EXTRA - Conference Coverage - Michelle Hudnall

CMDB - Maximum Value, Minimum Number of Records!

Reported by Michele Hudnall, director of Service Management, Managed Objects.

Configuration management, not surprising, is central to of many of the sessions, vendor solutions and questions from the attendees at itSMF this year. The CMDB is the key that enables IT organizations (ITOs) to speak to their business units in terms of demand, capacity, usage, cost and value of services rather than technologies.

Projects discussed at itSMF are not generally a "CMDB project," but rather a CMDB supporting the development, management and communication of business services and/or in response to compliance and regulatory governance.

Common themes that perplex most ITO's – especially here seem to be:
- How wide and how deep should my CMDB be?
- What precisely is a CI?
- Where do I begin building a CMDB?
- Should I have one physical database or a federated database? (See federated vs. centralized:
- If federated, then how do I integrate?

In breaking this topic down, the purpose of the CMDB is to illustrate "relationships" logically to understand the driving questions of governance and services in support of managing technology services balancing cost/value and capacity/demand.

The purpose is not to become a single physical database, which requires duplication of management data (problem, incident, change, availability, etc.)

The answers I’ve heard at itSMF to the questions above seem to point out that the most successful approaches are those organizations that understand the value of managing the processes with supporting technology, while simultaneously integrating across process and technologies. Leveraging technology that enables integration for relationship views (shallow), while deep process information is managed at its source.

Pitfall themes to CMDB projects seem to be when organizations go too wide (end-to-end IT services), too deep (duplication of data managed in other technologies) and do not keep to the objective of the project (service views, governance, relationship mapping). The relationship view representing the relevant pieces of data from various management technologies and sources will provide the most value.

As ITIL states, "maximum control, minimum number of records."

Recommended reading:
Network World: Configuration management databases take center stage:-

Network Computing: IT Best Practices With ITIL:-

Network World: A closer look at ITIL:-

CIO Government: ITIL Be Alright on the Night:-


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