[SLE Team] Expectations of Service Level Expectations

Grace Abuhamad grace.abuhamad at icann.org
Tue Mar 8 09:21:47 UTC 2016

Original Link: 

Expectations of Service Level Expectations
Recently, ICANN staff has been working to meet the community requirements
related to establishing metrics for the performance of the "Post Transition
IANA" as it processes root zone management requests. For those not following
the development of the Service Level Expectations, the agreed upon
principles for the monitoring, reporting, and assessment of these requests
1. Attributable measures. Where practical, individual metrics should be
reported attributing time taken to the party responsible. For example, time
spent by IANA staff processing a change request should be accounted for
distinctly from time spent waiting for customer action during a change
2. Overall times. Notwithstanding the previous principle, there is value in
overall metrics being reported to identify general trends associated with
end-to-end processing times.
3. Relevance. There should be a distinction between metrics that should be
collected to support general analysis, versus which are the critical metrics
that are considered important to set specific thresholds for judging
breaches in ICANN's ability to provide an appropriate level of service.
4. Clear definition. Each metric should be sufficiently defined such that
there is a commonly held understanding on what is being measured, and how an
automated approach would be implemented to measure against the standard.
5. Definition of thresholds. The definition of specific thresholds for a
performance criteria should be set based on analysis of actual data. This
may require first the definition of a metric, a period of data collection,
and later analysis by the community before defining the threshold.
6. Review process. The service level expectations should be reviewed
periodically, and adapted based on the revised expectations of the community
and updates to the environment. They should be mutually agreed between the
community and the IANA Functions Operator.
7. Regular reporting. To the extent practical, metrics should be regularly
reported in a near real-time fashion.
As of 2 March, the necessary code changes to enable the collection of timing
information for the Service Level Expectations have been in production. The
next step may be to consider what we'll do with the data collected. In this
post, we'll discuss how we got to where we are and what to expect going
Background: Setting Measurement Requirements
A Cross-Community Working Group (CWG) Design Team, specifically ("DT-A"),
was tasked with developing performance standards. DT-A developed a set of
metrics to collect in order to assess the service levels provided by the
IANA root zone management function. This development process included ICANN
staff as subject matter experts who walked through the detailed root zone
management process with the Design Team explaining how it works and
discussing the implications of various proposed measurements. ICANN staff
contributed our explanations of the typical processing flows, as well as
sharing unusual cases that may make some measures more complicated than they
may appear at first glance. While ICANN staff did not set the metrics, we
did advise the Design Team when we thought certain measurements would be
impossible to collect. The conclusion of this work is the Design Team's
final report, which formed part of the CWG proposal.
Implementation: Adding New Measurement Capabilities to RZMS
Since the completion of the CWG proposal, the team that develops ICANN's
Root Zone Management System (RZMS) has worked to instrument the system to
capture system events that relate to the proposed new metrics. This was
necessary as some of the measurements from the Design Team's work relate to
fine details of certain process flows that weren't recorded originally. As
mentioned, this work has been completed and the first version that supports
this new logging was deployed on 2 March 2016.ICANN staff will be reviewing
the first batches of log data to determine whether further refinement is
needed to successfully calculate and report against the SLEs.
Collecting Initial Data
With the new performance statistics collection capabilities of the RZMS in
place, ICANN staff has begun collecting raw data. These data will form the
basis of future discussions with the broader root zone management community,
i.e., the many organizations that manage TLDs. In these discussions, we
expect to explore which metrics are key and what the Post Transition IANA's
performance against those metrics should be. The CWG proposal requires
service levels be set using analysis of actual data, and this data will be
used in that analysis. Given the time constraints associated with the
transition and our expectations that the metrics must evolve over time, we
believe an initial data collection of three (3) months will sufficient to
set a baseline for the initial thresholds as discussed below.
Data Aggregation and Reporting
While the initial data collection is underway, ICANN staff will develop the
necessary systems and tools to aggregate the raw data flow and convert the
data into the formats the community expects. These formats will include a
dashboard view suitable for real time publication, and any regular reports
that need to be generated. In addition, a version of the raw logs with
confidential information redacted will be published allowing third parties
to perform their own analysis and measurements as well as providing a way to
independently verify our interpretation of the data. We will share our
progress as the data collection and tools are developed and publish the data
as soon as we gain confidence in their accuracy.
Setting Thresholds and Service Levels
With sufficient data in hand to perform comprehensive analyses, and with the
tools necessary to analyze and report the data deployed, we will engage with
the community of TLD managers to identify what the "critical metrics" are,
and what their thresholds will need to be. These thresholds, once agreed
betweenICANN staff and the community, will be the new root zone management
performance standards in the post-transition environment. Beyond this, the
regular feedback mechanisms defined in the transition proposal, including
engagement with the newly formed Customer Standing Committee (CSC), will
inform the future evolution of the reporting and expected performance of the
IANA root zone management.
We have begun collecting the metrics the community and ICANN staff agreed
upon. ICANN staff looks forward to working with the community as the data
related to timing of root zone management actions by staff, community, and
others are obtained, collated, and made available to those interested in
keeping with ICANN's commitment to openness and transparency. We anticipate
that a period of three (3) months of metrics collection will provide
sufficient data to set performance targets for IANA. After the transition
has been implemented, the CSC will be able to evaluate IANA root zone
management performance and adjust specific service levels to best meet the
community's needs.

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