The scale and complexity of a CMDB, with its roots in intricate and structured IT service management ideology, has left many wondering about the usefulness of a CMDB in modern IT departments. However, ideas regarding the usefulness of a CMDB tend to be based on presuppositions that are no longer accurate about what modern CMDBs, and ITIL, can help IT teams accomplish.
The way ITIL is being utilized has shifted, with organizations increasingly looking at ITIL as a broad framework and not a step-by-step guide to managing IT services. This has led to a ground swell of innovation in how companies handle ITIL and helped businesses create a flexible, responsive operational climate. Adding a CMDB to an ITSM environment can provide critical control and transparency over the configuration, providing a result that is much more reliable and one in which your employees can do more to prevent or limit the impact of downtime.
Three ways a modern CMDB solution can help you improve reliability include:
1. Creating Transparency
A CMDB can include all of your configuration items, including employee-owned smartphones and tablets. The result is a situation in which you can not only see how any change will impact your hardware; it also shows how it will alter data pathways. For example, if you need to turn a storage machine off to perform planned maintenance, the CMDB will show you which application servers depend on data from that system, showing you if that maintenance will lead to application downtime. This transparency lets you anticipate outages and limit the impact of downtime.
This paradigm of using a CMDB to understand the implications of a planned maintenance event is just one way to control downtime. The visibility that comes from a CMDB also lets you quickly evaluate what went wrong during an emergency and get to work resolving an unplanned downtime event.
2. Improved Planning
One of the best parts of a CMDB is its ability to show how different configuration items relate to one another. This means that you can go into the database and simulate any changes you will make ahead of the action to get a clear idea of what will happen when you actually adjust your configuration. Planning for moves, additions, and changes to the IT configuration is an incredibly complex process, and these tasks can slow to a crawl as your IT leaders try to identify all of the consequences of the change. The transparency that can come from the utilization of CMDBs can come into play when you are trying to streamline operations.
Having clearer and more efficient plans around moves, adds and changes can help you avoid unintended consequences that lead to downtime, improving reliability.
3. Accelerating Responses
One of the major challenges that comes when responding to an outage is making fixes without causing additional incidents. If a server fails, you have to quickly evaluate what caused the outage, how to get a backup system running and what you need to do to return the configuration back to normal. This process can be incredibly time consuming as you work to assess complex problems and make fixes that do not create additional complications. A CMDB eases many of these issues by simplifying the process of figuring out the issues that caused downtime and identify ways to resolve the emergency situation efficiently.
CMDBs may have their basis in legacy operational models that can make them difficult to configure, but they also provide visibility and flexibility that modern businesses need to keep up with IT demands. This is particularly evident when it comes to disaster response, as CMDBs play a vital role in helping IT leaders getting systems running again.