You might’ve heard this before – configuration management database (CMDB) should be the single source of truth. But what does that mean? And how can you achieve it? With all the different third party applications in your environment, you might think it could be a gargantuan effort to consolidate all the data in to the CMDB. It may be a decent amount of work, but the reality is that it is easier than what most would anticipate. By taking the 3 step approach below, you can come close to configuration management database nirvana – a current and accurate CMDB:
Step 1: Develop, and agree on a configuration management database schema, and the necessary mappings
This step requires the IT Service Management (ITSM) teams, and the various business units to agree on a configuration management database schema and how it will be organized. ITSM teams would create data mappings – to help map data captured from various software components in the environment, into the specified fields within the CMDB schema. This would also include activities around customization of various fields within the CMDB forms, and customizations around API access.
Step 2: Integrate and Automate
Integrate the configuration management database with all sources of data as per the identified data mappings. This can be done by leveraging existing integrations, or by creating new ones. The population of data within the CMDB can be done as part of an extract-transfer-load process (retrospectively), or as part of the creation of a CI using automation (prospectively). The process of CMDB population is a multi-step process, whereby data is captured via one of the discovery tools and automatically updated within the CMDB. Automation of CI population also helps create relationships between CIs and Change tickets or Incident tickets, thereby making the review process for Change Advisory Boards much easier.
Step 3: Optimize and Reconcile
Once the data is in the configuration management database, it is important to make sure it is accurate. Given that many different sources of data may compete for the same target field within the CMDB, weights can be assigned to each source to improve accuracy. For example, the asset tag of a device may have a higher weightage when that data is coming from a discovery tool, but the CPU information captured within a configuration management system can be trusted more than any other source. Furthermore, the data captured from all the various sources should be put in staging datasets. It is up to the administrators of the system, to define rule sets and reconciliation rules that will automatically filter the required data in to production data set for consumption.
The above may seem like oversimplification of the tasks required to have a fully functional CMDB, but many organizations have successfully adopted a version of this breakdown. It is highly likely that the most time will be spent upfront during the configuration management database schema and data mapping exercise. By investing time and effort towards having an accurate CMDB, organizations can effectively understand the various configurations and their relationships within in the environment, and thereby easily track and manage them.
Associates at Keyva have been helping customers set up and optimize their ITSM and CMDB systems for the past two decades. We’ve also helped organizations develop integrations between configuration management database and third party application software so as to accelerate the population of the CMDB, and to keep it current and accurate. If you’d like to have us review your environment and provide suggestions on what might work for you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anuj joined Keyva from Tech Data where he was the Director of Automation Solutions. In this role, he specializes in developing and delivering vendor-agnostic solutions that avoid the “rip-and-replace” of existing IT investments. Tuli has worked on Cloud Automation, DevOps, Cloud Readiness Assessments and Migrations projects for healthcare, banking, ISP, telecommunications, government and other sectors.
During his previous years at Avnet, Seamless Technologies, and other organizations, he held multiple roles in the Cloud and Automation areas. Most recently, he led the development and management of Cloud Automation IP (intellectual property) and related professional services. He holds certifications for AWS, VMware, HPE, BMC and ITIL, and offers a hands-on perspective on these technologies.
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