The Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Release Role Cluster serves as the primary liaison between the project development team and the operations groups; it covers the two key Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) disciplines of configuration management and software control and distribution. This is where the transition between development/test and production operations occurs and is a crucial juncture for the smooth transition of the system into production.
Accordingly, the Release Role Cluster of the MOF Team Model is directly linked to the Release Management Role Cluster of the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Team Model. This is the key area of overlap between the two team models. After the release to production occurs (during the Changing Quadrant of the MOF Process Model), the Release Role Cluster is responsible for:
- Ongoing identification, change control, and status reporting of
the system and environment.
- Asset management with version control, software distribution,
license tracking, usage monitoring, and retirement
- Maintenance of the CMDB of inventory management for hardware,
software, and physical assets.
The Release Role Cluster is responsible for both inventory management and asset value management. Maintaining an accurate configuration management database (CMDB) provides identification and scope of all systems at a given baseline, accounts for each configuration item (CI) within the CMDB, and reports management information on the state of the IT infrastructure at any given time.
The CMDB (as prescribed by ITIL) goes beyond a basic inventory and asset list; it identifies relationships among systems and between systems and users of the systems so that change triggers and dependencies can be tracked. Tools such as Microsoft Systems Management Server support automation and autodiscovery of networked devices; however, regularly scheduled baseline reviews of all assets are necessary to make sure that the inventory accounting includes non-networked devices. How frequently the baseline inventory reviews are conducted depends entirely on the scope of CIs recorded and the rate of change within the environment.
The Release Role Cluster continuously searches for ways to optimize the release process so that it is as failsafe, recoverable, and automated as possible. For example, in large corporate IT organizations, one way to optimize the release into production and capture best practices is through the use of a dedicated release services analyst. The release services analyst is a functional position within the Release Role Cluster who is assigned to multiple projects of similar scope and function and specifically owns the detailed release plan that documents all tasks necessary to put the product or system into production. Because the release services analyst's sole duties are ensuring on-time, smoothly executed releases, this becomes a finely tuned core competency and allows this knowledge to be reused on many system implementations.
Key responsibilities of the Release Role Cluster include:
- Managing the transition between development/test and production
- Planning rollout activities, procedures, and policies for
- Managing configuration management process, records, tools, and
- Optimizing release/configuration automation through tools and
- Acting as primary liaison between the project development team
and the operations groups (this is the intersection with the MSF
Release Management Role Cluster).
- Conducting the Release Readiness Review and establishing
- Tracking, auditing, and reporting change for hardware and
- Controlling configuration (owns CMDB).
- Managing software licensing and distribution and maintaining
the definitive software library (DSL).
- Managing tool selection and provisioning for release
Key skills required of the Release Role Cluster include:
- Knowledge of the full range of hardware components
- Ability to maintain, secure, and oversee the off-the-shelf
- Ability to maintain, secure, and store hardware items (such as
memory and hard drives).
- Ability to use hardware compatibility lists to help make
- Ability to develop and implement information services (IS)
auditing procedures and standards.
- Ability to provide basic microcomputer hardware and software
repair, installation, and physical inventory control.
- Ability to maintain software licensing information and
- Ability to evaluate asset management technology