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Network reliability and resilience has become a key design parameter for network operators and Internet service providers. These often seek ways to have their networks fully operational for at least 99.999% of the time, regardless of the number and type of failures that may occur in their networks. This article presents a continuous-time Markov chain model to characterise the propagation of failures in optical GMPLS rings. Two types of failures are considered depending on whether they affect only the control plane, or both the control and data planes of the node. Additionally, it is assumed that control failures propagate along the ring infecting neighbouring nodes, as stated by the Susceptible-Infected-Disabled (SID) propagation model taken from epidemic-based propagation models. A few numerical examples are performed to demonstrate that the CTMC model provides a set of guidelines for selecting the appropriate repair rates in order to attain specific availability requirements, both in the control plane and the data plane.