words Alexa Wang
IT activities in your company don’t just cover what happens on your computer networks. They cover your computers, mobile devices, IT infrastructure, troubleshooting, software, people, and everything in between. Basically, when you say IT Services, you’re talking about the entire ecosystem of your company that technology supports.
The larger your IT ecosystem, the more difficult it is to manage and control it. And that is where configuration management database software can really help you.
What is Configuration Management Database (CMDB)?
A CMDB is a database that houses all the pertinent information about the software, hardware and other relevant components employed by your company’s IT ecosystem. It also maps out the relationships between all these components.
Why is CMDB Important to Your Business?
With the complexities of IT infrastructure increasing in today’s world, it has become increasingly important to track and understand all the information within that ecosystem.
IT leaders across the world now use CMDBs as a best practice to not just manage but also improve the various components in the IT services ecosystem. With CMDB, you will be able to control the entire ecosystem, and also see how each individual component impacts the other.
This can be explained better with a simple example. Say your business’s IT team upgraded a router, but found out later that this upgrade actually negatively impacted all computers in the sales department of your office. This could lead to a massive loss of man hours as well as revenue for your company.
Now, if a CMDB software had been in place to track the relationship between the various components of the IT ecosystem, your IT team would have been able to prevent such a downtime because they would have foreseen the impact of the upgrade on those computers. They also would have been able to take steps to ensure that such an issue would never arise.
How Does CMDB Work?
When you talk about CMDB, the first thing you need to understand is the CI – the configuration items.
CIs can be absolutely anything that is relevant to your IT ecosystem – software, hardware, documents, personnel, and so on. CIs can also be any combination of these individual components.
CMDB focuses on comprehensively and systematically identifying, controlling as well as tracking all CIs, as well as all changes made to these CIs. Based on this focus, there are 4 major things that CMDBs need to take care of:
- Discovery: Being able to identify all CIs that need to be included in the configuration management database.
- Security: Being able to control data so that only authorized personnel can make changes to it.
- Reporting: Ensuring that the current statuses of all CIs are consistently recorded as well as updated.
- Auditing: Conducting audits as well as reviews of all components to ensure that all data is accurate and updated.
The most powerful aspect of using CMDB as a tool is that is can provide details of all the relationships between the various CIs. So, if you go back to the example we had used earlier, CMDB would have been able to see how a router upgrade would impact all the CIs related to it.
Benefits of Using CMDB
If you use a CMDB software, it will provide a centralized view of all your data. This means that you will have more control over your IT infrastructure. This, in turn, will mean lower complexity in your IT network, the prevention of management as well as administrative mistakes and significantly higher levels of security.
With CMDB, you can also integrate data that you may have on another vendor’s software. Your CMDB software will analyze the data, identify all inconsistencies in the data from the vendor’s software, and then integrate it into its own database, thereby giving you – once again – a single system to work with.
And finally, with a CMDB system, you can also integrate other processed based on integration such as incident management as well as change management, so that you have a single, streamlined IT ecosystem.
Challenges Preventing More Companies from Adopting CMDB Systems
The biggest challenge to the CMDB system is the implementation of this system in a company. The first thing that needs to be done for the CMDB system to work effectively is that all that data needs to be imported onto its platform.
This can be a time-consuming and tedious job, since IT administrations need to manually input all the information about all the CIs into the new CMDB system. And since all this data does not come from one single source, many companies feel that it is too much of an effort to consolidate their IT ecosystem into CMDB.
However, if the effort is made do integrate a company’s IT services into one CMDB system, it can make a huge difference in efficiencies and cost.