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Riding the CMDB Tidal Wave

Jul 10, 2008

Dennis Drogseth


Just for starters, configuration management in ITIL doesn’t refer to making configuration changes in the sense that most of the industry defines it, that’s ITIL’s “release management.”


In fact, the most common business objective for early and near-term CMDB systems is to unify processes with Change Management and Control with ITIL's Incident Management so that important IT services are not negatively impacted by change.


However, longer-term, many IT managers aspire to unify real-time service impact management, SLM and BSM, across an array of different management sources as an extension of the CMDB System.


In this way, they seek to achieve trusted, cohesive insights into discovered reality to compare and contrast with desired state or approved versions of software levels, devices and device configurations as they map to application services.


In other words, the CMDB becomes a federated integration of carefully defined “trusted sources” to provide dynamic insights into “things as they should be” versus “things as they are.”


The power of this can be enormous. Changes can be managed, controlled and validated with accompanying savings in operational costs, and mean time between failure (MTBF). In one instance, a CMDB reduced MTTR (mean time to repair) 70% when downtime was costing a financial services organization a million dollars a minute.


Still, the confusion remains. How can all this be summed up by the curious phrase configuration management database? The answer is it can’t. In trying to compress a very long discussion into three terms, EMA has evolved the following CMDB taxonomy:


Core CMDB - A repository in which desired-state information resides.


CMDB System – A system which allows core CMDB data to be contrasted with discovered information about CIs and their attributes via a metadata directory.


Citizen CMDB – A constituent component of a broader CMDB system that is not core, either by virtue of its being focused exclusively on discovered “truth” without support for process control and review, or by virtue of its being domain centric (e.g. focused only on release management and control for key servers ).


Of these visions, it is the CMDB System that reflects the true CMDB tidal wave. Such a system is absolutely federated, absolutely multi-brand, and absolutely revolutionary in its implications for how IT will operate, how it will evolve as a culture, and how it will adopt technology in the future.


This article appears courtesy of CIOUpdate.com.


Dennis Drogseth is a vice president and leads Enterprise Management Associates' New Hampshire office. A driving force in establishing EMA’s New England presence, Drogseth is also the Network Services practice leader.