Introduction and Objectives
Obviously, you can't manage what you don't know about.
It is essential to have a detailed knowledge of your organisation's IT infrastructure in order to make best use of it. The main task of Configuration Management is to keep an up-to-date record of all the components in the IT infrastructure configuration and the interrelations between them.
This is not a simple task and requires the cooperation of the people managing other processes, in particular Change Management and Release Management.
The main objectives of Configuration Management are:
- Providing accurate and reliable information to the rest of the organisation about all the components of the IT infrastructure.
- Keep the Configurations Database up-to-date:
- Up-to-date records of all CIs: identification, type, location, status, etc.
- Interrelations between CIs.
- Services provided by each CI.
- Serve as a support to the other processes, in particular to Incident Management, Problem Management and Changes Management.
The benefits of correct Configuration Management include, among other things:
- Faster problem resolution, thus giving better quality of service. A common source of problems is the incompatibility between different CIs, out-of-date drivers, etc. Having to detect these errors without an up-to-date CMDB can considerably lengthen the time taken to solve a problem.
- More efficient Change Management. It is essential to know what the prior structure is in order to design changes that do not produce new incompatibilities and/or problems.
- Cost Reduction. Detailed knowledge of all the elements of the configuration allows unnecessary duplication to be avoided, for example.
- Control of licenses. It is possible to identify illegal copies of software, which could pose risks for the IT infrastructure such as viruses, etc., and non-compliance with legal requirements that may have a negative impact on the organisation.
- Greater levels of security. An up-to-date CMDB allows vulnerabilities in the infrastructure to be detected, for example.
- Faster restoration of service. If you know all the elements of the configuration and how they are interrelated, recovering the live configuration will be much easier and quicker.
The main activities difficulties in Configuration Management are:
- Incorrect planning: it is essential to programme the necessary activities correctly to avoid duplications or mistakes.
- Inappropriate CMDB structure: keeping an excessively detailed and exhaustive configuration database up-to-date can be a time-consuming process requiring too many resources.
- Inappropriate tools: it is essential to have the right software to speed up the data entry process and make the best use of the CMDB.
- Lack of Coordination between Change and Release Management making it impossible to maintain the CMDB correctly.
- Lack of organisation: it is important for there to be a correct assignment of resources and responsibilities. Where possible, it is preferable for Configuration Management to be undertaken by independent specialist personnel.
- Lack of commitment: the benefits of Configuration Management are not immediate and are almost always indirect. This can lead to a lack of interest on the part of management and consequently a lack of motivation among the people involved.