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Configuration Management

Configuration Management is an integral part of all other Service Management processes. With current, accurate and comprehensive information about all components in the infrastructure the management of Change, in particular, is more effective and efficient. Change Management can be integrated with Configuration Management. As a minimum it is recommended that the logging and implementation of Changes be done under the control of a comprehensive Configuration Management system and that the impact assessment of Changes is done with the aid of the Configuration Management system. All Change requests should therefore be entered in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and the records updated as the Change request progresses through to implementation.

The Configuration Management system identifies relationships between an item that is to be changed and any other components of the infrastructure, thus allowing the owners of these components to be involved in the impact assessment process. Whenever a Change is made to the infrastructure, associated Configuration Management records should be updated in the CMDB. Where possible, this is best accomplished by use of integrated tools that update records automatically as Changes are made.

The CMDB should be made available to the entire Service Support group so that Incidents and Problems can be resolved more easily by understanding the possible cause of the failing component. The CMDB should also be used to link the Incident and Problem records to other appropriate records such as the failing Configuration Item (CI) and the User. Release Management will be difficult and error prone without the integration of the Configuration Management process.

The Service Delivery processes also rely on the CMDB data. For example:

  • Service Level Management needs to identify components that combine together to deliver the service so that underpinning agreements can be set up
  • Financial Management for IT needs to know the components utilised by each business unit especially when charging is in place
  • IT Service Continuity and Availability Management need to identify components to perform risk analysis and component failure impact analysis.

Other ITIL Processes

In order to have a good understanding of ITIL and the importance of configuration management, we first define what ITIL is: ITIL is literally a collection of documentation.

This documentation can help IT organizations implement the best practices. The documentation grows and grows as more successful techniques are documented and guidelines established for what can make others successful. The latest ITIL resources are published by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Integrated service delivery refers to the need for Configuration Management, Change Management, Incident Management, Problem Management and Release Management processes that are linked together in a meaningful manner. For example, the process of releasing components to the live environment (the domain of Release Management) is also an issue for Configuration Management and Change Management whilst the Service Desk is primarily responsible for liaison between IT providers and the Users of services. This section highlights the links and the principal relationships between all the Service Management and other infrastructure management processes.

ITIL processes fall under Operational Layer or Tactical Layer, as follows:

Operational Layer: Configuration Management - Service Desk Management - Incident & Problem Management - Change Management - Release Management
Tactical Layer: Service Level Management - Availability Management - Capacity Management - Continuity Management - Financial Management