ITIL Forum Q&A's

Interesting Questions and Answers


From time to time we will bring you a selection of interesting Q&A's from a major forum (with permission). We start with the following:


THE QUESTION:

Our IT Governance Manager asked me if I could design a CMDB? I have the theoretical knowledge but I lack the practical side of it.

If anyone here has already created, implemented, and successfully operating a CMDB I would appreciate it if you could provide me a sample database structure. What are the CI's included? What are the fields each CI record must contain? 

In a CI record that refers to the DSL, what are the necessary fields to be included?

(Gerry)


RESPONSE 1:

Identify all the services which your IT provides to your customers (internal & external)

Identify all your customers, location, departments etc etc.

Identify all your support groups and have a meeting with appropriate line managers to understand how the want the work flow to in accordance with ITIL as well as organisation needs. 

Map all the services with customer, location and department

We are using Remedy Asset Management 6.0, so arranged all the possible Category, Type and Item

Category

Network,
Hardware
Application Software
Desktop Software
System Software & Utilities
Information
Security
Database
Facilities

And you can further expand the selection to type and item. Its very critical to involve the line managers for each of the above mentioned category as it does two things 

1) Gives them a fair understanding of how their configuration item is to be displayed in the tool (help desk and change management tools) 
2) Avoids any major changes to the CMDB which is time consuming and painful to do the whole process altogether again.

This is some place where you can begin with. Let me know if you run into any problems So that we can share your problem and identify the possible solutions 

As far as the DSL goes, try capturing all the approved software's in the company and try and get them recorded into the CMDB along with other details like serial No's , version, license details etc etc,.... 

Hope this helps!!

(Vimal)

RESPONSE 2

I'm not sure if Remedy Asset Management 6.0 has it included but BMC/Remedy has a product called 'Atrium CMDB' which I've heard some good things about. As for pricing - in general it's now usually a fixed 'base' cost plus additional units on servers, CPUs or some other unit which takes into consideration the general size of your infrastructure. Wish I could tell you more detail about pricing, but I'm currently working with a couple of other vendors and we haven't finished negotiations so I don't know where we will end up - even when we finish I'm sure I'll be bound by some sort of confidentiality agreement. 

As far as general info about a tool goes, the Configuration Management Tool Market has gone through a huge change in the last 18 months or so. IBM, HP, CA, BMC, EMC, etc. - each have made either aquisitions or developed their own products which make the formulation and maintenance of a CMDB much more feasible - especially for larger organizations. Some of the functionality you should be looking for:

Correlation the ability to correlate CI's to form views of logical Business Services. A Business Service is defined as an integrated composite of all of the components which provide the capability to satisfy a stated management need or objective. It can include hardware, business applications, network components, software, facilities, people (all aspects, from CI owners to Customers affected by the Business Service) and business processes.

Federation the ability to refer to other trusted data sources in the organization in order to correlate them to CI's within the CMDB. 

Reconciliation the ability to reconcile many data sources, some of which may contain information about the same CI and correlate them to the appropriate CI.

Automated Application Mapping the ability to use network traffic, port information and data elements common within application types to automatically group CI's into logical application views. 

While the example below contains higher level elements, more detailed elements and attributes can also be discovered or federated and mapped configuration files, capacity metrics, logical elements in other data sources, etc. 

Example: A server containing an Oracle database sends data across port 1532 to an application server which in turn sends data across port 7000 to a web server which in turn sends data across port 80 to a user. User is authenticated by a Domain Controller using port 389. Together these items combine to form the basis for an IT provided service.

Service Model Visualization ability to visually illustrate logically and physically the hierarchical and peer-to-peer relationships between CIs. This must go beyond parent-child relationships to multilevel and functional relationships. This will include reporting capability of various views and "what-if" capability to simulate the impact of a change on a specific business service or system.

Work Flow ability to combine separate process elements to perform actions, updates, deletes, etc. Examples compare incoming discovered (or federated) data with existing data to determine if a change has taken place and generate a report with changes. Compare incoming combined capacity metrics (available disk %, CPU average idle % and average available memory % across several servers associated to a single service) with preset thresholds and generate a report of those items which exceed the thresholds.

Hope this helps,

(Eric)


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