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Survivable Functional Units: Balancing an Enterprise's Mission and Technology

May 2004 Technical Note
Larry Rogers

In this 2004 report, Larry Rogers describes enterprise networks in a way that helps system administrators see how technology supports the enterprise's mission.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


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Enterprises strive for success in fulfilling their mission to their customers. Information and its management are key components of their ability to succeed. Computer systems and network infrastructure components—the technologies that process this information—are playing an increasingly larger role in support of an enterprise's ability to fulfill its customers' needs. Their role has grown to a point where the slightest disruption—break-ins or even attempted break-ins can adversely affect the enterprise's ability to manage information and therefore deliver products and services to its customers. Although system administrators often need to focus on the details of computer systems and network infrastructure components to keep them operating smoothly, they must also be able to see the role that these technologies play in support of the enterprise's mission. This technical note describes Survivable Functional Units, a way to think about these enterprise networks.

Although Survivable Functional Units have always been a part of networks, they now have a name and a more rigorous definition, and they can be linked to the mission of the enterprise in a more straightforward manner. The intended audience for this technical note is system administrators and their immediate managers, though the concepts have wider applicability.