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In a computer system or network, a runbook is a compilation of routine 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,[1] these processes can be carried out using software tools in a predetermined manner.

Runbook applied to operations[edit]

Operational runbooks may be tied to ITIL incidents to allow repeatable processes supporting specific aspects of the service catalog.[2] 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 to align the processes to the major elements they support in the service catalog. A runbook is a compilation of routine procedures and operations that the system administrator or operator carries out.

Computer operator documentation[edit]

The documentation for running a task,[3] whether in electronic or paper form, is called a runbook.[4][5]

Runbook automation[edit]

Runbook automation (RBA)[6] is the ability to define, build, orchestrate, manage, and report on workflows that support system and network operational processes. A runbook workflow can potentially 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 the 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 the ITIL), increase the effectiveness of IT personnel (for example, automate repetitive tasks associated with IT operations processes), and have the tools to report on how well the processes are executed in line with established policies and service levels.


Patents have been granted for various aspects of producing, improving, and using runbooks.[7]

SAP runbook[edit]

Runbook is a dashboard software application program for SAP;[8] the original company was acquired by Blackline in 2016.[9]

The software's "automation of recurring financial processes" adds "visibility and transparency" and strengthens "internal controls and compliance documentation" of data maintained by SAP.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IBM has a software product called "IBM Runbook Automation." "IBM Runbook Automation".
  2. ^ Don Krapohl. "An Integrated Approach to Organizational Transformation". AugmentedIntel. Don Krapohl. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  3. ^ "job"
  4. ^ "Operator documentation". Computerworld. November 13, 1978. p. 38. What the operators need and want is a runbook for each application
  5. ^ Sometimes written as "run book," it may supplement bullet-pointed steps with error messages (and what to do) and flowcharts."Precollated Run Book". Computerworld. May 16, 1983. p. 95.
  6. ^ "RBA : Run Book Automation".
  7. ^ "Automating the production of runbook workflows".
  8. ^ Robert Leesberg; Herman Heller]], Simplifying Financial Accounting with Runbook
  9. ^ Steve Brooks (September 2, 2016). "Has BlackLine run closer to SAP?". Enterprise Times.
  10. ^ "Runbook Company International". Informationweek.

Further reading[edit]