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ITIL :: View topic - Advice on researching an overall CM tool
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Advice on researching an overall CM tool

 
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ThomW
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Joined: Apr 26, 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:44 am    Post subject: Advice on researching an overall CM tool Reply with quote

Hi, I've been tasked with researching an automated CM tool for our company. We're not a small shop, but we have nothing in place for CM at this point. Due to the size (approx. 150 servers, 2000 desktops), we're looking at this from the standpoint that a CM tool with automatic discovery and CMDB would be more cost/time efficient than having a team going to everything to try to document this all manually. Additionally, manual documentation is subject to human error. Does anyone out there have any ideas/input for one of these? I'm trying to draft a list of features to look for. So far we've determined that an agentless tool is one of the most important features to us do to the fact that much of a drag on our servers will be a very bad thing. Also, we're wanting to see if there is a tool or suite that will do all of the following:
1. CMDB
2. Auto Discovery
3. Perfomance Monitoring (network/system health)
4. Generate standard reports (HIPAA/ITIL/SOX)
5. Either has a helpdesk included, or will integrate with our homegrown app
6. Automatically track changes (understandably that this will only be "automatic" as far as when this is run.
7. Configuration comparison
8. Abililty to pull config information and push out to an identical CI.

I appreciate any help that anyone might be able to give regarding this. I'm pretty new to the CM/ITIL thing and haven't had any experience with any of these CM Tools.

Thanks,
Thom
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UKVIKING
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Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 3292
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally think you are barking up a tree

The tool needs to do the following

able to classify different types of CI
have a lifecycle
capable of having levels of control and access
relate the CI to other data objects

beyond that the rest of the stuff aint needed

You need someone to do the role not the tool to do the role

and about autodiscovery tool

should not the network system dba data center techs all know what they are responsible for and to find info about them
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John Hardesty
ITSM Manager's Certificate (Red Badge)

Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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alphasong
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Joined: Mar 03, 2007
Posts: 33
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:22 am    Post subject: Element versus enterprise configuration Reply with quote

You are lumping too many requirements together.

Both ITIL and COBIT have done the industry a disservice in how they have framed configuration management. It is essential to make the distinction between element and enterprise configuration management.

Element is platform-dependent and concerned with the details of particular managed IT elements, including change control/drift management (the establishment of "baselines" and monitoring for departures therefrom) for:

- Machines
- OS
- Middleware
- DBMSs
- Networking
- Applications
- etc

It requires very platform specific technologies. With some exceptions (like Opsware), you pretty much need dedicated tooling for each major class of configuration item, and it needs to be run by the appropriate engineering team.

Enterprise configuration management is platform independent, revolving around the shared, single instance CMDB. It manages

- Inventories (at an identification and summary level)
- Dependencies

in support of the major, platform-independent processes:

- Change
- Incident/Problem
- SDLC
- Availability, Capacity, etc.

etc. The enterprise CMDB should provide traceability to the element management world, but not seek to replicate it; here are two rules of thumb for putting data in the enterprise CMDB:

- Is it needed by a cross-functional IT process?
- Would someone of general IT literacy understand it? Or would it require an engineer's interpretation?

Element config and enterprise config should be linked, but they cannot be integrated into one team or one tool. At scale, it is simply *not possible.* There are far too many types of CIs. (Mainframe, distributed, midrange, various network architectures - not everyone runs Windows or Solaris with Cisco!!!)

HTH - see my blog www . erp4it . com for more on this, including the distributed systems architecture for IT.

Charlie
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Guerino1
Senior Itiler


Joined: Jan 01, 2006
Posts: 500
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:16 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on researching an overall CM tool Reply with quote

Thom,

Most of what you've itemized has nothing to do with Configuration Management.

ThomW wrote:
We're not a small shop, but we have nothing in place for CM at this point. Due to the size (approx. 150 servers, 2000 desktops), we're looking at this from the standpoint that a CM tool with automatic discovery and CMDB would be more cost/time efficient than having a team going to everything to try to document this all manually.


Autodiscovery is more of an Asset Management feature than it is a Configuration Management feature. Autodiscovery tools rarely create and manage relationships or versioning of CIs.

Quote:
Additionally, manual documentation is subject to human error.


It depends on what you're talking about. For example, you can't automate a Design Document or many Build Documents or Deployment Documents. Many configurable items must be maintained manually.

Quote:
I'm trying to draft a list of features to look for.


Take a look at some other threads in the forum. There are discussions that list, in detail, expected CMDB features.

Quote:
So far we've determined that an agentless tool is one of the most important features to us do to the fact that much of a drag on our servers will be a very bad thing.


Again, this is more of an Asset Management feature, not a CfM feature.

Quote:
Also, we're wanting to see if there is a tool or suite that will do all of the following:
1. CMDB
2. Auto Discovery
3. Perfomance Monitoring (network/system health)
4. Generate standard reports (HIPAA/ITIL/SOX)
5. Either has a helpdesk included, or will integrate with our homegrown app
6. Automatically track changes (understandably that this will only be "automatic" as far as when this is run.
7. Configuration comparison
8. Abililty to pull config information and push out to an identical CI.


I doubt you will find one tool that does all of this. Even if you find one tool that does a great deal of it, you will find that such a tool will limit what you can or can't manage with that tool. Be sure not to pigeon-hole yourself with a limited solution. Most people that invest in CMDBs only think of managing their physical assets within them. This is a sure sign of not understanding the bigger picture and limiting oneself and their enterprise to a set of solutions that won't expand to address bigger picture needs, such as managing configurations for Software Developers, human configurations, facility configurations, etc. My recommendation is you consider the bigger picture to ensure you don't cripple your enterprise from day one.

I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank Guerino, CEO
TraverseIT
On-Demand ITIL
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Cekir
Itiler


Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 48
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThomW
Actually our suite does fulfill most of the requirements. Especially the Asset Management parts as Frank stated. As this is not the place for adverts, drop me a line so that I could provide some answers for you or just look at our web site. (www and e-mail available in my profile info)
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Krzysztof (Chris) Baczkiewicz
IT Standards Support
Eracent
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