The CMDB/CMS in the Digital Age: More Present Than You Might Think
July 09, 2018

Dennis Drogseth
EMA

Share this

Insofar as news and media comes and goes 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. And yet when I do research, dialog with IT, or support our consulting team, the CMDB/CMS many times still remains paramount.

Why the Disconnection?

To be honest I don't have all the answers, but some of it has to do with how markets get defined — rigidly and academically — so that attention often gets 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 to be in.

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, in and of itself, turn out to be transformative, something like buying a car without knowing how to drive or even how to fill it with gas.

And finally, all the attention given to cloud, microservices and agile has at times seemed to challenge the validity of the CMDB, in particular given the need for dynamic currency.

Why the CMDB/CMS is More Present Than You Might Think

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

And where do these technologies play?

■ Collectively these technologies can become lynch pins for more effective change, asset, performance, and capacity management.

■ They can help accelerate DevOps effectiveness, including pre-production 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.

■ And both 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 over time.

A Few More Proof Points

Here are just a few specifics taken in large part from EMA's consulting practice. When asked about "why 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:

■ US Financial Services company reduced MTTR by 70% by providing consistent and holistic services map with asset and inventories.

■ US MSP able to reconcile disputes regarding infrastructure spends. $9M spend over 3 years reduced by $2.5M by better understanding inventory.

■ US Healthcare organization reduced MTTR, downtime, and outages by 40% by implementing a CMDB. Savings returned 300% ROI over several years.

And 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 than "somewhat successful" or "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.

■ And they were significantly more likely to have deployed DDM capabilities.

So on to the Webinar

These are just a few examples of data I will be sharing in the webinar on July 24 referenced above. 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. Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

September 23, 2021

The Internet played a greater role than ever in supporting enterprise productivity over the past year-plus, as newly remote workers logged onto the job via residential links that, it turns out, left much to be desired in terms of enabling work ...

September 22, 2021

The world's appetite for cloud services has increased but now, more than 18 months since the beginning of the pandemic, organizations are assessing their cloud spend and trying to better understand the IT investments that were made under pressure. This is a huge challenge in and of itself, with the added complexity of embracing hybrid work ...

September 21, 2021

After a year of unprecedented challenges and change, tech pros responding to this year’s survey, IT Pro Day 2021 survey: Bring IT On from SolarWinds, report a positive perception of their roles and say they look forward to what lies ahead ...

September 20, 2021

One of the key performance indicators for IT Ops is MTTR (Mean-Time-To-Resolution). MTTR essentially measures the length of your incident management lifecycle: from detection; through assignment, triage and investigation; to remediation and resolution. IT Ops teams strive to shorten their incident management lifecycle and lower their MTTR, to meet their SLAs and maintain healthy infrastructures and services. But that's often easier said than done, with incident triage being a key factor in that challenge ...

September 16, 2021

Achieve more with less. How many of you feel that pressure — or, even worse, hear those words — trickle down from leadership? The reality is that overworked and under-resourced IT departments will only lead to chronic errors, missed deadlines and service assurance failures. After all, we're only human. So what are overburdened IT departments to do? Reduce the human factor. In a word: automate ...

September 15, 2021

On average, data innovators release twice as many products and increase employee productivity at double the rate of organizations with less mature data strategies, according to the State of Data Innovation report from Splunk ...

September 14, 2021

While 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business — and 94% believe it to be strategic to their role — just 26% noted mature observability practices within their business, according to the 2021 Observability Forecast ...

September 13, 2021

Let's explore a few of the most prominent app success indicators and how app engineers can shift their development strategy to better meet the needs of today's app users ...

September 09, 2021

Business enterprises aiming at digital transformation or IT companies developing new software applications face challenges in developing eye-catching, robust, fast-loading, mobile-friendly, content-rich, and user-friendly software. However, with increased pressure to reduce costs and save time, business enterprises often give a short shrift to performance testing services ...

September 08, 2021

DevOps, SRE and other operations teams use observability solutions with AIOps to ingest and normalize data to get visibility into tech stacks from a centralized system, reduce noise and understand the data's context for quicker mean time to recovery (MTTR). With AI using these processes to produce actionable insights, teams are free to spend more time innovating and providing superior service assurance. Let's explore AI's role in ingestion and normalization, and then dive into correlation and deduplication too ...