Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0 (MOF v4) is important to SharePoint

I don’t know how many of you have followed the exciting world of Operations Frameworks from ITIL to MOF to MSF and even ISO 20000.  When I found the forums I searched for SharePoint and came up with no results.  Not a lot of content on operations content for SharePoint unfortunately.  A lot of people focused on the PLAN portion, but not a lot on Manage and Operate. 

So, one thing I wanted to gauge interest in is Operations Frameworks, specifically MOF v4 and SharePoint.  Now that I’m working on doing product management for Nintex Reporting, I was thinking… a cool topic would be how to manage your Operations with various reporting needs with an obvious focus on both what you get with SharePoint reports, the Assessment tool (more below), PerformancePoint (or the old Business Score Card Manager) and with Nintex Reporting 2008.

As I look around the wheel there are obviously a lot of processes and policies that simply need to be put into place, but some examples of real world uses of reporting for example are around "Reliability, Operational Health, and Compliance."  Taking each of these individually when you look at reliability there are performance counters that capture system uptime.  Those perf counters could be gathered with the performance collector, or captured and viewed in perfmon.  The Operational Health could be a special dashboard that lists various things like Consumption of the following… % disk, % CPU,   Memory Available and so on.  Compliance is something that would also need either a custom dashboard or web parts assembled to track specific document consumption or tracking policies.


What you’ll notice in the diagram below with MOF v4 they have combined MSF with MOF 3.0.  They’ve also simplified some of the service management functions.

Here’s a great summary of what MOF is from the IT library on TechNet referenced below… "The goal of MOF is to provide guidance to IT organizations to help them create, operate, and support IT services while ensuring that the investment in IT delivers expected business value at an acceptable level of risk. 

MOF’s purpose is to create an environment where business and IT can work together toward operational maturity, using a proactive model that defines processes and standard procedures to gain efficiency and effectiveness. MOF promotes a logical approach to decision-making and communication and to the planning, deployment, and support of IT services."


MOF IT Library

Get the Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0

MOF Team Blog Announcement

MOF v4 Diagram by Microsoft (listed on blog and in MOF library)



I would like to give you some concrete examples of how MOF can be used with SharePoint.

From the Manage quadrant.  Deliverables, purposes taken from MOF documentation.

Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Deliverable: IT objectives achieved, change and risk managed and documented
IT services are seamlessly matched to business strategy and objectives

Purpose: Support, sustain, and grow the organization while managing risks and constraints
Example: SharePoint policy for customization allows 10 people in the corporation to manage sites with SharePoint Designer thus mitigating IT risk and providing business strategy for designs and business objectives.  Plan is support only those people trained to be allowed to use it for simple workflows and master page design which is managed centrally.  More common workflows and business processes would use Nintex Workflow a tool which doesn’t require any client side requirements or use of the all too powerful SharePoint Designer as it can manage it’s workflows and reports in the web UI.

Change and Configuration
Deliverable: Known configurations and predictable adaptations
IT services are predictable, reliable, and trustworthy

Purpose: Ensure that changes are planned, that unplanned changes are minimal, and that IT services are robust
Example: SharePoint Deployment team decides they need a change advisory board for their change management process.  Certain big changes including service packs would be required to go through proper testing and all custom code would be rolled into SharePoint solutions deployment packages and go through proper testing to ensure security trust levels (CAS) and GAC usage was set an appropriate level based on what was needed.  Thus ensure predictable and tested results introduced during planned downtime with proper verification.

Deliverable: Clear accountabilities, roles, and work assignments
IT solutions are delivered within specified constraints, with no unplanned service degradation

Purpose: Agile, flexible, and scalable teams doing required work
Service operation that is trusted by the business
Example: How do you have clear roles in SharePoint?  You have separate Dev teams from Ops or production teams.  These teams would have clear roles.  Using RACI a simple spreadsheet is used to identify what actions are taken during deployment and a list of maintenance tasks in SharePoint to determine who needs to perform the work, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed… Obviously you need to have the right skin in the game with everyone agreeing to these responsibilities so you know who to talk to if there’s a problem and to manage appropriate risk when something unexpected (like a required hotfix or something more odd like out of memory issues) is introduced.

Should I put together a whole whitepaper on the topic?  I am working with Nicola Young and John Ross on a Planning and Governance Course and you’ll definitely see this type of content plus exercises in this class.

Loved these examples and looking for some templates?  I found some good starts…

IT pros can choose the Operations Framework tools and templates also referred to as MOF Job Aids that are likely to be most useful given the task at hand. Here is a list of what is available within each package:

  • Manage
    • Change Management Forward Schedule Template
    • Request for Change Template
    • Risk Template Tool
  • Plan
    • Operating Level Agreement Template
    • Operations Level Agreement
    • Privacy Policy Sample
    • Service Level Agreement Template
    • SIP Service Catalog Sample
  • Deliver
    • Functional Specification
    • Migration Plan
    • Site Deployment Project Plan
    • Test Cases Workbook
    • Test Plan
    • Test Specification
    • Training Plan
    • Vision Scope
  • Operate
    • Incident Management Ticket Template
    • Operations and Services Description Template

Look for the following packages

MOF Job Aids –, MOF Job Aids –, MOF Job Aids –, MOF Job Aids –

I think we need to each send feedback to to let them know we’d like SharePoint specific templates.  Be sure to let this alias know if you like those job aids or if they don’t work.  Why is it all about desktop and Vista?  Why not some Exchange or SharePoint?

If you are confused about MSF, MOF, and ITIL in continuous improvement there is a decent diagram from MOF solution accelerator article that shows the relationships and talks about how they come together.

When I was looking at the MOF v4 content I came across another tool that I worked on when I was at MS.  The Asset inventory tool is about discovering what SharePoint Servers are out there.  Looks like it is still in beta since February, which is when I think I saw it last.  I mention this tool in this context ’cause I do think it’s a very early step in MOF.  You need to know what you have before you can start to optimize it or a late step if you’re considering retiring the service or servers.  Here’s a bit of info from the TechNet resource on this solution accelerator:

The main purpose of the SharePoint Asset Inventory Tool is to give the IT administrator answers to a number of important questions through the generation of reports. These reports include information on:

  • The servers running some version of SharePoint.
  • The installed SharePoint features.
  • The total number of SharePoint sites on each server. 
  • The total number of documents on each server.
  • The total number of documents grouped by extension on each server.
  • The time since the SharePoint assets in each server were last modified.
  • The customized SharePoint sites and items on each server.
  • The number of SharePoint lists on each server, grouped by the number of items on each list.

Finally, if you’re in my TechEd Governance session next week, you’ll see a slide on this with some more emphasis about how important operations frameworks are to deployment success.

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