A version of this blog was published on SITS Insights.
The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) has always been a tricky beast to tame, despite having a longstanding presence in enterprise IT. Originally implemented to help track and manage ever-changing IT assets, the CMDB has a checkered past but is finally ready to shed its bad reputation thanks to new technology.
When executed well, the CMDB should be a trusted source for providing an updated inventory of IT devices and relationships. However, due to the inherent complexity and changing nature of IT infrastructure, this isn’t always the case – especially when organizations rely on manual updates. Sadly, the CMDB is oftentimes outdated by the time the last keystrokes are made, despite the time and effort put into it. As a result, the CMDB has been woefully unpopular – but more recently, it has been making a comeback with the aid of new technology and solutions.
The recent emergence of AIOps (AI for IT Operations) finally delivers automated, full-stack application and infrastructure discovery and dependency mapping (DDM). DDM provides IT teams with complete visibility into complex and ever-changing IT infrastructure, providing visualizations that enable them to actually see for the very first time what they are managing. In practice, DDM solutions discover all of the physical and virtual components in an environment, map dynamic relationships between these components and the applications they support, and then automatically update the CMDB in near real time with this information. Not only does this free up IT teams from manually entering data, it also means the CMDB can at last deliver on its potential.
An updated CMDB gives ITOps teams an unparalleled view that allows them troubleshoot problems much faster and to conduct thorough change impact analysis, as well as improve planning, compliance, and resource management. By analysing relationships and mapping dependencies across the IT stack, IT teams can better control the environments they are managing and ultimately improve performance and uptime while reducing costs.
According to IDC, only 36% of IT spend is dedicated to digital transformation today, indicating that the majority of IT budgets are still spent operating the day-to-day business. This speaks to the tremendous challenge of simply keeping the lights on and the necessity for IT teams to embrace technologies that can reduce the burden and free them to work on more innovative, transformational projects. AIOps is one such tool with DDM providing immediate relief not only in its ability to keep the CMDB updated and accurate, but also by generating complete infrastructure visualizations, detailed cross-domain topology maps, and comprehensive views of inventory.
While DDM capabilities offer significant time savings on their own, AIOps benefits continue to grow as the algorithms learn the environment, further enhancing and enriching valuable insights into the health and performance of applications and infrastructure. Over time, activities like event correlation and clustering, predictive analytics, multivariate anomaly detection, dynamic thresholding, and autonomous remediation enable problems to be resolved much faster or avoided altogether with preventative measures.
With AIOps, IT pros can finally realize the true promise of the CMDB and forge a strong foundation for IT service management. On a broader scale, AIOps makes IT organizations more efficient, effective, and successful. Combining data-driven insights with intelligent, cross-domain automation fuels autonomous operations and brings us closer to the long-awaited promise of self-healing IT.