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Component Failure Impact Analysis



Component Failure Impact Analysis(CFIA) can be used to predict and evaluate the impact on IT service arising from component failures within the technology. The output from a CFIA can be used to identify where additional resilience should be considered to prevent or minimize the impact of component failure to the business operation and users. This is particularly important during the Service Design stage, where it is necessary to predict and evaluate the impact on IT service availability arising from component failures within the proposed IT Service Design. However, the technique can also be applied to existing services and infrastructure.

CFIA is a relatively simple technique that can be used to provide this information. IBM devised CFIA in the early 1970s, with its origins based on hardware design and configuration. However, it is recommended that CFIA be used in a much wider context to reflect the full scope of the IT infrastructure, i.e. hardware, network, software, applications, data centres and support staff. Additionally the technique can also be applied to identify impact and dependencies on IT support organization skills and competencies amongst staff supporting the new IT service. This activity is often completed in conjunction with ITSCM and possibly Capacity Management.

The output from a CFIA provides vital information to ensure that the availability and recovery design criteria for the new IT service is influenced to prevent or minimize the impact of failure to the business operation and users. CFIA achieves this by providing and indicating:

  • SPoFs that can impact availability
  • The impact of component failure on the business operation and users
  • Component and people dependencies
  • Component recovery timings
  • The need to identify and document recovery options
  • The need to identify and implement risk reduction measures.

The above can also provide the stimulus for input to ITSCM to consider the balance between recovery options and risk reduction measures, i.e. where the potential business impact is high there is a need to concentrate on high-availability risk reduction measures, i.e. increased resilience or standby systems.

Having determined the IT infrastructure configuration to be assessed, the first step is to create a grid with CIs on one axis and the IT services that have a dependency on the CI on the other, as illustrated in Figure 4.18. This information should be available from the CMS, or alternatively it can be built using documented configuration charts and SLAs.

Figure 4.18 Component Failure Impact Analysis

The next step is to perform the CFIA and populate the grid as follows:



  • Leave a blank when a failure of the CI does not impact the service in any way
  • Insert an ‘X’ when the failure of the CI causes the IT service to be inoperative
  • Insert an ‘A’ when there is an alternative CI to provide the service
  • Insert an ‘M’ when there is an alternative CI, but the service requires manual intervention to be recovered.

Having built the grid, CIs that have a large number of Xs are critical to many services and can result in high impact should the CI fail. Equally, IT services having high counts of Xs are complex and are vulnerable to failure. This basic approach to CFIA can provide valuable information in quickly identifying SPoFs, IT services at risk from CI failure and what alternatives are available should CIs fail. It should also be used to assess the existence and validity of recovery procedures for the selected CIs. The above example assumes common infrastructure supporting multiple IT services. The same approach can be used for a single IT service by mapping the component CIs against the VBFs and users supported by each component, thus understanding the impact of a component failure on the business and user. The approach can also be further refined and developed to include and develop ‘component availability weighting’ factors that can be used to assess and calculate the overall effect of the component failure on the total service availability.

To undertake an advanced CFIA requires the CFIA matrix to be expanded to provide additional fields required for the more detailed analysis. This could include fields such as:





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