Item Attributes

This post is for Serio Configuration Managers (or any Serio user changing Item data) on an often overlooked part of the Serio system called Item Attributes.

Item Attributes offer a flexible way to store data against Items (Configuration Items [CIs], or if you like Assets). Typically, an Item Attribute is used to store a characteristic – for instance, the amount of memory installed in a computer, or the type of keyboard it has, or the port number used by a particular webserver. Anything which is part of the make-up of a Configuration Item.

One of the things to remember about Item Attributes is that it’s a one-to-many relationship. In other words, you can have a single Configuration Item and one, two, ten or a hundred different attributes associated with it. This makes Item Attributes the most flexible way of extending the data you store with a CI.

Aside from being easily to search for types of Item with a given Attribute, you should bear in mind that Attributes can be managed, applied and deleted from many Items in a single step. For instance, if you wanted to record a memory upgrade on 100 computers you could do that in a single operation by deleting the old installed RAM value and replacing with the new – on all 100 computers in a single operation.

To do this, you need something called the ‘Configuration Builder’. To access this, open a Configuration explorer in SerioAdmin, right-click on the report area (the list), and select ‘Launch Configuration Builder’. For there, it’s pretty straight forward to use, but you can find out more about it in the HowTo guide distributed with the product (press F1 in SerioClient or SerioAdmin).

One area these sometimes vexes users is this: when should I use an Item Attribute, and when should I create and link to another Item? The answer is to refer back to your own guidelines when you scoped your CMDB, and tried to define what an Item was going to be (a subject covered previously in this blog). Attributes are for things that of themselves are not CIs.

If you are not sure, use this as a rule of thumb. Ask if the ‘thing’ in question will be covered by Change Control. If Yes then it is probably a CI, if no it is probably an Attribute.