Note: this is the original "dead elephant" post from back in 2006. My thinking about CMDB has matured since then. Please see the articles (and book) in the sidebar of this article for a more complete picture of how I now see CMDB, and a much wider range of ideas why CMDB or CMS is - for most organisations - a bad idea.
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CMDB can’t be done. Not as ITIL defines it. At least not with a justifiable return on the investment of doing it - it is such an enormous undertaking that any organisation attempting it is going to burn money on an irresponsible scale. The truth about CMDB is no secret. It is a “dead elephant”: a great putrescence in the corner of the room that everyone studiously ignores, stepping around it and ignoring the stench, because life will be so much simpler if they do not acknowledge the obvious.