configuration management database (CMDB)

A configuration management database (CMDB) is a database that contains all relevant information about the components of the information system used in an organization's IT services and the relationships between those components. A CMDB provides an organized view of data and a means of examining that data from any desired perspective. Within this context, components of an information system are referred to as configuration items (CI). A CI can be any conceivable IT component, including software, hardware, documentation, and personnel, as well as any combination of them. The processes of configuration management seek to specify, control, and track configuration items and any changes made to them in a comprehensive and systematic fashion.

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices standards include specifications for configuration management. According to ITIL specifications, the four major tasks of configuration management are:

  • Identification of configuration items to be included in the CMDB
  • Control of data to ensure that it can only be changed by authorized individuals
  • Status maintenance, which involves ensuring that current status of any CI is consistently recorded and kept updated
  • Verification, through audits and reviews of the data to ensure that it is accurate.
This was first published in December 2006

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