SOLUTION WHITE PAPER. Configuration Management Database (CMDB) Cornerstone of ITIL-based Integrated Service Support

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1 SOLUTION WHITE PAPER Configuration Database (CMDB) Cornerstone of ITIL-based Integrated Service Support

2 Table of Contents ABSTRACT...1 INTRODUCTION...2 CORNERSTONE OF SERVICE SUPPORT...2 SOLUTIONS THAT ENABLE THE CORNERSTONE...5 BUSINESS SERVICE MANAGEMENT...6 CONCLUSION...7

3 Abstract The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL ) is the standard for industry best practices for IT Service, which includes Service Support and Service Delivery. Service Support is the reference book most commonly used within the IT industry. Service Support, as defined by ITIL, has six main elements: > The Service Desk > Incident > Problem > Change > Configuration > Release Each of these six elements integrates with and depends upon the other. Often, integration of applications simply means passing key data from one database into another to ensure the correct information is available to the management process. This exchange creates issues related to duplication and ownership of data. Typically, the solution has been to consolidate this data together into a single database, shared by all relevant service applications, as dictated by a particular process. A better method is to create a single view accessible by all users, thus ensuring that data owners remain data owners, protecting the existing investment in service support applications by enabling integration in a federated 1 manner. This is the idea behind a configuration management database (CMDB). The term cornerstone can be defined as: 1. A stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls 2. A vital part or basis: sugar was the cornerstone of the economy Whichever definition you prefer, the idea is the same without the cornerstone, any structure eventually crumbles or fails. The cornerstone concept aptly describes the CMDB within any IT service management solution. This paper discusses the function, benefits, and importance of a CMDB and why it has become the cornerstone of IT service support. Business Service (BSM), the BMC Software strategy of managing IT from a business perspective, will also be reviewed in conjunction with the award-winning BMC Atrium TM solution. 1 The term federated is defined as a state comprised of a number of self-governing regions or functions united by a central (federal) system. PAGE > 1

4 Introduction A common theme throughout ITIL is the need for a centralized view of IT Service data essential to delivering consistent, reliable, effective, and efficient service to the business customers. This centralized view is referred to as the configuration management database (CMDB). Adhering to ITIL guidelines, Configuration must: > Account for all the IT assets and configurations within the organization and its services > Provide accurate information about configurations and their documentation in order to support all other Service processes > Provide a sound basis for Incident, Problem, Change and Release > Verify the configuration records against the infrastructure, and correct any exceptions The CMDB is the cornerstone of Service whether or not you adopt ITIL standards. When you do not know what infrastructure items you have, where they are, how they are related, their current status and their full history, you cannot effectively manage your IT infrastructure. For example, during the Y2K crisis, some estimates claimed that as much as 70 percent of revenue was spent locating infrastructure asset items and only 30 percent was spent on the necessary technology updates. Today, just five years past Y2K, many organizations are again struggling to identify their infrastructure items in order to comply with governance requirements detailed by Sarbanes-Oxley (Sarbox) or Basel II regulations. With an accurate CMDB and a good Change policy, meeting the requirements of Sarbox or Basel II can be accomplished faster and cheaper. Both are about managing operational risk, which, from an IT perspective, can only be done by understanding the IT infrastructure and adhering to the ITIL processes to avoid disruption to the IT services that in turn directly affect vital business functions (VBFs) and the underpinning data. Cornerstone of Service Support Most of the information an organization needs to successfully adhere to ITIL guidelines can be housed with a CMDB. ITIL briefly describes a CMDB as: A database that contains all relevant details of each Configuration Item (CI) and details of the important relationships between Configuration Items. The key phrases here are relevant details and important relationships. Relevant detail refer to the attributes and fields allocated for each CI type. This requires careful planning when designing the CMDB. For a better chance of success, consider the requirements of other ITIL processes when assigning attributes (refer to CMDB Utilization in Table 1 of this paper). Important relationships is a critical factor because it is these relationships that differentiate the CMDB from a simple database, one that contains a list of items and their attributes (e.g., an inventory or asset database). Being able to identify and display relationships makes the CMDB a decision and risk-analysis resource. For example, if a server should fail, the service desk can instantly identify which customers and services are affected by the failure. Or, a manager can check the potential effect of a change before authorizing the submission of a Request for Change (RFC). The configuration item (CI) referred to in the CMDB definition above is a component of the CMDB, described by ITIL as: a component of an infrastructure that is (or is to be) under the control of Configuration. CIs may vary widely in complexity, size, and type, from an entire system to a single module. Throughout the lifecycle of a configuration item (CI), all associated activity must also be maintained within the CMDB, creating an audit trail of actions, incidents, problems, and changes made to that CI. This is vital to understanding what is occurring to the CIs and provides the necessary details for problem resolution, change-risk assessment, and totalcost-of-ownership awareness. Table 1 (page 3) shows some of the key servies that the CMDB can provide to other ITIL processes. To keep the table within sensible proportions, only five services are shown for each ITIL process or function, whereas in reality there are many more potential and actual services provided by having a comprehensive and accurate CMDB. Further, Table 1 shows how cross-functional process integration creates significant advantages for Service. Notice that most ITIL proponents start their implementations with a CMDB. The most important person to a football team, for example, is the coach because only the coach can see the entire picture and give the best instruction at the best time. The CMDB is similar because it provides a complete view of a CI, enabling all other processes to work cohesively as one. PAGE > 2

5 Service Support Incident > Automatically populates records > Provides status of configuration items > Provides urgency data for priorities > Provides impact data for priorities > Provides escalation data Problem > Automatically populates problem records > Provides status of configuration items > Provides risk analysis data for priorities > Provides ownership data > Provides data for proactive problem analysis Change > Shows CIs that are in the Change process > Provides risk-analysis data > Shows which other components could be affected by a change > Provides feedback data about customers for changes > Reflects the new status immediately after a change Release > Tracks rollout status > Keeps version details for software > Enables planning vital data for rollouts > Provides feedback data about customers for rollouts > Provides data for financial impact of Releases Service Desk > Identifies CMDB errors > Uses CMDB to record incidents > Provides proactive notification to the users > Provides feedback to customers about CMDB changes > Assists Configuration with CMDB audit Service Delivery Service Level > All SLA components must be in CMDB > SLAs can be referenced from CMDB > Provides reference point for underpinning contracts > Shows customer ownership > CMDB is a vital component for the Service Improvement Program Capacity > Each CI is a potential Capacity candidate > CMDB provides resources for capacity modelling > Shows related CIs in a capacity grouping > Provides vital risk-analysis data > CMDB reduces time-solving capacity related to incidents and problems Availability > Provides vital business impact data > Availability is to be applied to all CIs in CMDB > Shows related components in an Availability string > Provides risk-analysis data > Helps to isolate which CIs are the root cause of availability failures Financial > Shows which CIs are used for each service provided to the customers > Provides chargeback components > Provides important governance information > Provides a vital source for inventory and asset audit > Important tool for financial calculations (e.g., budgeting and forecasting) Continuity > Baselines provide vital recovery data > Changes in CI status could mean changes in Continuity requirements > Identifies any potential continuity outages > Provides feedback data to customers during outages > Shows status of CIs as they become active after an outage Table 1. Configuration Database Utilization The strength of ITIL does not come from just a set of processes and functions, but from the processes incorporating cross-functional integration. The relationship between Incident, Problem, Change and Release illustrates this point very well: 1. The Service Desk solves an issue for a customer and completes an incident record. (The original incident may have been raised by another ITIL element, such as Event, part of Infrastructure Communications and Technology Infrastructure.) 2. Incident notifies Problem, where a problem record is opened or an existing problem record is updated. 3. Problem creates a work-around and notifies Incident for any further recurrences of the incident. 4. Problem includes the work-around for the known error database for reference by all the Service Support functions. 5. Problem identifies the root cause and a solution for the root cause. 6. Problem creates and submits an RFC to implement the solution. 7. The change is accepted and is processed through the Change process. 8. Change may forward the RFC to Release for the deployment of the change across the infrastructure, matching the RFC criteria. 9. Incident and Problem are notified when the change is successfully implemented. 10. Incident ensures that no new incidents appear because of the change. The more integrated these processes are the better the level of service to the customer (when processes are automated, service levels improve greatly). The cross-functional integration is not just linear; there is a bidirectional flow between the processes. In fact, one of the main measures for ITIL process maturity is the amount of PAGE > 3

6 cross-functional integration that exists between the ITIL processes and the business processes, as illustrated in Table 2. Level Function Description 0 Absence 1 Initiation 2 Awareness 3 Control 4 5 Strategic There is absolutely no evidence of any activities supporting the process. There are ad-hoc activities present, but we are not aware of how they relate to each other within a single process. We are aware of the process, but some activities are still incomplete or inconsistent; there is no overall measuring or control. The process is well understood and implemented as a single process, but is not integrated with other processes. The process is now managed by incorporating financial management, forward scheduling, trend analysis, and business relationships and is integrated with other IT systems and service processes. The process is fully integrated with business processes to provide a platform for strategic executives to make reliable business decisions using the power of their technology resources. Table 2. Generic Capability Maturity Modeling (CMM) In Table 2, notice how Levels 3, 4, and 5 all show increased degrees of integration. It is also important to keep in mind that to achieve Business Service (BSM), the ITIL processes and the business processes must be integrated and that the CMDB plays a vital role in that integration. For example, in IT reports, a gasoline pump that accepts credit cards is just another terminal and probably identified to IT by its model type; to the business owners, however, the pump is a revenue-generating opportunity and is likely known by a more functional name. Business managers need reports and information using the functional names for devices (e.g., gas pump), rather than IT device names that they do not understand. This is where the CMDB can contribute some cross-functional integration with the business. For example, the CI for the device could contain two attributes one with the IT name for the device (12 xyzabc devices failed yesterday) and the other with the business name (12 gas pumps failed yesterday). The CMDB is vital for cross-functional integration and is also a vital resource for ensuring the successful implementation of ITIL Service. Of course, you can still implement some of ITIL and achieve a reasonable level of success without a CMDB, but the key word is reasonable. For example, you can implement Incident without a CMDB, but how would you automatically populate incident records? How would you identify a priority without knowing the impact and urgency of the incident? How would you become proactive and notify customers affected by an incident? A CMDB not only provides the data for these activities, but with quality technology can also perform all of these activities dynamically. Of course, you can get system-led benefits without a CMDB but to gain maximum advantage, a CMDB is critical. The following list provides ten key benefits for implementing ITIL Service. 1. Improved quality of service and more reliable business support How can you improve the quality of service if you do not have the components of that service clearly defined? A CMDB provides the configuration for each service and the resulting foundation for improving the quality of service. 2. IT service continuity procedures provide more focus, more confidence in the ability to follow them when required Imagine if a remote office of 200 workstations burned down. How would you know the technology that was in that office and how it was configured? Without that information, how could the office be rebuilt or reinstated? A CMDB provides both the technology details and the configuration details for all locations. That information can be available within seconds and provides an immediate blueprint for reconstruction. 3. Clearer view of current IT capability To be able to provide a clear view of IT capability you must know the status of the entire IT infrastructure. One of the roles of the CMDB is to maintain the status of all infrastructure items, CIs, which have upcoming changes. 4. Better information about current services (and possibly about changes that would bring additional benefits) Within each CMDB, each CI should have an attribute, or attributes, describing which service, or services, to which it relates. 5. Greater flexibility for the business through improved understanding of IT support By having control of your resources, the more information you have the more flexible you can be. If you know all of the components that need to be considered for a potential change then you can ensure that those items meet the requirements of a change when it is implemented. For example, you may need to update your browser to meet changing needs. This is one of the reasons why the relationships within the CMDB are so important. Once you know what component you are going to change, the CMDB will show you all of the related PAGE > 4

7 components. You can then review the related components to identify whether they will need any changes to ensure that they will function with the component that is to be changed. 6. Increased staff motivation and improved job satisfaction through better understanding of capability and better management of expectations Despite popular misconceptions, most people prefer working in a structured, organized and orderly environment. It is reassuring to know that virtually no changes will fail or create new incidents, so that the service desk staff can concentrate on the customer needs, rather than be distracted by entering incident ticket data. In addition, managers will be in a better position to understand the needs of their staff. The CMDB provides a basis for accurate and readily available data that will contribute greatly to motivated staff and higher levels of job satisfaction. 7. Enhanced customer satisfaction as service providers know and deliver what is expected of them The CMDB provides the knowledge, while the rest of ITIL provides the delivery. However, delivery without knowledge is doomed to failure. 8. Increased flexibility and adaptability is likely to exist within the services Great golfers, such as Tiger Woods, do not play a championship tournament without first having played the golf course while their caddies measure yardages and disseminate the hazards. Equipped with that knowledge, golfers can be adaptable to the demands of the tournament. 9. System-led benefits such as improvements in security, accuracy, speed, and availability as required to meet the service levels To improve a system you need to know all of the components of that system and where they are located. In a CMDB, the necessary components are easily found under the guise of CIs. 10. Improved cycle time for changes and greater success rate Many changes require other components to be changed to ensure a harmonious environment going forward. When upgrading to a software component, all software-recipient browsers may need to be on the most current release before the upgrades can be made. With a CMDB in place, you will know which users are to receive the software upgrade and their browser version. Without a CMDB in place, you lose cycle time identifying this information, and have a higher chance of failure because the older browser versions were not properly discovered. Solutions that Enable the Cornerstone Over the years many organizations have attempted to create a CMDB; however, most have failed, simply because they tried to populate a single physical database with all the information from various related services within IT. Not only was duplication inevitable and data ownership difficult, but IT services were also encumbered with surplus data, most of which was needed by only a few functions and not the entire service. Recognizing this issue and the absolute need for a CMDB in the delivery of IT services aligned with ITIL, BMC created the BMC Atrium CMDB. This is a federated CMDB linking the core-services data into a common single view of the common cross-service data. BMC Atrium provides a 360- degree view of the CIs, from any IT service perspective. Figure 1 clearly shows that the automated population of the CMDB is through integration with the BMC Discovery Suite or with any acquired and deployed data collection tools, thus protecting your existing investment in technology. Based on predetermined rules, the unique (patented) Reconciliation Engine ensures that CI duplicates are removed and any extra data collected by one tool, and not another, are uniquely merged to provide a full picture of the configuration of the CIs. Links are then made to external databases such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) Remedy Asset Remedy Help Desk Remedy Change Remedy Service Level Agreement Life Cycle (schedules, POs) Contacts Costs Incidents Problems Tasks Change Requests Tasks Work Orders SLAs Measurement Records Remedy Impact Service Impact Event Correlation Figure 1. BMC Atrium CMDB and application data PAGE > 5

8 Atrium Reporting Business/IT Manager Atrium View Service Level Incident and Problem Infrastructure and Application Service Impact and Event Asset and Discovery Change and Configuration Capacity and Provisioning Identity BMC Atrium CMDB Figure 2. Need for Web services and data integration tools (SAP or Seibel, for example) and active directories, which also hold required data. Finally, this reconciled data is made available to, and fed from, the IT services applications covering such tasks as Incident and Problem, Change, Release, and Service Impact within the core Service Support functions. The BMC Atrium CMDB can be integrated to Event for ICT Infrastructure processes and so on, to become the single source of data for all the ITIL process. The CMDB in conjunction with Atrium Reporting and Atrium View combines a reporting facility and viewing mechanism (see Figure 2) from an IT perspective and a business process perspective, highlighting the vital business functions (VBFs). This viewing mechanism provides a graphical interpretation of how the IT infrastructure is performing, and which VBFs are at risk, with a drill-down facility to check on actions being carried out to prevent or reduce outages. This enables the IT infrastructure to be managed from a business perspective and deliver true Business Service. Business Service Activate Business with the power of IT and move from crisis management to value delivery with Business Service. The key to BSM is rapidly aligning IT resources and processes to directly support your most critical business objectives ensuring the stability of your vital business functions. By viewing IT management through a business services lens, BMC Software has developed a plan for integrating all of its management disciplines into a cohesive strategy that allows IT and business services to be managed together. This new approach is a response to both customer and industry analyst feedback. Both have noted that there is a movement toward a business-centric view of IT. This is not a divergence from past initiatives. BSM is the logical evolution of the BMC Software management strategy and builds on the solutions that BMC Software has delivered over the past 20 years, extending the promise of Assuring Business Availability. It is built around three essential components that are critical to achieving BSM: Service Impact, IT Service and Applications and IT Operations and Infrastructure. Figure 3 (page 7) shows the BSM model, with the focus at the top on the Business operations, objectives and VBFs, integrating all the IT services functions to enable a holistic view of the services being delivery from a business perspective. The CMDB is at the core of those IT services, feeding and being fed by all the relevant IT functions necessary to manage the IT infrastructure. BMC Software is committed to ensuring that this model is underpinned by the ITIL set of best practice processes and has both the Service Desk and the IT Service suite applications all verified by the PinkVerify TM program. This means that it has been objectively assessed according to the criteria specified by ITIL guidelines and certified by a qualified Pink Elephant IT Service consultant as meeting requirements to support the ITIL framework. PAGE > 6

9 BSM is a dynamic method for aligning IT to the business, and for ensuring that IT is able to support this goals Quality of Service IT Capacity Business Change Storage Service Level Provisioning Database Middleware Transactions Service Impact CMDB Batch and Online Applications Performance and Availability Network Discovery Event Quality of Experience Service Desk Asset User Software Configuration Identity Desktop Mainframe and Distributed Servers Mobile Underpinned with best practices, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) > The Business Perspective > ICT, Infrastructure Support > Service Support - Incident - Problem - Change - Configuration - Release > Service Delivery - Capacity - Availability - Financial - Continunity - Service Level > Software Asset Figure 3. Business Service model Conclusion The question is no longer whether to align IT with the business it is how. BMC Software offers proven ways to accelerate IT-business alignment and realize near-term return on investment (ROI) based on experience implementing more BSM solutions than any other company in the industry. To enable clients to move toward BSM in manageable steps, BMC Software designed Routes to Value TM. The Routes to Value are the integration of many ITIL processes broken down into complementary, instantly beneficial functions. The Routes to Value consist of: > Incident and Problem > Change and Configuration > Service Impact and Event > Service Level > Infrastructure and Applications > Asset and Discovery > Capacity and Provisioning > Identity All of these Routes to Value are provided with and integrate into the BMC Atrium CMDB, ensuring from the start of the journey that the information is shared and the investment is protected. The CMDB is A database that contains all relevant details of each Configuration Item and details of the important relationships between Configuration Items. It need not be a single repository, but may be a federation of the source data to ensure the appropriate data owners own the data even though it is available to all IT services and functions. The CMDB is vital to providing all the relevant information to the IT functions and allows that 360-degree view of the Configuration Items, regardless of which IT service accesses it. The CMDB is the facilitator in aligning IT with the business. The CMDB will not only hold the information pertaining to the CIs, but it will enable the mapping of business services to those CIs, making it possible to manage and protect the vital business functions critical to the success of business continuity and revenues. Finally, the CMDB is at the cornerstone of IT service management, by facilitating IT and business alignment and, therefore, Business Service. For more information about BMC Software solutions that support ITIL, please visit In summary, a CMDB will enable successful ITIL implementation and provide the basis for information sharing to facilitate cross-functional process integration. PAGE > 7

10 About BMC Software BMC Software helps IT organizations drive greater business value through better management of technology. Our industry-leading Business Service solutions ensure that everything IT does is prioritized according to business impact, so IT can proactively address business requirements to lower costs, drive revenue and mitigate risk. BMC solutions share BMC Atrium technologies to enable IT to manage across the complexity of diverse systems and processes from mainframe to distributed, databases to applications, service to security. Founded in 1980, BMC has offices worldwide and fiscal 2004 revenues of more than $1.4 billion. BMC Software. Activate your business with the power of IT. For more information, visit BMC Software, the BMC Software logos and all other BMC Software product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of BMC Software, Inc. All other registered trademarks or trademarks belong to their respective companies BMC Software, Inc. All rights reserved

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