About AITS Change Management

AITS has been adhering to their current Change Management principles and policies since 2005. The purpose of the Change Management Process is to ensure that IT systems continue to operate without unexpected and avoidable disruption or degradation of performance.

Changes in the IT infrastructure may arise for the following reasons:

  • React to software or hardware problems
  • Address newly imposed regulatory requirements, e.g. legislative changes
  • Proactive changes to introduce efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Enable or reflect business initiatives
  • Introduce new programs, projects or service improvement initiatives

Hours of Availability for Production Services

Production services are available to customers 24 x 7, excluding planned outages, maintenance windows and unavoidable events. Maintenance windows are used only when needed for planned changes that have gone through the AITS Change Management process. In addition to the standard AITS maintenance windows, site-specific and service-specific changes may be coordinated with customers at non-standard times.

Standard maintenance windows are defined as:

  • 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each Sunday when application usage is at its lowest.
  • After 5:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, unless business needs dictate making the change during business hours.
  • The Sunday following the second Tuesday of the month from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for patching Microsoft Windows servers.
  • Annually, three Sunday events are scheduled from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for routine Solaris (Sun) and Linux patching.

Hours of Availability for Production Support

  • Standard business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for University of Illinois holidays.
  • On-call technical staff are available for after-hours support, as required, for emergencies and scheduled work including weekends and University of Illinois holidays.
  • AITS Service Desk is available 24x7x365

What Does Change Management Include?

The AITS Change Management Process includes changes made to the production environment for all AITS supported infrastructure. This includes servers, databases, applications, enterprise and desktop software, printing, networks, storage, and facilities.

How are Change Requests Reviewed and Approved?

Events with the potential for significant system and/or user impact are placed on the AITS Deployment Schedule and reviewed by the AITS Deployment Scheduling Committee (DSC) which convenes bi-weekly. If the change is urgent and time constraints prevent DSC review, it is authorized by the AITS Leadership Team. Changes with the potential for limited or no impact to the production system or users do not have to be reviewed by the DSC. All requested changes are submitted via Service Desk Manager and go through a four step approval process including client, area manager for the impacted system/service, change control operations staff, and change control coordinator. Additionally, all requested changes are reviewed by the configuration management team to identify any changes to the CMDB data.

How does AITS define Emergency Changes?

At times unplanned system or service interruptions occur due to scenarios such as IT component failures, regulatory events, or outages caused by severe weather conditions. An Emergency Change is often required to restore production services. In all cases, an unforeseen event is considered an urgent event and will be handled immediately. AITS Leadership Team provides authorization for emergency production changes and user impact communication is disseminated as soon as possible by the AITS Deployment team and/or AITS Service Desk staff. Within 24 hours of an incident, a change request is submitted detailing all the changes that were made within the scope of the Change Management processes to stabilize a production critical situation and an incident report must be filed. Customers and AITS personnel are responsible for notifying the Service Desk of such events.

When Are Changes Implemented?

Emergency Changes, High Priority Normal and High Priority Major Changes are not held to specific deployment windows or lead time approval requirements due to the urgent nature of the issues they are addressing. Normal and Major Change Requests that do not meet the standard implementation window or lead time requirements must be filed as high priority. Emergency Changes are always high priority. They are handled on a case by case basis.