The CMDB is dead

With a headline like that I had to read the CMDB is dead, long live the CMDB. Whilst much of it speaks a language I don't understand, the bits that are in English I liked...mostly. There is an unhealthy affection for DevOps and similar web-cowboy-waffle, and too much readiness to fix the problem of CMDB by throwing yet more technology at it, but the parts informed by past experience of CMDB were a voice of common sense.

If any small company came to me and said “yeah, gotta have a CMDB!” I’d be looking very closely at how potentially insane they were. Most small orgs and companies just don’t need it. It’s honestly only useful when you breach some amount of scale.

The worst part is the ITIL definition of what should be in a CMDB has been effectively unachievable because of the costs associated with it. The classic ITIL world of CMDB has this data repository being updated with process (typically manual) as changes are approved – it’s meant to represent the “desired state” of an operational world. Only it doesn’t. Really, it never has. And even with the highest priced tools on the market today never will. At best it’s an audit-against tool that you can see “yeah, it matched or didn’t match when we ran that scan a few days ago”...

What most of us want from a CMDB is what we get implicitly, to some degree, from many of our monitoring solutions

Pretty dismissive of CMDBf too.

Never mind the pundits - hear what the coalface practitioners are saying.


The term CMDB should be dead!

I used to look at ITskeptic years ago, as I found it useful to work out was I the only one frustrated by the mis-communication about the term CMDB. Since then I 've been removing almost all references to "CMDB" from literature and presentation as everyone had a different understanding and it confuses everyone. Rather than having meeting debating "I thought a CMDB was" we focus instead of inventory/asset management, or mapping systems to services, or maybe working how to make it easy for project teams to fill in change forms with consistent risk understanding.

Drop the term cmdb and hey presto - you might get something delivered that people can use as part of their day job!

Oh - another tip. Anything to do with configuration management is manual, with automation easing some aspects. Automation can cover discovery, verification, consolidation, rules management, lookups, presentation, reporting, etc. Or in other words automation requires lots of manual work you never did before as well!

Always a skeptic


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