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Mastering configuration items (CIs) and configuration management in ServiceNow CMDB: A step-by-step guide

Mastering configuration items (CIs) and configuration management in ServiceNow CMDB: A step-by-step guide

Configuration Items (CIs) are the building blocks of your ServiceNow CMDB. At the most basic level, a CI is any object that the system can manage. CIs include applications, devices, users and groups, and so on. 

However, ServiceNow’s CMDB also supports other types of CIs such as policies or business rules through custom objects. Regardless of their type or purpose (and even if they’re not actually an item), all CIs are managed using a common set of methods provided by ServiceNow’s CMDB platform. 

Learn why configuration management is essential for your organization

Configuration Items (CIs)

Configuration Items (CIs) are the atomic units of configuration management. They’re the smallest unit of change and can be hardware, software, or data. CIs are often referred to as assets and are categorized based on their lifecycle stage:

Initial – An asset created for the first time in ServiceNow CMDB.

Deployed – An asset that has been deployed at least once.

Installed – An asset that has been installed at least once.

ServiceNow CMDB

ServiceNow CMDB (Configuration Management Database) is a powerful tool that enables organizations to track, manage, and analyze their IT assets and infrastructure. The CMDB serves as a central repository for all IT assets and configuration items, providing a single source of truth for IT operations and service management. 

With ServiceNow CMDB, organizations can gain visibility into their IT infrastructure, understand dependencies between assets, and make informed decisions about changes and upgrades. The CMDB also enables organizations to automate IT service management processes, such as incident and problem management, by providing accurate and up-to-date information about IT assets.

In ServiceNow CMDB, CIs are also referred to as objects. Examples of CIs include computers, printers, applications, and so on.

Defining and managing CIs in a ServiceNow CMDB

CIs are also called “managed assets” because they’re managed by IT operations staff and stored in a CMDB database.

CIs have attributes that describe them: for example their serial number or model number. You can define these attributes when you create the CI record in ServiceNow; each attribute has its own data type (text field, drop-down list, etc).

Let us look at how to define CIs and relationships between CIs using the Configuration Item Builder tool in ServiceNow CMDB (CMDB).

CI relationships

CI relationships are one-to-many relationships. This means that a single CI can be related to multiple other CIs, and vice versa. For example, if you have a user named John who has an account and phone number, you can create a relationship between him and those two CIs by selecting them from the dropdown lists when creating your new relationship.

You can also create relationships between groups and roles (in addition to users), or between any two CIs of any type within the ServiceNow CMDB.

Managing CIs of different types

Configuration items (CIs) of different types can be managed in the same way. 

The following table lists some examples of CI types:

Types of CIDescription
Software CIThis includes software applications, operating systems, and other software components. It can also include software licenses, installation files, and configuration files.
Network CIThis includes network devices such as routers, switches, firewalls, and load balancers. It also includes network interfaces, IP addresses, and network configurations.
Documentation CIThis includes documentation such as user manuals, system manuals, and technical specifications. It can also include diagrams, flowcharts, and other visual aids.
Facilities CIThis includes physical facilities such as data centers, server rooms, and other facilities that support IT infrastructure. It can also include power supplies, cooling systems, and other infrastructure components.

ServiceNow CMDB provides clarity on CIs and how they are managed

The CMDB in ServiceNow provides a number of benefits for managing CIs. 

Firstly, it helps organizations to gain a complete understanding of their IT infrastructure by providing a comprehensive view of all the CIs in the environment. This includes information about the relationships between CIs, which helps to identify dependencies and potential risks. With this information, organizations can make informed decisions about how to manage their IT infrastructure and prioritize resources accordingly.

Secondly, the CMDB in ServiceNow helps organizations to manage changes to their IT infrastructure more effectively. By providing a complete view of all CIs and their dependencies, the CMDB enables organizations to assess the impact of changes before they are made. This helps to minimize the risk of outages and other issues that can result from changes that are not properly planned or communicated.

Finally, the CMDB in ServiceNow helps organizations to improve their overall IT service management by providing a foundation for ITIL processes such as Incident Management, Problem Management, and Change Management. 

By providing accurate and up-to-date information about CIs, the CMDB enables organizations to respond quickly and effectively to incidents and problems and to manage changes in a controlled and consistent manner.

ServiceNow’s CMDB provides clarity on what CIs are and how they are managed by providing a comprehensive view of an organization’s IT infrastructure, helping to manage changes more effectively, and providing a foundation for ITIL processes. With the CMDB, organizations can better manage their IT assets, improve their IT service management, and ultimately deliver better business outcomes.

Read: How Virima CMDB helps you overcome IT challenges

Manage your CIs better with ServiceNow and Virima integration

ServiceNow provides a robust configuration management tool for managing configuration items (CIs) in your IT environment. The CMDB allows you to define and manage CIs of different types, as well as their relationships with one another. This tool is essential if you want to make sure that your systems are running smoothly and efficiently by ensuring they have the right configuration settings at all times. But what if you could take this performance to the next level? 

That’s where Virima comes in!

When it comes to integrating ServiceNow CMDB with Virima’s configuration management tools, the results are impressive. One of the key features of this integration is the dynamic and filterable visualizations of complex CMDB relationships with ViVID Service Maps. This allows users to easily understand and manage the relationships between different assets in the CMDB.

Another benefit of integrating ServiceNow CMDB with Virima’s configuration management tools is the seamless integration with Virima Discovery, ITAM, and ITSM. This ensures that all relevant data is captured and included in the CMDB, giving users a complete view of their IT environment.

In addition, the easy-to-configure AWS and Azure options ensure that critical cloud assets are also included in the CMDB, making it a comprehensive solution for managing both on-premise and cloud-based assets.

The integration also offers granular options for syncing CMDB assets with other external CMDBs, allowing for a flexible and customizable approach to managing IT assets.

Finally, users can take advantage of dozens of other integrations, including NIST NVD, monitoring, alerting, warranty, and event management systems, making it a powerful tool for managing IT assets and ensuring compliance with industry standards.

Overall, ServiceNow CMDB performs exceptionally well when integrated with Virima’s configuration management tools, offering users a comprehensive and customizable solution for managing their IT environment.

Want to know more about Virima and ServiceNow? Request a demo today!

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