A previous post, “ITSM and ITOM: How They Align, How They Differ, and Why They Matter,” defined IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM) and discussed their similarities and differences. That post also said a configuration management database (CMDB) is a critical success factor for both ITSM and ITOM efforts and initiatives. This follow-up delves into how and why the CMDB enhances IT management.

Why Your CMDB Is Critical

It is quite possible that the very name “configuration management database” creates a type of myopia about the CMDB and its importance. The name seems to imply that a CMDB is a static repository of details about the devices in your IT estate. However, a modern CMDB is much, much more than that.

As TechTarget’s Whatis.com explains, an effective CMDB “contains all relevant information about the hardware and software components used in an organization’s IT services and the relationships between those components.” And it’s those relationships that connect your IT assets to each other, the IT-powered services that drive your business, and the users who need them to do their jobs.

Those relationships extend beyond technology interfaces, too. As Whatis.com explains, in a CMDB, “components of an information system are referred to as configuration items (CI). A CI can be any conceivable IT component, including software, hardware, documentation and personnel, as well as any combination of them or dependencies between them.”

A modern, effective CMDB, then, plays two critical roles in every IT estate fortunate enough to have one. The CMDB acts as the sole, trusted repository of information about the IT estate. The CMDB also provides the foundation for managing that information and keeping it accurate, complete, and current.

Both of these functions are absolute requirements for success with ITSM and ITOM. They are equally essential and valuable to other functions ranging from IT asset management (ITAM) to assessing, budgeting for, and determining the business value of your IT investments and the services they enable.

Upcoming posts will dive into these considerations in greater detail. In the meantime, you and your team should make sure that your ITSM and ITOM efforts, however mature they are, are closely aligned, and well supported by your underlying IT management infrastructure and processes. Getting and keeping these efforts aligned will provide a firm, flexible foundation for future efforts to get more business value out of your organization’s IT investments.

What Your CMDB Needs to Succeed

The ITIL best practices guidelines for IT management say that configuration management consists of four primary tasks.

  • Discovery – identifying and defining the Cis and their content
  • Security – ensuring that only those authorized can access or change CMDB data
  • Reporting – accurately and consistently monitoring, maintaining, and recording the current status of every CI
  • Auditing – ensuring data accuracy via regular reviews and checks

Security is, of course, essential everywhere across your business and its IT estate. For your CMDB to enable the other tasks specified by the ITIL guidelines, it must also have a few other key features, as detailed in the post, “Is Your CMDB a Catalyst for IT Evolution?” The #TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read) version:

  • Comprehensive discovery
  • Accurate, timely inventory and mapping
  • Automated updates

A CMDB that incorporates these features enables effective execution of the four tasks that define configuration management according to ITIL. An effective, modern CMDB can also enable and improve your ITSM and ITOM efforts, and all your other IT management and modernization initiatives.

These benefits and more should make building and maintaining a modern, flexible, secure CMDB a top priority for your IT team and your business. In addition, you and your team must ensure that every IT management tool your business chooses takes maximum advantage of the power and flexibility of your CMDB.

Virima: Your Partner for Comprehensive IT Management

Whether your needs focus on ITAM, ITSM, ITOM, or all three, Virima can help. Virima solutions are designed to play well with your CMDB, it 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 solutions 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 deliver on your ITSM, ITOM, and other IT management initiatives more consistently, efficiently, and effectively. Learn more about Virima’s solutions online, or contact Virima today.

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Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike oversees Virima’s ITSM product sales, marketing and support organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges for nearly 25 years. He has been with Virima in Atlanta, GA for 8 years.