How to Document and Maintain Your Cloud Runbooks

Are you tired of spending hours googling solutions during a cloud outage? Do you wish you had all the answers at your fingertips? Well, look no further, because properly documented and maintained cloud runbooks are here to save the day!

What are Cloud Runbooks?

Before we dive into documenting and maintaining your runbooks, let's first understand what they are. Simply put, runbooks are documented procedures that guide you through a predefined set of actions for a specific scenario. In the context of cloud computing, runbooks are used for handling outages or maintenance scenarios. They provide a systematic way of handling issues and ensure continuity of services.

Benefits of Documenting and Maintaining Your Cloud Runbooks

Developing, documenting, and maintaining your runbooks comes with numerous benefits. The obvious benefit is that you have a documented and tested set of procedures that can be executed in case of an incident. Other benefits include:

Developing and Documenting Your Cloud Runbooks

Now that we've established the benefits, let's start developing and documenting your cloud runbooks. The following six steps will help you create effective and accessible documents that can easily be referenced in case of an incident.

Step 1: Determine Your Scenarios

The first step in developing your cloud runbooks is to determine the scenarios for which they will be used. You should begin by identifying the most common scenarios that your organization faces. These scenarios could include server outages, network failures, or database corruption. Once you have identified the scenarios, you can begin to outline the specific steps that need to be taken for each scenario.

Step 2: Identify the Key Players

After identifying your scenarios, you'll need to identify the key players who will be involved in the incident response. This includes everyone from the IT team to the operations team. Make sure you include contact information for all key players so that they can be reached quickly in case of an incident.

Step 3: Document the Steps

Documenting the steps is the most critical aspect of creating your runbooks. The steps should include specifics like the order of the steps, the commands that need to be executed, and any timeouts or delays that need to be accounted for. Make sure each step is clear and concise so that they can be followed quickly and efficiently.

Step 4: Test and Refine Your Runbooks

Once you have documented your steps, it's essential to test and refine your runbooks. Runbooks that aren't tested are useless during a real incident. Make sure that you test your runbooks for each scenario several times to ensure their effectiveness. Refine them as needed to make them more effective.

Step 5: Store Your Runbooks in a Centralized Location

Once you have developed and tested your runbooks, it's essential to store them in a centralized location. This can be a shared folder on a network drive, in a wiki, or a cloud-based storage service. Ensure that your runbooks are accessible to everyone who needs access, and that they are up to date and easy to find.

Step 6: Keep Your Runbooks Up to date

Finally, it's vital to keep your runbooks up to date. As your infrastructure changes, so will your runbooks. Make sure to review and update your runbooks regularly, so they remain relevant and effective.

Maintaining Your Cloud Runbooks

Maintaining your cloud runbooks is essential to ensure that they remain effective in case of an incident. Here are a few tips to help you keep your runbooks up to date and relevant:

Tip 1: Assign a Runbook Owner

Assigning a runbook owner helps to ensure that your runbooks are regularly reviewed and updated. The owner should be responsible for reviewing and updating the runbooks regularly, as well as ensuring that they are accessible to all key players.

Tip 2: Review and Update Your Runbooks Regularly

It's essential to review and update your runbooks regularly to keep them relevant and effective. Make sure to review your runbooks at least once every quarter and update them as needed.

Tip 3: Incorporate Lessons Learned

Incorporate lessons learned from previous incidents into your runbooks. Doing so helps to ensure that mistakes aren't repeated and that your runbooks remain effective in handling incidents.


Properly documenting and maintaining your cloud runbooks is critical for ensuring that your organization is prepared for any incident that may occur. By following these six steps, you can create effective runbooks that are accessible to all key players and that can be quickly and efficiently executed in case of an incident. Remember to test and refine your runbooks regularly and update them as your infrastructure changes. By doing so, you'll be well on your way to developing and maintaining effective and accessible cloud runbooks.

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