Technical challenges involved - ITIL Configuration Management

There certainly are challenges associated with implementing the organization, the process, and the tools needed to achieve all these benefits.Technical and business challenges can be overcome, but if there are political barriers outside of direct project control, you need a strong sponsor who can sweep those barriers away before they block the project.

Data Overload

The single largest obstacle to creating a CMDB is the sheer volume of data that can be collected. Even a relatively small organization must track thousands of individual items, and in larger enterprises the number can quickly grow to more than a million. The challenge is exacerbated by the variety of items that need to be counted, and the technical knowledge needed to understand what to count and in what order.

The way to overcome the data overload is to break the environment to manageable pieces. The way to break down environment is to understand the scope and granularity of the needs.

Dynamic Environments

A second hurdle in most IT environments is frequency of change and the fact that many changes are decentralized. Individual users can install programs on their PC, and sometimes on shared spaces of servers; business needs drive the maintenance and upgrade releases of all business applications; technical obsolescence dictates that hardware be refreshed constantly; Sometimes it seems that you need an army of record keepers just to keep the data up to date with all these changes going on. Many configuration management projects have a solid plan for getting all the data populated, only to find out that what they populated in the first days of the project has turned to hopelessly out-of-date garbage by the time the project ends.

The key to long-term success of the configuration management process is the linkage between that process and change control. The linkage must be established so that every change record results in at least one update to the CMDB, and every update to the CMDB can be traced back to at least one change record.

Many organizations are experimenting with autonomic computing or other means of dynamically installing technology.In its simplest form,this involves setting up a controlling system that will deploy standardized software packages quickly to other computers.

Failures in Tool Integration

Another technical challenge for those wishing to implement configuration management is the immaturity and especially the lack of integration between tools in this arena. There are strong discovery-type tools that can scan a network to find hardware devices and scan storage media to find software programs. There are integrated suites of tools that allow incident and change

records to be tied to configuration records. Even the best tools available today need to be heavily modified or programmatically integrated with other tools in order to meet the needs of a complete configuration management process.

An integration strategy is needed to define how data from different network security zones can be combined and transferred to the enterprise CMDB. This adds a new dimension of complication to the overall tool integration exercise.

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