Category Archives: Tech Tips (Small Churches)

How to Calculate Reliability and Maintainability

In my recent post entitled IT Availability Management, (Facts & Fiction), I mention that I.T. availability management is made up of several elements including but not limited to Reliability and Maintainability. If you need to know how to measure Service Availability see How to Calculate Service Availability.

In this post we’ll walk through how to measure Reliability and Maintainability. My hope with this post is to equip I.T. managers with good practices for objectively reporting on the reliability and maintainability of the I.T. services they steward. This is also some handy information to have when you negotiate a service level agreement with a service provider.

I.T. Service Reliability

According to ITILv3 Reliability is defined as “A measure of how long a Configuration Item or IT Service can perform its agreed Function without interruption. Usually measured as Mean time between failures (MTBF)  or Meantime between incidents (MTBSI.) The term Reliability can also be used to state how likely it is that a Process, Function, etc., will deliver its required outputs.

  • Calculate Reliability (MTBF)

To calculate the reliability of a service in MTBF, your can subtract the total downtime from the available time in hours. You can then divide the result by the number of breaks.

ReliabilityMTBF

 

  • Calculate Reliability (MTBSI)

To calculate the reliability of a service in MTBSI, you can divide the available time in hours by the number of breaks in service availability.

ReliabilityMTBSI

I.T. Service Maintainability

According to ITILv3, maintainability is defined as, “a measure of how quickly and Effectively a Configuration Item or IT Service can be restored to normal working after a Failure. Maintainability is often measured and reported as Meantime to restore service (MTRS).

  • ITILv3 further states that, “Maintainability is also used in the context of Software or IT Service Development to mean ability to be Changed or Repaired easily.”

Calculate Maintainability

You can calculate the Meantime to Restore a service (MTRS),  by dividing the total downtime in hours by the number of service breaks.

Maintainability

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How to Calculate I.T. Service Availability

I know…I just wrote about I.T. availability so why am I writing yet another post on the subject? My recent post on this topic entitled  I.T. AVAILABILITY MANAGEMENT (FACTS & FICTION) shared some high level perspectives about I.T. Availability for business managers and I.T. professionals alike.

This post focuses a little more on equipping I.T. managers. It digs a little more deeply into the topic of I.T. Availability Management in that it offers brief tutorial on how to calculate the availability of an I.T. service. After the tutorial I also provide some practical application for the formula in order to help you gain value from the information.

Those of you who are familiar with I.T. Management standards know that measuring I.T. service availability alone doesn’t necessary offer a complete measure of I.T. service reliability and maintainability. See How to Calculate Reliability and Maintainability to calculate I.T. service reliability and maintainability of an I.T. Service.

Availability Definition (ITILv3)

Ability of a Configuration Item (CI) or IT Service to perform its agreed Function when required.

How to Calculate I.T. Service Availability (ITILv3)

To measure the availability of a service, you can subtract the amount of downtime from the Agreed Service Time (AST), then divide the result by the AST. You can then multiply the number by 100 to obtain the percentage.

AvailabilityFormala

How To Calculate Acceptable Downtime From a Known Availability Percentage

To calculate the accepted downtime from a known availability percentage, Multiply the numeric value of the percentage by the AST and divide it by 100. You can then subtract the result from the AST.

Downtime

A quick note about Agreed Service Time (AST)

Many people defer to 24 hours/7 days a week as an agreed service time by default. The reality is that many I.T. services don’t actually need to be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As a business or I.T. manager, it is important to take a candid look at different I.T. services that you rely on to operate your organization. For example, email in your organization will probably need to be available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. However, payroll may only need to be available 10 hours a day 5 days a week. I.T. may offer access to the payroll system 24/7 as a convenience to staff. However, it may cost more to warrantee such availability than it is worth. With this in mind, it is important to have and communicate Agreed Service Times that outline when users/customers can expect a service to be “fit for use” and available to perform their functions as expected. Availability calculations should only be applies using the total amount contained within the Agreed Service Time.

Why calculating and measuring I.T. availability important?

With all of these details, you might be asking why this is so important? After-all in the cloud world nothing ever really goes down anyway right? Wrong. It may be true that we live in a world that ranges from 24/7 pharmacies to 24/7 fast food restaurants. However, technology still burns resources and costs money to operate. Technology still requires good leadership and even in this time of the perceived continuous availability that we observe in our cloud service world, technology fails.  With this in mind here are a couple practical applications for measuring I.T. availability.

  1. As an I.T. manager/professional you know that there can be a great deal of drama surrounding the availability of key I.T. services. You know that providing facts and data is a great way to mitigate drama and communicate growth. Therefore, as part of a monthly performance report to senior management you provide an availability report that highlights the availability of key I.T. services. This report may show that availability has improved as a result of a capital investment in technology resources.  Or, perhaps you want to communicate on a Quarterly basis that your technology infrastructure/staff is maintaining availability as a key contributor to the productivity and continuity of your organizational initiatives. In any case an I.T. manager should never take for granted or assume that senior management is clear about the availability of a service. They may hear complaints about a service failure. But they rarely hear about positive I.T. accomplishments. It is your job as the I.T. leader to communicate in measurable and objectives ways that the technology you steward is a good investment of organizational resources.    (Please Note: Some of you might want to use availability statistics to help you acquire funding in order to make I.T. improvements. Stay Tuned…I will be talked about using stats to acquire funding in future posts when write about write about Reliability. and Maintainability.)
  2. As a business or I.T. manager you are looking at the Service Level Agreement from a Software as a Service company that specializes in Sales support. They claim that they agree to warranty the availability of their service 99.9% of the time to be measured over a thirty day billing cycle. Having an understanding of how to calculate availability allows you to confirm how much time the service may be unavailable over the billing period.

 Conclusion

Candidly computer users and customers that you support don’t care about best practices in I.T. They really only care about the value that you add to their lives through technology. For example, few people really care about what techniques a professional guitar player uses in a performance. They really only care about how good their “playing” sounds. I mention this in conclusion of this post in order to acknowledge that excellent I.T. management is about adding value and that sometimes I.T. managers get too caught up in process and lose sight of value. Furthermore, I.T. managers can get too caught up on using Availability management as a way to create barriers for users. It doesn’t have to be this way. As I.T. managers we must constantly ask the question, “How can we add value with technology?” Good management, order, discipline and good stewardship all add great value if managers keep this question in mind when they plan their I.T. availability management strategies.

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Additional Information

 

 

 

How to Manually Install Adobe Flash on a nabi Tabet (Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich)

I have had the great privilege of working with a tremendous non-profit organization for the past couple days. The organization is WatchKnowLearn. They have developed an amazing free educational wiki along with a very effective tool for help kids learn to read called Reading Bear, http://www.readingbear.org.

This Adobe Flash based system is easily accessed over a browser and requires very little to no configuration and technical expertise from teachers and students to use. All content has been assembled by highly training and qualified professionals. It is a pretty amazing system that offers free access to quality educational materials to everyone.

The Challenge.

Flash is increasingly losing support on many platforms, the latest being Google Android. The problem is that there are many educational programs written on this platform that can benefit from mobile access to their services. In this case WatchKnowLearn has equipped a pre-school in the Orange Mound area with durable Nabi tablets to access their Reading Bear program. The tablets needed an update in their local flash player installs in order to run the program correctly. With Adobe/Google Android support waning on this platform the update is no longer available on Google Play. This post walked through the steps for manually installing flash on a Nabi device.

99.999% of the credit for this post goes to Chris Campbell from Adobe who posted steller step by step instructions out on Adobe’s Flash Player FAQ forum. You can read directly at http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1061194?tstart=0.

Since I will be visiting the site today in order to install this Flash Update I am posting some additional Nabi specific instructions to help me and others do this process in the future.

Prerequisites

There really is only one major prerequisite that I can think of and that is that this manual install is only tested up to Android Version 4.0.4 – Ice Cream Sandwich. There is no doubt that I will be working on getting flash to work on later versions of Android but for now this is a solution for Nabi tablet devices running Android Version 4.0.4.

I have had the great privilege of working with a tremendous non-profit organization for the past couple days. The organization is WatchKnowLearn, http://www.watchknowlearn.com. They have developed an amazing free educational wiki along with a very effective tool to help kids learn to read called Reading Bear, http://www.readingbear.org.

This Adobe Flash based system is easily accessed over a browser and requires very little to no configuration and technical expertise from teachers and students to use. All content has been assembled by highly trained and qualified professionals. It is a pretty amazing system that offers free access to quality educational materials to everyone.

The Challenge.

Flash is increasingly losing support on many platforms, the latest being Google Android. The problem is that there are many educational programs written on this platform that can benefit from mobile access to their services. In this case, WatchKnowLearn has equipped a pre-school in the Orange Mound area with durable Nabi tablets to access their Reading Bear program. The tablets needed an update in their local flash player installs in order to run the program correctly. With Adobe/Google Android support waning on this platform, the update is no longer available on Google Play. This document provides steps for manually installing flash on a Nabi 2 device.

99.999% of the credit for this post goes to Chris Campbell from Adobe who posted stellar step by step instructions out on Adobe’s Flash Player FAQ forum. You can read directly at http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1061194?tstart=0

The instructions provided in the link above are instructions for manually installing Adobe Flash on an Android device. This document focuses primarily on performing this procedure on nabi2 devices.

For more information regarding Nabi2 tablets, visit http://www.nabitablet.com

Notice:

The steps provided in this document have only been tested on Nabi2 devices running Android Version 4.0.4 – Ice Cream Sandwich.

 

Download

Feel free to download pdf and word formats of this help document.

Download PDF Version, Download Word Version


Step 1 – Place tablet into “Mommy” or “Daddy” mode.

 

What You Do

What You See

A

 

Touch Menu Button located in the lower left corner of the nabi screen.

B

Touch “Mommy Mode” icon.

C

Enter “Mommy Mode” password then touch the “Submit” button.

 

Step 2 – Allow Installation of non-Market Apps

 

What You Do

What You See

A.

Locate and touch “Settings” icon on nabi home screen.

B.

Select Security

C.

Make sure that there is a check mark in the “Unknown sources” check box.

D.

Touch “OK” when prompted with warning

E.

Touch home button to return to home screen

 


Step 3 – Install Flash Update

 

What You Do

What You See

A.

Touch Maxthon Browser icon on Nabi home screen Icon to launch Maxthon Browser.

B.

Go to  http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions. htmlLook for and touch
Flash Player 11.1 for Android
4.0 (11.1.115.27)
 

C.

Touch the OK button to launch the Download Manager and start the download process.  

D.

Once Download has completed, touch the “install_flash_player_ics.apk file in the Download manager screen.This will launch the Flash installer.  

E.

If a version of Flash has already been installed, Touch OK on the Replace application screen.  

F.

Touch the “Install” Button  

G.

Touch Done after the application is installed  

 

Step 4 – Exit “Mommy” Mode

 

What You Do

What You See

A

Touch “nabi Mode” icon
to place tablet back in nabi mode.
 

 

 

 

Step 5 – Test Installation

 

What You Do

What You See

A.

Touch “Web” icon in nabi home screen to launch browser.

B.

Visit http://www.readingbear.comand touch any of the reading courses at the bottom of the home page to start a presentation.The following link should also produce a valid testhttp://www.readingbear.org/Presentation.aspx?PresentationID=1&Part=1

C.

A successful test should result in all presentation videos playing successfully.

 

 

Glossary

 

Maxthon Browser
Lets you set up a safe web environment by creating a safe list of websites you want to allow your kids to access. – http://www.maxthon.com

  

Mommy Mode
In Mommy/Daddy Mode, parents can enjoy the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich environment without kid-safe restrictions. When your kids are at school or asleep, you can watch your favorite movie or TV show, download music or do some online shopping. Mommy/Daddy Mode features an Android browser and a Maxthon Browser, its own application store, as well as all the utilities commonly found in the Android environment. http://www.nabitablet.com