Why and When to Invest in a CMDB System - Page 2

Jun 21, 2011

Dennis Drogseth

  • Out of the 11 vendors I spoke to, five had a SaaS/cloud offering and several more plan to.
  • CMDB's are enablers and some vendors lean more strongly to one than the other. Many vendors link the CMDB to a service desk offering explicitly, but not all do. Some are more operationally or performance management centric. Others have specific use cases such as capacity optimization.

    Design points VARY based on priorities such as the relevance of real-time dynamic updates, insights into performance data or, conversely, financial planning data or infrastructure and facilities interdependencies, etc. So look before you leap but don't feel that your investment necessarily needs to be monolithic.

  • This leads to the last and perhaps most important point: As they evolve, CMDB systems are becoming more federated. In the end, ITIL's vision of the CMS is closer to the future than the original notion of the CMDB. The center of the "system" is gradually evolving towards modeling versus data or a database per se, e.g., a way of modeling services and their interdependencies to link physical and logical attributes and relationships.

    This will become increasingly needed in cloud and other ecosystems where physical infrastructure and application entities may need to be linked to "service providers" or SLAs or other "logical" groupings in order to have any semblance of control. And current EMA data has soundly underscored the value of CMDBs and application dependency mapping in accelerating the effective assimilation of cloud technologies and services by an average of about 1.4 to 1.5 times.

  • And now one last word about readiness.EMA consulting has underscored the easily overlooked fact that CMDB deployments are not really so much about putting software on a server, as they are providing an IT organization with the capabilities to explore dramatically improved ways to share, analyze, and optimize data across many multiple stakeholders in support of many different tasks.

    To use the superhighway analogy once again, building a road system doesn’t do much good if no one knows how to drive. There are in fact deep cultural and communication factors that either accelerate forward progress during a CMDB deployment, or else collapse inward, more or less on top of it.

    And data shows the biggest single factor in driving higher levels of value from CMDB systems is direct and ongoing CIO-level commitment and support! CMDB systems are technologies optimized to help you transform and modernize your organization, not magic wands that, once deployed, can somehow recreate the known universe in your absence.

    For more information about this new way of looking at value in configuration management database and configuration management system (CMDB/CMS) technologies, please attend EMA's June 29th webinar.

    Dennis Drogseth is VP of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates, an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can be reached at

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