The acronym “RASM” encompasses four separate but related characteristics of a data processing, mechanical, or other physical system : reliability, availability, serviceability, and manageability. IBM is commonly noted1 as one of the first users of the acronym “RAS” (reliability, availability, and serviceability) in the early data processing machinery industry to describe the robustness of its products. The “M” was recently added to RASM to highlight the key role “manageability” plays in supporting system robustness by facilitating many dimensions of reliability, availability, and serviceability. RASM features can contribute significantly to the mission of systems for test, measurement, control, and experimentation as well as their associated business goals.
In general, RASM expresses the robustness of a system related to how well it performs its intended function. Therefore the RASM characteristics of a system are crucial to the quality of the mission for which the system is deployed. This has a great impact on both technical and business outcomes. For example, RASM functions can aid in establishing when preventive maintenance or replacement should take place. This, in turn, can effectively convert a surprise or unplanned outage into a manageable, planned outage, and thus maintain smoother service delivery and increase business continuity.
As the number of systems increases for a given mission, the ability to simply know what assets exist, their locations, and their conditions directly affects the efficiency of a company or an organization. In addition, with many systems, it becomes increasingly more difficult to perform updates and maintenance in an orderly and error-free manner. If systems are in remote locations, such as in a tunnel or up high on a structure, the effort and cost to access them can negatively impact business operations. Strong RASM characteristics afford great efficiency in these scenarios and hence lower the cost of ownership and operation of a system.
As illustrated in Figure 1, the four components of RASM are interrelated and many times supportive and overlapping.