Having the data of your infrastructure handy is essential. Let’s see what the CMDB is, and what are techniques and tools to implement it.
A BIT OF THEORY: WHAT DOES CMDB STAND FOR
The Configuration Management DataBase is a logical model of the infrastructure that allows the identification, control, management and verification of all its elements. Each element of the CMDB is called a Configuration Item, which is identified as a physical (computer, router, server, software, etc.) or virtual (service, business process, internal procedure, etc.) entity that can be managed individually.
The main purposes of the CMDB are:
– Tracing all the elements of the infrastructure
– Knowing how the infrastructure evolves over time
– Maintaining relationships among its elements
The CMDB should not be thought of as a static list of devices or services offered by your office. It needs to be powered dynamically with the right tools. Let’s start exploring how to implement the CMDB!
WHICH DATA TO TRACK IN THE CMDB
There are essentially two types of data to be tracked in the CMDB:
– Tangible Entities: physical tools, users, software, access credentials, contracts, etc.
– Non-Tangible Entities: company policies, services offered, procedures, etc.
Do not make this common mistake: knowing the infrastructure does not only mean mapping physical devices, quite the contrary. Identifying company services and procedures, you understand better which underlying assets you need to recover. My advice is therefore to start from an analysis of the intangible CIs and map them first in your CMDB. Once this is done, it is easier to understand which objects are connected to them and to focus on managing the tangible CIs. Consequently, you start implementing the CMDB by answering the following questions:
– What business processes should I track? (relating to IT, Administration, Human Resources, etc.)
Define the introduction of the CMDB for the business areas concerned.
– What services should I track? (On-site assistance, Support, Consulting, Billing, New Hires, etc.)
Get a detailed list; then focus on one service at a time and the information that is really important to that process.
SOME PRACTICAL EXAMPLES
Let’s make some practical examples: CMDB for MSPs and CMDB for the manufacturing industry.
Service Provider: for a Service Provider, or a company that offers customer support, what are the priority services to implement? Typically, these are:
– IT Area: Customer support service; Customer advisory service
– Administration Area: Management of customer contracts; Customer invoicing management
– HR Area: business trips of collaborators
Manufacturing company: what services and processes will be prioritized? Generally, they are:
– IT Area: Software licenses used by users; assigning devices to their users
– Administration Area: registration of sales and purchase invoices
– HR Area: attendance of collaborators
By defining the business processes and priority services, we can limit the domain of data to be imported from time to time into the CMDB. This simplifies the implementation process and allows us to proceed step by step. We map one service at a time, starting with the most priority ones, until we reach the global vision of our data. Tracking one service at a time also allows you to think about the next service with more experience and greater awareness of how your CMDB should be structured.
6 GOOD REASONS TO USE THE CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT DATABASE
Let’s explore the advantages and the related implementation steps of a CMDB.
At operational level:
– Reduce time needed for operators to access information.
Employees always know where to easily find data: login credentials, device locations, etc.
This allows to reduce the costs of inefficiencies.
– Reduce costs associated with hardware breaks. With a dynamic CMDB you always know which devices are not available, on which service they impact and which other assets they affect. Staff can act quickly, limiting the costs associated with the interruption.
– Improve your working life. Your collaborators and yourself will no longer waste time searching for information scattered in Excel or CSV sheets, which are difficult to maintain updated and analyzed.
At strategic level:
– Ensure compliance with legal obligations.
You always know how many licenses you have and which ones are being used, active contracts, how many devices you have and who accesses the data (GDPR, privacy, etc.). This allows to reduce the relative costs and to increase the efficiency in the management of the information required by law.
– Keep track of changes in the service.
You always know which assets are obsolete, which procedures are impacted, which service needs new resources. You can make better decisions (or help management to do so) to improve business procedures.
– Consolidate your service to management.
You offer a service to your own business. Allow the organization as a whole to better address the challenges set by Risk Mitigation, Compliance and Governance. Involve the management and show that you are prepared and efficient, always providing timely answers.
HOW TO IMPORT DATA DYNAMICALLY
Most of the tools on the market allow you to choose how to import data into the CMDB: you can choose to enter them manually or to import them via Excel, CSV, XML, etc. sheets.
You can avoid this and optimize the work with a different strategy. How? By adopting tools that allow dynamic traceability of data.
With Deepser CMDB module, we offer you the ability to manage everything quickly and easily, thanks to the integrated use of DeepConnector and Device42.
– interfaces with the tools your company already has and uses data stored in your ERP, management or CRM, be them users, contracts, documents.
– automatically imports data relating to physical devices, software and licenses, directly into the CMDB, through network scans.
– maintains relations through the use of the appropriate form.
By doing so, Deepser becomes the single collector and the main access point to your CMDB. A single tool with multiple functions and infinite advantages. Try it now. Activate your free demo now.