Table of contents
- CMDB and IT asset management: What are they and how are they related?
- The Role of CMDB in IT asset management
- Implementing effective CMDB strategies: How Virima and Ivanti partnership helps
- Virima CMDB: A solid foundation of IT asset management and IT service management
The lack of a comprehensive overview of IT assets holds a multitude of problems. One such problem is the difficulty to manage and optimize asset inventory. If inefficient asset tracking is also an issue you’re facing, the major purpose of IT asset management falls short– managing the full lifecycle of IT assets.
As a result, many assets remain underutilized while more unwarranted assets are procured. The problems don’t stop here. Managing vulnerabilities, software licenses and contract compliance also becomes a problem that impacts organizations adversely.
However, implementing CMDB can help alleviate the root cause of these IT asset management problems.
In this blog, we’ll explore the role of CMDB in IT asset management. And at the same will show you how Virima and Ivanti’s partnership helps in implementing CMDB strategies. But before that let’s understand what CMDB and IT asset management are and how they’re related.
CMDB and IT asset management: What are they and how are they related?
A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) contains information about the devices and applications that deliver services in an enterprise. The devices could be physical or virtual. This includes hardware, software, operating systems, virtual machines, servers, storage, network gears, and containers. Even facilities that are needed to store such equipment are also part of it.
A CMDB is also equipped to hold logical information, plans, and documentation.
How does CMDB help with all this information?
CMDB forms the hub of numerous service management practices. Be it incident management, change management, or problem management. The common thing needed in all these IT service management practices is the interrelationships between Configuration Items (CIs) and their impact on services.
In incident management for example, if a user reports slow response time and intermittent outage on a critical business application, then with the help of a well-maintained CMDB the IT team can identify the CIs associated with the affected application. It could be servers, databases, dependent software components, or network devices. With the information on the interrelationship between CIs provided by the CMDB, the IT team would be able to understand how one CI failure impacted the overall performance of the application.
IT asset management
IT asset management on the other hand is a set of best practices that support the lifecycle management of IT assets. According to ITIL 4, IT asset management is “the practice of planning and managing the full lifecycle of all IT assets.” It also helps in strategic decision-making for the IT environment. Some examples could be budgeting and cost optimization, procurement, and risk management.
At an operational level, the purpose of IT asset management is to properly classify assets based on their unique characteristics. Then provide visibility into asset locations, ensure proper asset disposal, and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. Also, from the business decision-making level, IT asset management audits the financial worth of assets, supports cost control and helps maximize value from assets.
The relationship between CMDB and IT asset management
CMDB provides valuable information to support various ITAM practices. For example, the Configuration Item (CIs) information forms the backbone of the asset register. It is a comprehensive list of IT assets within an organization that stores the financial, contractual, and inventory data of those assets.
Since every CIs can be an asset for the asset register, data in CMDB can help create a comprehensive list of IT assets within an organization.
ITAM practitioners can utilize the inherent classification of CI information in CMDB to categorize assets by type, function, ownership, and locations, providing fundamental data for effective IT asset management. The CMDB also holds information about the usage, and how much of the asset remains underutilized.
With that being said, let’s have a detailed look at the role CMDB plays in IT asset management.
The Role of CMDB in IT asset management
Improved visibility and control over IT assets
Organizations need a clear understanding of all of their IT assets including their attributes, relationships, and usage. It’s primarily an essential need to make informed decisions on asset allocation, resource optimization, and risk management.
CMDB consolidates IT assets information (in the form of CIs) across an organization. Also, it keeps the information up-to-date and current with the help of auto-discovery tools. In this case, asset means hardware, software, licenses, and virtual resources.
Apart from giving insights into attributes, and types, CMDB tracks the physical and logical locations of all IT assets. So for example, if a large manufacturing company wants to have better visibility over its IT assets spread across multiple locations, then a CMDB can help.
On top of this, CMDB monitors the usage of those assets, tracks license periods, and ensures compliance with licensing agreements. As a result, IT asset managers can identify underutilized assets, optimize their asset distribution, and reduce unnecessary purchases.
Moreover, if you can choose an ITIL-compliant CMDM such as Virima, then you’ll get customizable fields to obtain additional information about the assets.
Streamlined IT asset management processes
A streamlined IT asset management process means a simplified and efficient way to plan, acquire, deploy, maintain, and dispose of IT assets of an organization. Efficient utilization of IT assets throughout their lifecycle and reduction of wastage are the direct outcomes.
In line with this, the CMDB simplifies and streamlines these IT asset management processes. It provides a structured approach to standardize processes for asset request, procurement, provisioning, configuration, and retirement. For instance, IT asset requests can be submitted through a self-service portal integrated with the CMDB. After details such as type, specifications, and quantity are specified, CMDB can capture the request and send it to IT teams to track and prioritize it.
Moreover, organizations get the option to integrate workflows and automation into the CMDB. So they can reduce time, eliminate manual errors, and improve overall operational efficiency in these processes.
Enhanced decision-making and risk management
One of the most crucial parts of IT asset management is to make informed decisions about resource allocation. For instance, when planning to deploy a new software application, the IT team needs to identify underutilized servers or hardware. So that it can be repurposed or upgraded to support the new application, rather than purchasing new equipment.
Similarly, in the case of risk assessment, IT teams need to track software versions and patch levels of all assets. It’ll enable them to identify outdated or unpatched software that may expose the organization to security risks.
In both informed decision-making and risk management cases, CMDB helps organizations with accurate and reliable data. While, in the first case, IT teams can check, for example, the Windows server blueprint in the CMDB. This is to find out any underutilized one (say with available memory) to support the new software deployment.
IT teams can utilize the CI information on the CMDB. It is to determine the installation date of the last update. Also, to identify any available patches for deployment during risk assessment.
Implementing effective CMDB strategies: How Virima and Ivanti partnership helps
Not just IT asset management but CMDB is crucial for most IT processes such as incident management, request fulfillment, and problem management. So it’s important to implement a CMDB in the right way.
Following are the four most important CMDB strategies that every organization should implement to get the most out of it:
Establishing clear objectives and scope
All the rest of your CMDB strategy depends on this step. Here you define the purpose and goals of your CMDB implementation. It could be increasing visibility into IT assets, improving incident management, or enhancing change management processes. Or this could be something very important for all organizations i.e. enhancing compliance.
One or multiple objective establishments would depend on your organizational needs. For example, a small organization with limited resources may realize that their IT asset tracking is error-prone and inefficient. In such cases, it would be more appropriate to establish a single objective of enhancing asset visibility through CMDB implementation.
Apart from the objective, determine the scope of your CMDB. That means defining the specific assets, data elements, functionalities, and processes that will be tracked, managed, or maintained as per the objective.
While implementing the CMDB for IT asset management, you could track the following data elements:
- Asset Identification: Name, Type, Description
- Asset Attributes: Specifications (model, manufacturer, version, etc), location, ownership, status
- Relationship and dependencies: Parent-child, service dependencies, CIs
- Change History and Versions
- Financial and Contractual Information
- Usage and Performance Data: Asset utilization, maintenance, and service history
- Compliance and Security: license management, security information
No matter how big or small your organization is and why you want to implement a CMDB, ITIL-compliant Virima CMDB with its integrated auto IT asset discovery feature can help you. Because of Virima and Ivanti’s partnership, you can easily integrate Ivanti CMDB with Ivanti Neurons for service mapping (which is an Ivanti-branded and supported Virma IT discovery and service mapping feature) to fulfill any objective you’ve.
Identifying data sources and integration points
Once you’re done with establishing the objective and scope, next comes the importance of identifying data sources and integration points. From an IT asset management context, you need to recognize various systems and sources that hold information about IT assets. So any system that contributes to the overall understanding of IT assets can be a data source. A few examples are procurement systems, asset management, and help desk systems for problem and incident management should be integrated as a data source for the CMDB.
The next important thing is to determine how the data from each source aligns with the CMDB structure and attributes (Data Mapping). For example, CMDB’s unique identifier field for each asset can be mapped with the asset tag from the asset management system.
Now the integration points would depend on the system involved but generally can be done with data imports, data synchronization processes, API integration, or manual data entry. If you’re using Virima CMDB then you can easily populate all your asset data- on-premise and cloud assets to the CMDB by integrating Virma’s IT discovery solution.
On the other hand, if you’re on the Ivanti Neurons platform then you can easily integrate Virima’s automated discovery and service mapping (branded and supported as Ivanti Neurons for Service Mapping) to automatically populate the CMDB from the data source.
Implement change management processes
When you’re using CMDB for IT asset management or any other area for that matter, you’ve to ensure that the CMDB always reflects the current state of assets after each change– say in upgrading software, modifying network configurations, or adding new hardware.
And that demands implementing a change management process that will keep an accurate record of IT assets after the change. This way it’ll ensure the integrity of the CMDB. Thus it is one of the key strategies to follow while implementing CMDB.
Now Virima and Ivanti partnership enables Ivanti Neurons for ITSM customers (its change management feature) to easily integrate Virima CMDB. In that case, the multi-level view of relationships through Virima CMDB makes it easy to understand how various services and CIs are tied with a particular asset under a change request.
This easy visualization helps to understand the potential collisions due to upcoming changes. It facilitates the decentralization of the change approval process. As a result, you implement a fast change management process.
The next most important CMDB strategy is to leverage automation to streamline CMDB updates and maintenance. As mentioned earlier, automated discovery tools such as Virima IT asset discovery automatically populate and maintain the CMDB data with utmost accuracy.
In case you’ve opted for the Virma CMDB, it provides options to automate the update promotion of CIs or other maintenance tasks by creating granular business rules.
Now Ivanti’s partnership with Virima also makes it very easy for the Ivanti Neurons for ITSM platform to get the benefit of Virima CMDB and start the automatic two-way syncing of data. So the updated asset data due to change or problem management would be automatically synced with the CMDB.
Virima CMDB: A solid foundation of IT asset management and IT service management
So it’s clear how CMDB plays a crucial role in IT asset management. First of all, it provides the required visibility and control over IT assets. It also streamlines various IT asset management processes and enhances decision-making and risk management capabilities.
But to ensure you’re getting the full benefit of CMDB, you need to implement some effective CMDB strategies such as establishing clear objectives, specifying data sources, implementing change management processes, and finally enabling automation. If done right, the CMDB will be instrumental in your IT asset management’s success.
However, the role of CMDB isn’t limited to IT asset management as its data are crucial for various processes in IT service management too. It’s because only accurate CI data, the understanding of the inter-relationship between CIs and the services they depend on or support is crucial for every ITSM process. The benefit is more profound when the CMDB comes with a powerful native discovery and service map integrated.
That’s where Virima CMDB comes in. Book a demo to learn more about how Virima CMDB as a full-suite solution or in partnership with Ivanti can streamline your IT asset management.