What is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB)?

(or why do you need one?)

Well this is subject I’ll probably come back to a lot!

If you work on a Service Desk/Helpdesk, what is it you do? Hopefully you’ve not answered ‘we fix things’ but have said something like ‘we provide the IT infrastructure and IT services on which our business depends to operate efficiently’.

Here’s a question then: where is the IT infrastructure you have to provide documented? If it isn’t documented, how do you assess the impact of Changes you wish to perform? If it isn’t documented, how do you assess the effect of Incidents on the business?

This is the role of the CMDB: to document the IT infrastructure to the benefit of the Service Desk/Helpdesk. It’s job is to provide a logical picture of how the infrastructure fits together, the interdependencies between Configuration Items (CIs), the services that we offer to users and how those services are provided.

This means (of course) that the entries in the CMDB (Configuration Items) are not machine generated (though you can kick start your CMDB that way). Instead, CIs and the information in the Configuration Database are maintained by people, as part of Configuration Management.

I’ll continue this subject in my next post.