Enough of the four-letter acronyms! CMDB, in case this had slipped your memory, stands for configuration management database.
It holds information about your assets, items related to them and any connections or relationships between them. IT and network devices, as well as software and virtual machines, can be represented in a CMDB. So can people, products and services (not just of the IT kind), facilities, clients and suppliers.
With today’s complex IT environments, a software-driven CMDB makes sense for IT asset management, although the initial interest of some years ago did not develop as much as predicted. Now, a new trend in IT could change that.
A smart CMDB application/database can give you a number of useful pieces of information and insights into your IT asset management.
For instance, you can see not only what you have, but also how it has been installed and configured, how each asset interacts with others, and whether configurations have been changed from the officially sanctioned versions.
Slicing and dicing these data can then also help not only with IT support and troubleshooting, but also with business intelligence insights into the interactions between IT and the rest of the organisation.
These advantages however come at a price. The CMDB system must be acquired, and constantly updated and maintained to ensure that the data mirror exactly the real state of the assets.
The change in IT that could give an extra boost to the use of configuration management databases for IT asset management and more is DevOps.
Highly automated, DevOps relies on different software modules for integration, testing and deployment of new applications and also relies on the correctness of the application components from one end of the DevOps life cycle to the other.
In the same way that a CMDB can be used for auto discovery of IT assets in general, it can also serve to automatically discover new DevOps code at different stages and to check that the version of such code corresponds exactly to official design and deployment specifications. The net effect on CMDB solution usage remains to be seen. Stay tuned for further developments!