Your CMDB is a critical element of your IT estate and your IT management efforts. A closer look at what your CMDB does and could be doing may help you increase its value to your business.

CMDB: An Acronym and A Commitment

The “CMDB” acronym, of course, stands for the words “configuration management database.” A closer examination of those words highlights why it is critical to your IT management success. That closer look also outlines the commitments you need to make to maximize the business value of the initiative.

A configuration management database is a purpose-specific database. It contains all relevant information about the hardware and software components that make up your IT estate, and about the relationships among those components. When it is properly populated and organized, it enables your business to examine information about your IT estate from multiple perspectives.

It is critical to realize if all you’re storing is configuration data about your hardware and software, you are not maximizing the value. Beyond that information, your CMDB can and should also contain everything relevant about the relationships that link your infrastructure elements to each other, your key services and applications, and your users.

As described in the ITIL best practices guidelines, the elements of information stored in your CMDB are referred to as configuration items or CIs. And a CI can be any IT component – hardware, software, documentation, or relevant associated people and their roles. A CI can also be any combination of IT estate elements, or documentation of the dependencies between two or more of those elements. Capturing and managing all of those CIs is essential to success with the four key functions of configuration management – discovery, security, reporting, and auditing. See “Your CMDB: Your ITSM-ITOM Connection.”

Perhaps most important, all of the information must be kept accurate, complete, and up to date. This is particularly challenging during times of significant change, to your business, your IT infrastructure, or both. Changes can range from mergers and acquisitions to changes in partner relationships or implementation of new technologies.

Whether your IT resources are on your premises, in data centers run by others, or in the cloud, your business must be able to see, know about, and manage them. This means that your CMDB must include features for communicating with and gathering information from each and every critical IT resource, whether incumbent or newly added. It must also support regular, automated, comprehensive updates to that information.

From Information to Action to Value

The commitment required to enable the features and functions described is considerable. But those features and functions are basic “table stakes” for any successful CMDB implementation. Beyond these, a comprehensive CMDB enables you and your business to manage all of your IT estate consistently and effectively. Depending on your specific business needs, your CMDB might also include detailed information about who owns, pays for, and supports each of your critical IT assets. Information about maintenance requirements, actions, and histories can also be helpful.

Whatever information your business decides to include in the configuration management database, that information must be as easy as possible to extract and understand. This means your CMDB must support powerful, flexible reporting features, so information can be tailored to and made actionable for multiple constituencies. Your cybersecurity, IT management, and business leadership teams all need information presented differently. Your CMDB must be able to meet these and other requirements to maximize the business value of your CMDB and your overall IT investments.

Make sure you and your team understand, prioritize, and commit to addressing all of these issues as you choose, implement, and manage your CMDB. If it’s helpful, think of a second expansion of the acronym: “control my da*n business.”

Virima: Your Partner for Maximum CMDB Value

Your CMDB is a critical element of all your IT management efforts – IT asset management (ITAM), IT service management (ITSM), and IT operations management (ITOM), cyber security, and others. Virima offers ITAM, ITSM, and ITOM solutions that are designed to play well with your CMDB. Virima solutions can automatically discover and map those critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users.

Virima offerings are easy to use and configure, and designed to work well with each other. They also produce useful, actionable reports about your IT environment, reports that can help you identify and resolve challenges before they become disruptive problems. These features can help your IT management team maximize the business value of your CMDB and your ITAM, ITSM, ITOM, and other IT management initiatives. Learn more about Virima’s solutions online, or contact Virima today.

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Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike joined Virima Technologies (Atlanta, GA) in 2010 and oversees Virima ITAM/ITSM SaaS product sales, marketing and field services organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges in a variety of industries for over 25 years.