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Population Automation

Successful BSM Depends on an Accurate CMDB

Written by Bill Tobey

If you’re implementing Business Service Management (BSM) for any of the usual reasons—to increase the reliability and availability of your critical business services, to improve your service delivery performance, or to reduce the costs of service delivery—be aware that your success in achieving any of these objectives will be highly dependent on the quality and timeliness of the data in your Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

Today’s CMDB is operational by definition. When an outage occurs, you can’t do fast root-cause and impact analysis unless your CMDB can access and supply near real-time information about all services and configuration items (CIs) under management, the relationships between them, and their current service states. The CMDB is a special-case database that must provide four critical functions creating the Configuration Management System (CMS):

  • Federation – Direct linkage to multiple data sources
  • Reconciliation – Automated data coalescence and matching across sources to eliminate duplication
  • Visualization – Automatic detection and graphic representation of the hierarchical relationships between physical and logical CIs
  • Synchronization – The ability to immediately capture changes in the physical and logical infrastructure, preserving and providing a single version of the truth across all integrated systems

One of the key challenges in creating and maintaining a CMDB is the problem of populating it from the various system, asset and network management solutions where information about the IT environment originates. Manual processes may offer a high level of initial accuracy, but in large environments, their labor intensity virtually guarantees decreasing accuracy over time.

Brevity is key, so get to the point. No one ever complains because an article was too easy to understand.

SCM: Population Propagation, the Automated Way

But if you’re implementing a Novell CMDB, you’ve got an integrated population automation solution sitting right under your right mouse button, ready to launch. The Service Configuration Manager functions as an intermediary between the CMDB and the adapters that integrate it with management applications and configuration information repositories, providing the Configuration Management System (CMS) automation. The Service Configuration Manager feature dynamically generates new element hierarchies from multiple sources. It automates CMDB synchronization to optimize data quality and reliably capture change in the IT infrastructure in near real time.

The Configuration Management System provides:

  • Integration into tools that detects dependencies, characterizes normal baselines, and identifies both scheduled and unscheduled changes
  • Integrated mapping of element relationships across an enterprise IT environment
  • Integration of asset, configuration and change data from multiple sources into a global CMDB
  • Automatic creation and dynamic maintenance of Business Service Views that eliminate manual modeling, mapping and maintenance.

CMS not only automates many of the most time- and labor-intensive aspects of configuration data management, it lets you create and store customized business rules, in the form of JavaScripts, to govern key processes. Let’s look at an example.

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