Many companies are considering implementing a configuration management database (CMDB), a centralized repository of information about configuration items, as well as their relationships to end users and business services. CMDB helps to manage those relationships, making it easier to understand the impact that service issues or changes to a specific asset or group of assets will have on the rest of the infrastructure and the business service they support. For example, With a CMDB in place, companies can better prioritize service desk tickets by understanding which systems support mission-critical business activities.
Putting all the challenges of implementing a CMDB solution (and maintaining its accuracy), many CMDB users are also leveraging it to address asset lifecycle management and asset re-assignment. However, this approach is somewhat limited. It is also quite expensive.
An IT asset management (ITAM) solution is the far more effective – and more cost-efficient – way to tackle this job.
ITAM vs. CMDB
In CMDB environments, assets are managed at the relationship level, also known as the configuration item (CI) level. This, we believe, does not provide the needed amount of detail, giving IT professionals only limited insight into the systems they oversee. ITAM solutions, on the other hand, manage IT systems at the asset level. This approach provides greater insight into an asset’s properties and history. For example, unlike CMDB, ITAM can:
- Directly link assets to software licenses to facilitate improved compliance
- Correlate IT systems to contracts, such as maintenance agreements and master lease schedules
- Retain a full record of purchase terms for each asset
- Track asset lifecycle changes, for example re-assignment, re-provision, and service and repair history
By employing an IT asset management solution to manage technology lifecycle, as opposed to a change management database, companies can manage not only the technical value of their technology assets, but the financial value as well.