Allari - Providing IT as a Service

Overview

A maintenance window is a defined period of time during which planned outages and changes to production services and systems may occur. The purpose of defining standard maintenance windows is to allow users of the service to prepare for possible disruption or changes. Standard maintenance windows are executed at times with the lowest impact to the organization and are typically documented on a calendar. To provide the best possible service, IT must regularly update and perform routine maintenance on its assets. Some of these activities require that the affected systems and networks be shut down. This work is essential and sometimes presents an inconvenience.

Understanding

Regularly scheduled maintenance windows provides many benefits to the organization. Some of these benefits are:

  • Reduces emergency IT outages due to preventative maintenance activities
  • Reduces length of average outage time due to regular maintenance activities
  • Improves reliability and performance of IT services and systems
  • Allows employees to plan their activities that may coincide with scheduled maintenance windows

A maintenance window may not always have maintenance activities scheduled for the full window time or there may not be maintenance activities scheduled at all; however, if non-emergency maintenance is required, it will occur during one of the identified windows. It is important to note that emergency IT issues aka unplanned outages may still arise that could require maintenance activities to occur outside of these windows. 

Communication

It is important to give your employees at least a week's notice of a planned downtime event.  They will need this time to manage any expectations on them. The larger the impact on users, the longer the lead time. People are busy and a single notification is often not enough. An online website page can also be a great vehicle to leverage. It is important to let your users know that the downtime is over so they can begin work again.

Messaging

Here is some important information to include:

  • Let users know what new features or improvements this upgrade will bring. Knowing that they will benefit long-term from the downtime increases user acceptance.
  • What customers or users are affected?
  • What departments and services are affected?
  • What is NOT affected?
  • What users can/cannot do during this time. For example, can they send emails internally but not externally?
  • The exact start time and estimated end time in the dominant timezone.
  • Estimated duration of the downtime (Be sure to leave yourself a generous buffer.
  • If this is planned downtime for upgrades, you can let users know what new features or improvements this upgrade will bring. Knowing that they will benefit long-term from the downtime increases user acceptance
  • If the email has been sent to your entire staff, a notice like this one will prevent unnecessary forwarding: "Please note that this email has been sent to all staff and does not need to be forwarded."
  • If you're using a status website, include the URL.

Other Info About Maintenance Windows

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Technology and processes can be learned and copied; service instead is one of the few competitive advantages that can be sustained over time. Our goal is to provide such a level of service that not only our advantage is maintained over time, but can be transferred to our customers to support them in their process of generating added value.
Carlos Corral

Carlos Corral Allari, Inc.

I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with clients and colleagues to help them better utilize both people and technology to improve their business and productivity. I feel fortunate to be part of such an experienced and highly-skilled team that works well together, shares knowledge, and keeps our clients’ businesses running smoothly.
Ravi Madhavan

Ravi Madhavan Allari, Inc.

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