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lbonanomi
lbonanomi

Posted on

Flowcharts for incident response

Does this sound familiar?

The alarms are flashing.
The clients are emailing.
Upper management is calling.
Line managers are DM-ing.

You are trying to juggle all of this while trying to follow a 50-line paragraph of troubleshooting text...

Let's borrow the Graphviz tools from the systems architect to make easier-to-follow incident response plans.

digraph Jira_Outage 
{
  {
    first_notification [ 
      label="Notification of a Jira outage from any channel" 
      shape=rect
    ] 

    pc_browser [ 
      label="Does Jira load in a PC Browser?" 
      shape=rect 
    ]
    yes_pc_browser [ 
      label="Yes" 
      shape=rect 
    ]

    no_pc_browser [ 
      label="No" 
      shape=rect 
    ]

    linux_server_browser [ 
      label="Does Jira load in\nFirefox from a Linux server?" 
      shape=rect 
    ]

    user_ssh_connect [
      label="Does SSH-ing to jira.internal.hostname connect?" 
      shape=rect 
    ]

    yes_user_ssh_connect [ 
      label="Yes"
      shape=rect
    ]

    no_user_ssh_connect [
      label="No"
      shape=rect 
    ]

    debug_screen [
        label="Jira shows an unexpected screen."
        shape=rect
    ]

    pingable [
      label="Does jira.internal.hostname ping?"
      shape=rect
    ]

    host_down [
      label="Application host is down.\n\n\Attempt to restart application."
      shape=rect
    ]

    yes_ping [
      label="Yes"
      shape=rect
    ]

    no_ping [
      label="No"
      shape=rect
    ]

    site_down [
      label="Site is down.\n\nSwitch to backup site."
      shape=rect
    ]

    first_notification -> pc_browser

    pc_browser -> no_pc_browser
    pc_browser -> yes_pc_browser 
    no_pc_browser -> user_ssh_connect
    yes_pc_browser -> debug_screen

    user_ssh_connect -> no_user_ssh_connect
    user_ssh_connect -> yes_user_ssh_connect

    yes_user_ssh_connect -> linux_server_browser
    no_user_ssh_connect -> pingable

    pingable -> no_ping
    pingable -> yes_ping

    yes_ping -> host_down
    no_ping -> site_down

    linux_server_browser -> site_down
    debug_screen -> host_down

  }
}

into handsome instructional flowcharts like this:

I'm sure you're wondering why I prefer Graphviz to any of the plethora of free SVG diagramming tools. Besides fundamental masochism, using dot allows for automatic document (re)generation in the face of hosts being added/deleted/changed.

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