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Fink, R. (2008):

Modelling and Assisting the Design of IT Changes

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices that are widely accepted for IT service management (ISTM). Change management is a core ITIL process that oversees the handling of IT changes and ensures that all change requests are carefully prioritised and authorised, that business and technical impacts are understood, and that required resources are available. During this process, IT operations teams first need to understand the change requests that are generated by business and IT personnel. They must then develop and execute concrete IT change plans for each request. The increasingly large and complex IT environment (people, technology and processes) presents a number of challenges to the efficient and effective design of the ever higher volume of IT changes: Change requests can be ill-defined, company policies and best practices are not systematically captured and enforced, manually designing changes is time consuming and error-prone. To overcome these issues we propose in this thesis an automated planning based approach to change design. We illustrate how change knowledge can be represented to encode best practices and how to refine high-level change requests into concrete plans.

The proposed architecture features in its core a Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) planner that assists the user in integrating information from various sources into consistent change plans. Instead of relying on the commonly used logic language formulation for the underlying planning domain, the presented approach introduces novel concepts to bring together the prevailing object-oriented modelling paradigms of Configuration Management Systems (CMS) with the logic programming based methods of automated planning algorithms. A prototypical implementation of the framework and the planning algorithm shows the feasibility of the approach.