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CMDB: A Top-Down Approach

Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) play a fundamental role in helping companies better align technology with their business goals. However, implementing a CMDB is not exactly an overnight process. This deployment challenge can be off-putting to companies that fear it will be years before they see any return on their investment. However, this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Dustin McNabb, vice president of technology management vendor Managed Objects says companies don't necessarily have to wait years to recoup their investment. McNabb, whose company debuted its new federated CMDB last week, spoke with Systems Management Pipeline Editor Amy Larsen DeCarlo about how enterprises can accelerate the time to value from their CMDB.

A.D.: There are a lot of perceptions and some misconceptions about what a CMDB should encompass. What would you like people to understand about CMDBs?

D.M: The industry has to get past this paradigm to recognize that the CMDB is more than an asset database on steroids. When we talk to customers about CMDBs we talk about certainly the needs to incorporate [configuration information] CI attributes information and relationships because, hey, that is what ITIL has been telling us all along. But then there is this whole other set of data that we believe needs to be incorporated into that repository, in a centralized sense or in a federated sense. We tend to align ourselves with the federated model but nonetheless the repository still needs to incorporate the service descriptions themselves.

More importantly, CMDBs still need to incorporate the state information " not only the CIs but the services. This could be more than just up down or on or off. State could be things like inventory, like when you are talking about an inventory system, state could be levels of inventory. Then there is the performance and availability information which I think needs to be incorporated as well. That is the data that drives SLAs.

Emerging in the industry today there is the notion of gold standard CMDB. This is kind of a snapshot of your infrastructure as you know and need it to be in. When it deviates from that, this is cause for concern.

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