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Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

What is a configuration management database?

A configuration management database is often referred to as the heart of your IT service management system. It’s a database used to store information hardware and software assets. And this database stores information regarding the relationships among its assets. This tool gives you a means of understanding your organization’s critical assets and their relationships, such as information systems, upstream sources or dependencies of assets, and the downstream targets of assets.

A configuration management database provides a complete view of the IT configuration items, their attributes, and their relationships. Process elements, documentation, and human capital, and how they integrate with the IT infrastructure are all managed in this space.

Identifying the Configuration Items (or CIs) is an integral function for the development of a configuration management database. The definition of a CI is any component that needs to be managed in order to deliver IT services, including buildings, services, software, documentation, users, as well as hardware. CIs can vary in size and scope because of their configuration, use, or internal and external relationships. 

What is a CMDB?

CMDB is an acronym for configuration management database.

Why is having a configuration management database important?

The configuration management database, a fundamental component of ITIL framework, is important to an organization because IT infrastructure is increasing in complexity. And the more complex your IT infrastructure becomes, the more important the tracking and understanding of the information within your IT environment also becomes.

The use of a configuration management database is considered to be a best practice for IT leaders who need to identify and verify each component of their infrastructure to better manage and improve it. Other benefits of deploying one of these include:

  • Increased visibility into users and related CIs
  • Increased efficiency with a single source of IT infrastructure truth
  • Better decision making with accurate, real-time data
  • Lessened downtime due to incident, problem, and event mitigation
  • Reduced operational, equipment, and personnel costs with automation
  • Faster MTTR due to the ability to understand CI relationships and perform root-cause analysis
  • Minimized risk with improved change management

How does a configuration management database (CMDB) run?

In order for a CMDB to be effective, it must be filled with vital information that is acquired from an amalgamation of automated and manual methods. Making sure data is accurate is essential to fulfilling the CMDB’s mission of keeping all essential data organized in the proper space. A way this can be achieved is by making sure all stakeholders of the CIs are involved in the entire CMDB population process. These stakeholders need to check the data for consistency, completion, and most importantly accuracy so that this information is not only stored properly but also is mappable.

Upon the population of the CMDB, the next step involves diligent maintenance. Since any organization’s IT infrastructure could have millions of moving parts because of the ever-changing IT landscape including organizational shifts, new CIs, and configuration changes can be challenging, but it is essential to keep on top of any changes to keep the CMDB optimally functioning.

With the advance of digitalization, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence in IT operations (AIOps) and cloud applications will need to continue to evolve. However, with these advancing technologies having fully populated, updated, and intelligent CMDB is more crucial than ever before.

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