The CMDB/CMS in the Digital Age: More Present Than You Might Think

News and media come and go in waves, rising and falling on areas of attention that sometimes engender self-created storms (positive and negative). The configuration management database (CMDB) is currently residing in a valley, not a crest. As tech headlines flash across my email, at least, the CMDB (and its federated equivalent, the configuration management system (CMS)) are almost never mentioned. Yet when I do research, dialogue with IT, or support our consulting team, the CMDB/CMS many times still remains paramount.

Why the disconnection?

I don’t have all the answers, but some of it has to do with how markets are defined—rigidly and academically—so attention is often directed to only a subset of what’s needed, and then quickly becomes frozen in time. This did a great deal to hinder the CMDB’s evolution and effectiveness, and still puts it in a far smaller box than it deserves.

Another reason is that when industry attention peaked a decade ago, in many respects CMDB technology wasn’t up to the task. This factor was exacerbated by a general trend to see the CMDB vision as a monolithic answer to every possible IT concern, without attention to use case, relevance, and currency. As such, many IT organizations imagined that putting all their data in one place would turn out to be transformative, something like buying a car without knowing how to drive or even how to fill it with gas.

Finally, all the attention given to cloud, microservices, and agile has at times seemed to challenge the validity of the CMDB, particularly given the need for dynamic currency.

Why the CMDB/CMS is more present than you might think

As I hope to make clear in a webinar on July 24, the CMDB, CMS, and effective discovery and dependency mapping (DDM) are actually more relevant now than ever before. CMDB/CMS/DDM technology evolved considerably in the last decade, and is continuing to evolve, to become far more dynamic, and in some cases truly real-time. 

Where do these technologies play?

  • Collectively, these technologies can become lynchpins for more effective change, asset, performance, and capacity management.
  • They can help accelerate DevOps effectiveness, including preproduction provisioning, managing cloud compliance issues, and ensuring that operations and development really are on the same team.
  • In recent EMA research, the CMDB/CMS was shown to be a valuable asset in unifying security and operations teams for more efficient SecOps initiatives.
  • In EMA consulting and multiple aspects of EMA research, investments in the CMDB/CMS and DDM have become pivotal for effective cloud migration and optimization of cloud resources on an ongoing basis.

A few more proof points

Here are just a few specifics taken in large part from EMA’s consulting practice. When asked about why to invest in CMDB/CMS and DDM, top priorities included:

  • Decreases time to resolve technical problems
  • Breaks down barriers between technology silos
  • Allows automation and advanced analytics to be implemented
  • Facilitates an enterprise IT dashboard
  • Reduces long-term costs of IT services

And some specific examples of benefits taken as well from EMA’s history with CMDB/CMS deployments:

  • S. financial services company reduced MTTR by 70% by providing consistent and holistic services map with asset and inventories.
  • S. MSP able to reconcile disputes regarding infrastructure spends. $9M spend over 3 years reduced by $2.5M by better understanding inventory.
  • S. healthcare organization reduced MTTR, downtime, and outages by 40% by implementing a CMDB. Savings returned 300% ROI over several years.

From EMA’s 2017 research on IT service management:

  • Those who were extremely successful in their ITSM-related initiatives were twice as likely to own a CMDB/CMS assomewhat successfulor unsuccessful.
  • They were also three times more likely to federate.
  • They were considerably more aggressive in exploring CMDB/CMS-related use cases.
  • They were seven times more likely to have plans to associate discovery and dependency mapping with the CMDB/CMS.
  • They were significantly more likely to have deployed DDM capabilities.

On to the webinar

These are just a few examples of data I will share in the webinar. Beyond sharing more specifics of how CMDB/CMS can and has achieved value, I’ll also provide an introduction to our deployment methodology achieved over the years through our consulting practice. Finally, Bill Dyck, the Micro Focus Product Manager for CMS, will join me to show how the UCMDB and Universal Discovery are helping IT in active deployments.

The CMDB/CMS in the Digital Age:
A Bedrock for IT Transformation

Date / Time:  Tuesday, July 24 @ 10 am Pacific | 1 pm Eastern