You Can’t Purchase a CMDB

Dec. 8, 2006 – Franconia, NH, December 8, 2006 – Many software vendors market their products as a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) — pricy applications to manage IT information. In a reversal of popular wisdom, a recent report states that the idea of a single “CMDB product” is unattainable, and that there is an alternate approach that delivers real value for little or no additional cost: using the configuration management systems virtually ever organization already has in place, but has overlooked.

According to Hank Marquis, “Configuration Management in general, and the CMDB concept in particular, is without a doubt the most over-sold, under-delivered, and misunderstood element of the entire ITIL framework. Most of the blame for this falls on the ITIL documentation itself with over-generalizations like ‘account for all the IT assets and configurations within the organization and its services’ which causes practitioners to become confused and overwhelmed. Coupled with vendor hype and management misunderstanding, practitioners quickly lose sight of the single reason for configuration management—making better decisions regarding changes.”

Marquis, Chief Technology Officer at itSM Solutions LLC an IT coaching and training firm, says “Many vendors inadvertently contribute to this confusion with claims of functionality based on their unique capabilities, making it appear that ITIL implementation is not possible without a mature configuration management process and that most mythical of beasts, the configuration management database or CMDB. This is simply not true.”

In the report Marquis describes a real CMDB as a metadatabase, or a large collection of disparate databases. He likens a CMDB to Google and the WWW, and configuration management to an information brokerage within IT organizations: “Google is a form of metadatabase—it’s an index into all the websites on the web. This is a much better model for a workable CMDB than what many vendors are selling today.”

Marquis suggests that to achieve success with ITIL configuration management all most companies need to do is “forget the idea of the single, all-encompassing, database. Start thinking about linking together all the collections of information you use in your day-to-day activities. Start thinking about how to reference and relate the repositories of configuration information you already have.”

About the Author:
Hank Marquis is a certified IT Service Management professional with over 20 years of practical hands-on experience managing, organizing, and optimizing IT infrastructures and organizations. Hank holds the ITIL IT Service Manager certification with Distinction in Service Delivery. He is the author of “How to Succeed with ITIL”, published by the Nichols Kuhn Group.

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If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Hank Marquis, please call Tammy Lyons at (617) 264-0946, email tammy.lyons@itsmsolutions.com

A published copy of the report is available at:
http://www.itsmwatch.com/itil/article.php/3647636

Web sites for further information:
ITSMWatch.com website www.itsmwatch.com
itSM Solutions website: www.itsmsolutions.com
Hank Marquis website: www.hankmarquis.com

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