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ITIL :: View topic - Are all CIs under Change Management process?
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Are all CIs under Change Management process?

 
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lberger
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:39 pm    Post subject: Are all CIs under Change Management process? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I've got a question that typically applies to very large companies (more than 100'000 workstations).

According to ITIL, all CIs in the CMDB are under Change Management. As the workstations are not really under Change Management (I know they should in an ideal world, but we should first focus on the business critical CIs before extending the scope), it would mean they are not in the CMDB.

However, to allow Incident, Request and Problem Management processes to run properly, they would need the ability to relate Incidents, Requests and Problems to workstation CIs. As those CIs are not under Change Management, they would not be managed in the CMDB but some discovery tools would import the data into the CMDB (e.g. SMS or Tivoli inventory).

So to summarize, we could think of having in the CMDB:
- Expected state of CIs that are under Change Management, managed through Changes
- Actual state of CIs that are not under Change Management, imported from discovery tools

However, this would conflict with what ITIL says, so I'd like your opinion/experience on this.

Thanks in advance for your input!
Lionel Berger
Switzerland
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jpgilles
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Joined: Mar 29, 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well , my understanding of ITIL is that you need to know xhat makes sense, brings value and helps provide better/cheaper services to the business and your users....

Having said that, if you are able to define an attribute within your CMDB that says something like "official/unofficial" or "controlled/uncontrolled" or authorized/discovered so everybody knows what type of CI it is, that would make it... What you want to avoid is people being misled based on information they find in CMDB...

br
JP
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Lionel,

Contrary to most people's beliefs, the CMDB is not about "controlling" CIs but about "seeing" CIs. Enterprises are huge. As a result, there is are a huge number of CIs and an even larger number of Configurations for those CIs that need to be managed. It would be very difficult to get all CIs and their Configurations into the CMDB just for viewing, let alone for controlling.

In my opinion, the most useful CMDBs are the ones that let you see your connectivity at a "business level", not at an infrastructure level, as the most valuable forms of impact analysis really need to be understood with respect to how they're related to your customers and business end users. This being said, the number of business specific CIs that exist in an enterprise is huge and it would be impossible to get "everything" into a CMDB, especially since there are specialized tools that exist for managing and controlling many business CIs that have nothing to do with IT, itself.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank Guerino, CEO
TraverseIT
On-Demand ITIL Platform
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JoePearson
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:31 am    Post subject: Re: Are all CIs under Change Management process? Reply with quote

Hi!
It's another case of ITIL's common sense definitions not quite agreeing with each other.

lberger wrote:
According to ITIL, all CIs in the CMDB are under Change Management.
It does say this but it also says
Quote:
The goals of Configuration Management are to:
account for all the IT assets and configurations within the organisation and its services
provide accurate information on configurations and their documentation to support all the other Service Management processes
provide a sound basis for Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management and Release Management
...

There are clearly some configurations / CIs that will not be under Change Control and may not be under the IT service provider's control at all - but they're still CIs.


lberger wrote:
So to summarize, we could think of having in the CMDB:
- Expected state of CIs that are under Change Management, managed through Changes
- Actual state of CIs that are not under Change Management, imported from discovery tools

This is quite a good view. But I'd generalise it: CIs under change control can also benefit from auto-discovery (for verification only); and CIs not under change control may come from sources like other databases or systems (like HR, for people CIs), as well as auto-discovery.
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lberger
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:05 am    Post subject: Thanks for your replies Reply with quote

Hi all,

Thanks a lot for your input. I agree with you all actually, let me briefly get back to each of you:

jpgilles, you're right, the scope of Configuration Management fully depends on the needs from the other Service Management processes. The question is about where to stop, and I think there is no universal answer, it probably depends on the degree of maturity of the enterprise. Regarding the option to define which CIs and which of their attributes are under Change Control and which are not, that doesn't sound possible after having done some investigations on the tool side (HP uCMDB and HP ServiceCenter/ServiceManager). It would require a lot of customization/development, and you may end up with a very complex system not sustainable anymore.

Guerino1, I would agree with you on the first focus which is about the business level. It is indeed the first critical think to look at and to manage in the CMDB, as this is where you will have the highest ROI. At a second stage, once you have the maturity level with the Business Critical CIs, you can focus on the others, and ultimately on the workstations, but those are probably the last to look at.

JoePearson, as you said, ITIL is vague enough so that we can apply what makes sense to our context without conflicting with the guidelines... and it's sometimes anoying not to have more precise statements Wink
You're fully right by saying the CIs under Change Control should benefit from auto-discovery, that's a MUST, as the discrepancies are to be found and corrected by running verification between actual and expected.

To summarize, I still do not have my answer, but as I said above, there is probably no universal answer. I think the problem I'm trying to solve is about managing stakeholders' expectations. Indeed, people are expecting a lot from the CMDB, and all think about what you could do with it. If you listen to all of them and apply their thought, you may end up with a big DB containing lot of crap that is not accurate and not managed anymore.
This is why the business benefits will have to justify the scope, and workstations will probably not be in the first phase of the CMDB setup.

Again, thanks a lot for your input, and will be happy to see discuss more the subject if you have further comments!
Lionel
Switzerland
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for your replies Reply with quote

Hello Lionel,

lberger wrote:
To summarize, I still do not have my answer, but as I said above, there is probably no universal answer. I think the problem I'm trying to solve is about managing stakeholders' expectations. Indeed, people are expecting a lot from the CMDB, and all think about what you could do with it. If you listen to all of them and apply their thought, you may end up with a big DB containing lot of crap that is not accurate and not managed anymore.
This is why the business benefits will have to justify the scope, and workstations will probably not be in the first phase of the CMDB setup.


Yes, this is the case in many companies. The truth is that most people that take on the implementation of a CMDB don't really look at the bigger picture of what it ultimately represents. A CMDB, "theoretically", will be equivalent to your enterprise Knowledge Management platform. You will be able to go to one place see how things are connected to each other, why they're connected with each other, how they're connected, who connected them, etc. You will be able to drill "deep" or look "wide" and, ultimately, it will help you see and understand your enterprise, so you can make highly educated, quick decisions.

BTW, if you're interested, contact me offline and I'll gladly provide you with a white paper I use to help audiences understand what Configuration Management is. It's been tested, for years at this point, against many different enterprises and audiences who have contributed to its constant evolution. You may think some of it is very obvious but it's the context that it's all in that helps define expectations.

You can reach me at: Frank.Guerino<@>TraverseIT.com

Also, you're very accurate in that different people have different expectations of what the CMDB is and what it should do. The paper will go into this. Fundamentally, it's because a "configuration" is nothing more than a "composition" or "make-up" of an entity. For example, "the configuration of a system" or "the configuration of a human with the role of a software developer" or "the configuration of a building". You see, ITIL misses all this because it "only" focuses on infrastructure. If you focus on nothing more than infrastructure, when you implement your CMDB, you might as well throw in the towel because you will implement a very complicated, expensive solution that will add very little value to your enterprise. However, if you focus on a CMDB that shows a business picture of how your enterprise is configured, you will be helping people make strategic decisions.

On the topic of "expectations", your biggest expectations will be in the "usability" of the CMDB. Different people will need to see different data, different ways, at different times, under different contexts. Most CMDBs only allow for limited ways to access, see, and understand the data. This is a key fact that drives more CMDB failures than you can imagine. We try and address this by building a very powerful User Interface, over our own CMDB, that allows different people to access different (of the same information) many different ways, under different contexts, etc. If you're interested, please feel free to take a look at: http<://>www<.>TraverseIT.com/TraverseITUIHome.html

Our own goal is to make the CMDB "the" Knowledge Management solution for the enterprise, so that anyone can see any and all relevant configurations, not just those for infrastructure.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank Guerino, CEO
TraverseIT
On-Demand ITIL Platform
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