the Service Catalog. The runbook is typically divided into routine automated processes and routine manual processes. The Runbook catalog begins with an index of processes covered and may be broken down in outline form (1, 1.1, 1.1.1) aligning the processes to the major elements they support in the Service Catalog.
Run Book Automation (RBA) is the ability to define, build, orchestrate, manage, and report on workflows that support system and network operational processes. A runbook process can interact with all types of infrastructure elements, such as applications, databases and hardware.
According to Gartner, the growth of RBA has coincided with the need for IT operations executives to enhance IT operations efficiency measures—including reducing mean time to repair (MTTR), increasing mean time between failures (MTBF), and automating provisioning of IT resources. In addition, it is necessary to have the mechanisms to implement best practices (for example, implement and manage IT operations processes in line with IT Infrastructure Library ITIL), increase IT personnel effectiveness (for example, automate repetitive tasks associated with IT operations process) and have the tools to report on how the processes are executed in line with established policies and service levels.
- Langston, Mark C.; Skelly, Hal (2003). Documentation Writing for System Administrators. SAGE Short Topics in System Administration. USENIX. p. 42f. (payment required)
- IT Operations Run Book Automation, by David Williams, Gartner. May 4, 2007.
- Krapohl, Don. "An Integrated Approach to Organizational Transformation". AugmentedIntel. Don Krapohl. Retrieved 1 May 2013.