Configuration Management

The object of ITIL® Configuration Management is to provide a logical
model of the IT infrastructure by identifying, controlling, maintaining
and verifying the version of all Configuration Items in
existence.  ITIL® Configuration Management is used to account for
all IT assets, to provide accurate information to support other Service
Management processes, to provide a sound a base for Incident, Problem,
Change and Release Management, to verify records against infrastructure
and to correct exceptions.

In today’s competitive market organizations can ill afford spiraling IT
costs damaging their strategic plans. These spiraling costs stem from a
lack of transparency. They don’t know where they are spending money,
how much they are spending and are failing to consistently demonstrate
any ROI.

Part of the underlying cause is poor management data surrounding the IT
infrastructure, a lack of ability to track, maintain and manage that
infrastructure and effectively allocate infrastructure into the
business.

Configuration Management is responsible for the detailed recording and
updating of information that describes an Organizations IT
Infrastructure, including software and document components. Emereo
Configuration Management module allows an Organization to control their
infrastructure by accurately recording it, monitoring versions and
revisions of configuration items (CI), track changes on a per CI basis
and control the integrity and traceability of a CI throughout its
lifecycle.

There are five basic activities of ITIL® Configuration Management:
 

Planning – The Configuration Management plan should cover the next
three to six months in detail, and the following twelve months in
outline.  It should be reviewed at least twice a year and will
include a strategy, policy, scope, objectives, roles and
responsibilities, the Configuration Management processes, activities
and procedures, the CMDB, relationships with other processes and third
parties, as well as tools and other resource requirements.

Identification – The selection, identification and labeling of all
CIs.  This covers the recording of information about CI’s,
including ownership, relationships, versions and unique
identifiers.  CIs should be recorded at a level of detail
justified by the business need – typically to the level of "independent
change".
 

Control – This gives the assurance that only authorized and
identifiable CIs are accepted and recorded from receipt to
disposal.  It ensures that no CI is added, modified, replaced or
removed without the appropriate controlling documentation e.g. approved
RFC, updated specification.  All CIs will be under Change
Management Control.

Status Accounting – The reporting of all current and historical data
concerned with each CI throughout its life-cycle.  It enables
changes to CIs and tracking of their records through various statuses,
e.g. ordered, received, under test, live, under repair, withdrawn or
for disposal.
 


Verification and Audit
– This is a series of reviews and audits that
verifies the physical existence of CIs, and checks that they are
correctly recorded in the CMDB.  It includes the process of
verifying Release and Configuration documentation before changes are
made to the live environment.

In sum, the ITIL® Configuration Management process provides
identification, control, status accounting and verification of the
components of the IT infrastructure (configuration items, assets- PC’s,
printers, software, business services etc). According to ITIL®,
Configuration Management is the process that "covers the
identification, recording and reporting of IT components, including
their versions, constituent components and relationships." While Change
Management is the process to "ensure that standardized methods and
procedures are used for efficient and prompt handing of all changes, in
order to minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon service
quality, and consequently to improve the day-to-day operations of the
organization."

Configuration Management is the implementation of a database
(Configuration Management Database – CMDB) that contains details of the
organization’s elements that are used in the provision and management
of its IT services. This is more than just an ‘asset register’, as it
will contain information that relates to the maintenance, movement, and
problems experienced with the Configuration Items.

The CMDB also holds a much wider range of information about items that
the organization’s IT Services are dependant upon. This range of
information includes:

  •   Hardware
  •   Software
  •   Documentation

Development of the configuration management plan is of course is a
complex task and requires a great deal of effort. To assist in this
process a specific support kit has recently been launched: The
Configuration Management Planning Toolkit. This comprises a number of
discrete materials, similar to the ITIL® Toolkit, but focused entirely
upon configuration management plans and how to create them.
 

Configuration Management is a key discipline for software
developers, IT Service providers and managers as it provides direct
control over IT assets and delivers quality IT Services economically.

All components of the IT infrastructure – termed Configuration Items –
can be identified, controlled, status changed and verified. The
Configuration Management Database (CMDB) records all these
Configuration Items including attributes, locations, relationships with
other items and changes. This ensures that all components are uniquely
identified and controlled. The benefits of Configuration Management and
the vital component of the CMDB include better:

  •   control of IT assets
  •   IT Service provision through support for the management of change
  •   change management
  •   incident and problem handling
  •   control of changes to software and hardware
  •   security of malicious changes to software
  •   identification of legal obligations
  •   expenditure planning
  •   contingency planning

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