Business & Tech Standards

Operations & Support Domain

This section contains the Department of Human Services' (DHS) standards and policies that pertain to managing, maintaining, and supporting the infrastructure resources of DHS. This domain also outlines the guidelines and tools used at the operational level of the infrastructure. These standards allow DHS to provide its clients with the greatest level of availability to those resources, resulting in improved service. The infrastructure resources include the servers, routers, and other agency assets, databases, applications, networks, and Internet components necessary to conduct the automated business functions of DHS.

This domain contains three distinct sections: availability, infrastructure services, and operations. The availability section relates to various components of DHS' Technology Architecture that need to work seamlessly together.

The infrastructure services section relates to the ability to maintain the various components that comprise that environment. The operations section relates to those services that help ensure that DHS's infrastructure environment remains operational.

The principles that help guide the selection of components that support the entire DHS infrastructure include:

  • Asset management — The maintenance of information on the DHS assets must be current. Tools may help with those inventory activities.
  • Compatibility — All components will be compatible, provide for standard configurations, and can be managed centrally which allows for expeditious problem resolution.
  • Enterprise Management Tools — Provide adequate metrics and reports to help support the management of the assets of DHS. Some of the areas that monitored include system capacity, availability, and stability.
  • Future Growth — The components needed to provide for DHS' current and future demands.
  • Limited Customer View — The customer will focus only on their area of responsibility.
  • Problem Routing — The components will have appropriate alert mechanisms that can route the definitions of problems to the appropriate resources.
  • Project Management Tools — Effective methods for identifying, tracking, and resolving problems that arise in a production environment are necessary.
  • Recoverability — Continued service to clients is a paramount issue needing a robust disaster recovery plan.
  • Remote Access and Management — Provides the ability to remotely access and manage the assets of a particular system or DHS.
  • Simpler Configuration — Since components need to be interoperable, the configurations tend to be less complex. This may also lead to selecting a smaller subset of vendors to supply the components.
  • Total Cost of Ownership — The components used will provide cost-effective alternatives for ownership and replacement.
  • Transparent Technology — the framework components do not hinder the definition and resolution of problems that arise in DHS. In addition, the technology will provide for maximum scalability and allow for a wider range of configurations.
  • Use of COTS — this has many advantages as it decreases compatibility issues, provides a larger customer base for support, and allows for concentration on DHS' business requirements rather than software installation and maintenance.
  • Use Reputable Vendors — Third-party products from reputable vendors provide a greater level of stability to DHS. In addition, these vendors tend to conform to industry standards that further improve that stability.

In addition to the above-mentioned domain principles, there are four component standards that must be considered as part of the Operations domain:

  • Desk — The desktop components will work seamlessly together if they comply with the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) standard.
  • Int — Applications developed that employ Internet capabilities is based on the standards as published in the Data Domain.
  • Monitoring — The ability to monitor the network performance and capacity is based on the remote monitoring (RMON) standard.
  • Network — The protocols employed on the network are based on the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) standard.

This section consists of the following areas:

Service Levels 

Objectives and Agreements

Maintains DHS standards and policies regarding Service Level Objectives (SLO) and Service Level Agreements (SLA). Service Level Objectives enable DHS to work with contractors to collectively establish business function requirements and measurement criteria, which help determine if requirements are being met. A Service Level Agreement is similar to a Service Level Objective. However, an SLA is a binding legal agreement, whereas an SLO is more of a means to identify and document requirements and measurements. The Operations Domain establishes an SLA to legally set certain terms and conditions for a particular task, such as the running of an application. For example, a document detailing the system availability that a vendor must provide, when building a computer application, and the penalties levied if this threshold is not maintained, would be in an SLA. SLOs and SLAs are an important aspect of vendor-maintained information systems at DHS.

The guidelines listed below constitute a generic requirement defined for SLO's and SLA's. If no requirements are specified by either the organization requesting the service or their designated contractor(s), then the guidelines will be used as a basis to create the standard for their request.


Examples and Best Practices

Templates and Forms

Performance Management

This section provides DHS' standards and policies for operational performance management.


Network and Application Performance Monitoring

This section maintains HHS IT Delivery Center standards and guidelines for Application Performance Monitoring.


Change Control Board (CCB)

For instructions and forms for the Change Control Board, please refer to Change Control Board on the Application Domain.

Recovery Planning

This section provides Health & Human Services Delivery Center (HHS DC) standards and policies around operational recovery planning.




General Operations Procedures

The Configuration Management team employs General Operations Procedures to effectively administer computer resources within DHS. Such procedures can range from the management of servers to security operations.



Templates and Forms