REL08-BP01 Use runbooks for standard activities such as deployment - Reliability Pillar

REL08-BP01 Use runbooks for standard activities such as deployment

Runbooks are the predefined procedures to achieve specific outcomes. Use runbooks to perform standard activities, whether done manually or automatically. Examples include deploying a workload, patching a workload, or making DNS modifications.

For example, put processes in place to ensure rollback safety during deployments. Ensuring that you can roll back a deployment without any disruption for your customers is critical in making a service reliable.

For runbook procedures, start with a valid effective manual process, implement it in code, and invoke it to automatically run where appropriate.

Even for sophisticated workloads that are highly automated, runbooks are still useful for running game days or meeting rigorous reporting and auditing requirements.

Note that playbooks are used in response to specific incidents, and runbooks are used to achieve specific outcomes. Often, runbooks are for routine activities, while playbooks are used for responding to non-routine events.

Common anti-patterns:

  • Performing unplanned changes to configuration in production.

  • Skipping steps in your plan to deploy faster, resulting in a failed deployment.

  • Making changes without testing the reversal of the change.

Benefits of establishing this best practice: Effective change planning increases your ability to successfully run the change because you are aware of all the systems impacted. Validating your change in test environments increases your confidence.

Level of risk exposed if this best practice is not established: High

Implementation guidance

  • Provide consistent and prompt responses to well-understood events by documenting procedures in runbooks.

  • Use the principle of infrastructure as code to define your infrastructure. By using AWS CloudFormation (or a trusted third party) to define your infrastructure, you can use version control software to version and track changes.


Related documents: