Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) 3.0 Released!

Download it here.

"But Sean" you may ask yourself.... "didn't you just post that version 4 had been released?  What's the deal?"

Yes, Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0 was just released.  A representation of the two models (version 3.0 and 4.0) are as follows (3.0 is the first one)

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Besides the obvious addition of more diamonds (rhombi? parallelograms? I'm kidding in any case), MOF v 4.0 had different design goals than MOF v.3.  As I mentioned before, the Service Management Functions (SFMs) in MOF v.4 are designed to be bite-sized.  You should be able to spend 20 minutes reading the Envision or Reliability SMF and then get started on your project.

MOF v.3 was designed to be much more comprehensive, going into extraordinary detail about the intricacies of Security Administration, Directory Services and Administration, or Storage Management.  As you can see in the table below (I've bolded the SMFs in the Operating Quadrant, which are the most interesting to me), with one exception, all of the SMFs are now part of the new Operations SMF.

Old  Name Old Quadrant New Area New Name
Service Level Management Optimizing Plan Phase Business/IT Alignment SMF
Financial Management Optimizing Plan Phase Financial Management SMF
Capacity Management Optimizing Plan Phase Reliability SMF
Availability Management Optimizing Plan Phase Reliability SMF
IT Service Continuity Management Optimizing Plan Phase Reliability SMF
Workforce Management Optimizing Manage Layer Team SMF
Security Management Optimizing Plan Phase Reliability SMF
Infrastructure Engineering Optimizing Deliver Phase Envision SMF
Change Management Changing Manage Layer Change and Configuration SMF
Configuration Management Changing Manage Layer Change and Configuration SMF
Release Management Changing Deliver Phase Deploy SMF
System Administration Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Security Administration Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Service Monitoring and Control Operating Operate Phase Service Monitoring and Control SMF
Directory Services Administration Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Network Administration Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Storage Management Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Job Scheduling Operating Operate Phase Operations SMF
Service Desk Supporting Operate Phase Customer Service SMF
Incident Management Supporting Operate Phase Customer Service SMF
Problem Management Supporting Operate Phase Problem Management SMF
Risk Model   Manage Layer Governance, Risk, and Compliance SMF
Team Model   Manage Layer Team SMF
    Plan Phase Policy SMF
    Deliver Phase Project Planning SMF
    Deliver Phase Build SMF
    Deliver Phase Stabilize SMF

What is lost in the process of this consolidation and higher-level focus of the new version? 

Well, if we continue to focus on the Operating SMFs, the new Operations SMF is 28 pages.  As I mentioned, this version is the new home for what had previously been:

  • System Administration (28 pages)
  • Security Administration (41 pages)
  • Directory Services Administration (62 pages)
  • Network Administration (31 pages)
  • Storage Management (35 pages)
  • Job Scheduling (37 pages)

So the new version is worse than the old one?  It's just a cliff's notes version of what came before?  Not at all.  The new version has accomplished some great things.  Incorporated governance, increased the number of checkpoints before proceeding to the next phase of the framework, increased readability, reduced complexity, and incorporated key components of the Microsoft Solutions Framework.  In my opinion, it complements the older framework, but does not replace it.  Over time, product groups will create detailed documentation around the updated framework such as the excellent Active Directory Product Operations Guide - Detailed Maintenance Actions or High Availability and the Microsoft Operations Framework by the Biztalk team.

As stated by Don Lemmex (MOF Program Manager) in the TechNet Forums:

"...there are some significant differences between 3.0 and 4.0.

  • The biggest difference is that 4.0 is that we have established a complete lifecycle for IT services. Now the IT organization and the business have a map for making decisions, the kinds of activities involved in providing IT services, and when the activities should happen. 
  • MSF is now integrated into the overall IT lifecycle to make a deeper relationship between development and operations. 
  • The material is much more streamlined and focuses on essential concepts. We wanted to give the IT professional enough context to understand what is involved right away, and not force them to immerse themselves in an entire body of knowledge before applying it to their situation. 
  • Governance, risk management, policy and compliance are new in 4.0 in recognition of their critical importance to successful IT services. 
  • The Team Model in MOF 3.0 is now a Team SMF in MOF 4.0 and provides a much improved way to consider roles and accountabilities throughout the lifecycle. 
  • The community for MOF is even more important for 4.0 than it was in 3.0, since much of the “making it real in my situation” will take place here on these forums. This is the place to look for and contribute adaptable, pragmatic examples that show “this is what I did, and it worked really well for us.”

So the goal of MOF 4.0 is practical guidance that provides the right concepts and a community that constantly develops and extends the application of these concepts through discussion, examples, and job aids."

That said... don't discount MOF v.3, it still contains a significant amount of useful information.  Download the archive here. As per the download page:

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) delivers practical guidance for everyday IT practices and activities, helping users establish and implement reliable, cost-effective IT services.

For MOF 4.0, the newest version of MOF, click here.

Customers still using MOF 3.0 may download those documents from this archive page. The 3.0 guidance includes:

  • MOF 3.0 core white papers
    • MOF Executive Overview
    • MOF Team Model for Operations
    • MOF Process Model for Operations
    • MOF Risk Management Discipline for Operations
  • MOF 3.0 Service Management Function guides
  • MOF 3.0 Operations Management Review guides

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