What Is a Configuration Item?

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A configuration item (CI) is a basic building block for your configuration management database (CMDB). And your CMDB is a critical element of your IT management toolkit. So it makes sense to take a closer look at what CIs are and why they are so important to effective IT management.

What a Configuration Item Is – and Is Not

Many may think that a “configuration item” is simply what its name seems to imply – an item of information about the configuration of an element of your IT estate. And some CIs are in fact just that.

But for maximum value to your IT management efforts and your business, your CIs can and should also be much more.

The widely adopted ITIL best practice guidelines for IT management say a CI can be almost any information about almost any component of your IT environment. Examples include but are by no means limited to the following.

  • Product documentation
  • Relevant associated people and their specific responsibilities
  • Support contacts and responsibilities
  • Ownership and maintenance responsibilities
  • Costs and contract details
  • Connections to and interdependencies with other IT components, applications, and users

Why Configuration Items Matter

The broad range of information CIs can contain is at the heart of the value they can deliver, to your IT management efforts and to your business as a whole. The more accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information you have about your IT estate, the more control you can exert over it. That information can help speed diagnosis and resolution of incidents and problems. It can help you and your team take steps to avoid those incidents and problems. It can even help you maximize returns on your business’ IT investments.

To deliver these benefits, each and every CI in your environment must be clearly defined and kept accurate and current. To achieve this goal, your CIs must be stored in a CMDB that is powerful, flexible, and able to communicate with every critical IT resource in your estate. Your CMDB must also support automated updates to all of your CIs, on schedules and on demand. And your CMDB must be able to turn CI content into clear and actionable reports for every constituency involved in or affected by management of your IT estate. (See “What Does CMDB Stand For?”)

The value and functionality of your CMDB is largely powered by the content of the CIs it contains. By focusing on building and maintaining the best CIs you can, you and your team can maximize that value and functionality, in ways that strengthen your IT management and your business.

Join Us July 18 For More

On Thursday, July 18, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, Virima is proud to present a webinar, entitled “The Problems with Your IT Problem Management – And How to Solve Them.” The featured guest speaker will be Bill Talbot. Bill is a Fellow with IAITAM, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers. Bill has been a trusted adviser to more than 150 companies over more than 20 years, focused on IT asset management (ITAM), Software Asset Management (SAM), and Service Asset Configuration Management (SACM).

Bill and I will have what promises to be an informative and spirited discussion of the challenges and opportunities associated with proactive problem management. That discussion will definitely include CIs and CMDBs. We’ll also have specific recommendations for you and your team, and look forward to your questions and comments. Go online for more information about the webinar, and to register to attend, in real time or on demand.

Virima: Your Partner for Maximum Management

Virima can help you capture and manage the CIs that maximize the value of your CMDB, to IT and to your business. Virima offers solutions for IT asset management (ITAM), IT service management (ITSM), and IT operations management (ITOM). Those solutions can automatically discover and map your critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users. And Virima can ensure that you can communicate with and manage all the critical elements of your IT estate, wherever they reside. Learn more about Virima’s solutions online, or contact Virima today.

Summary:

What Is A Configuration Item?

A configuration item (CI) is a basic building block for your configuration management database (CMDB). And your CMDB is a critical element of your IT management toolkit. The widely adopted ITIL best practice guidelines for IT management say a CI can be almost any information about almost any component of your IT environment. Examples include but are by no means limited to the following. The broad range of information CIs can contain is at the heart of the value they can deliver, to your IT management efforts and to your business as a whole. The more accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information you have about your IT estate, the more control you can exert over it. To deliver these benefits, each and every CI in your environment must be clearly defined and kept accurate and current. To achieve this goal, your CIs must be stored in a CMDB that is powerful, flexible, and able to communicate with every critical IT resource in your estate.

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