Those working in the business world or the IT field probably have a basic idea of what a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is. Techopedia defines and explains what a CMDB is in detail here, but essentially a CMDB is collected data that concerns the IT infrastructure of a business or organization. A CMDB will store all the IT data, but how is that helpful?
CMDBs as a System Map
A CMDB can show an entire IT structure like a big map of the inside of a machine. All the small inner-working parts that make up the whole system can be viewed. This means that every piece of hardware that is connected to another, any software used within a company, the email and Internet services, all of it can be assessed. A CMDB will show what will be affected by a change or from where a problem originates. It can help with troubleshooting and monitor any changes made to a system.
CMDBs as a Record
A CMDB can keep records of what happens in an IT system. This can pinpoint when a change occurred and how it was done so new employees can continue the practices set in place by their predecessors. This eliminates instances of specific IT workers being the only ones who understand the system and its set up.
CMDBs and Transparency
Since a CMDB is like a big map of how everything in an IT system functions and is connected, internal and external audits can easily be performed. A company's IT system is able to be viewed by authorized personnel to insure legality and compliance with regulations. This is also useful internally because being able to see every process, application, and change within a system can highlight areas for improvement.
Once a CMDB is in place, a lot can be done automatically. Anything that is connected to the network will be found with a system search that a CMDB does automatically. This can provide many details concerning servers, applications, software, etc. Changes made to the system are automatically tracked, and any unauthorized access will trigger an alert. This is particularly helpful with large systems that would be painstaking to monitor and update manually.
Overall, there are many ways a CMDB can be helpful. At its heart, it is a tool for organizing information in an IT system. It seems a little daunting and does require some effort and upkeep, but a CMDB is an efficient way to keep track of IT infrastructure. When a CMDB is properly executed and well maintained, it will never be more of a hindrance than a help.