CMDB accuracy

How to determine CMDB accuracy?

To understand the critical importance of CMDB accuracy and why it needs to remain constantly precise, let us first understand the role it plays in your business.

Organizations, especially those that are large, can face the challenge of keeping track of all their configuration items used in their operations. This is a process that is not only challenging for IT teams, but also for businesses in general.

The good news is that this process can be streamlined through a CMDB, which allows managing and organizing assets to reduce operational and maintenance costs, reduce the redundancy of digital assets, and perform audits, among other numerous advantages.

What is CMDB?

CMDB stands for configuration management database. It is a database focused on the management and organization of all information regarding your company’s assets. It allows you to evaluate data such as names, characteristics, and details. In addition, it allows you to store data on the relationship between services and different CIs.

CI stands for configuration item, which can refer to a contract, computer, vehicle, cell phone, or any other asset required to carry out operations.

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is important because it allows you to reduce the redundancy of digital assets and expand their availability, which reduces operational and maintenance costs. It also enables you to quickly detect if there is something inappropriate according to the audit criteria, and it allows one to check that all inventory and infrastructure are in agreement, whenever new software or equipment is installed. 

Read: What is a CMDB, and why is it important?

The criticality of CMDB for organizations

Configuration management databases are critical for your organization for two reasons. First, their CMDB accuracy ensures transparency within your IT environment by recording the relationships and dependencies of devices, applications and workloads. Second, they provide a way to manage changes to the environment so that they can be executed in a controlled manner.

It’s important to have the ability to monitor, track, and report on the complex relationships of environmental components. Having this information allows a company to be more efficient in its operations by understanding exactly what is needed to complete a given task or project.

Most large, enterprise-class organizations are challenged with capturing and maintaining an accurate and complete picture of the assets, software, and configurations which comprise their IT infrastructure. According to data collected by Gartner, only 25% of organizations get significant value from their CMDB investments.

For the CMDB to function properly and meet its objectives, it depends on frequent updates and accurate data. If you don’t keep your CMDB up-to-date with accurate information, you’ll lose track of key information about your IT assets or have trouble using them effectively. A well-maintained CMDB will also help you identify any gaps or discrepancies in your inventory and ensure that all of your employees have access to up-to-date information about what they need to do their jobs efficiently.

But how to ensure that your CMDB is always populated with accurate data? To get to that, you need to understand the challenges of CMDB data. 

Challenges of CMDB data

As your business grows, your asset volume also increases. This has a direct impact on the cost of maintaining a correct CMDB and companies are often faced with these CMDB data challenges.

Data from multiple sources

One of the biggest challenges with CMDB data is that it is brought in from multiple platforms, which means it gets reported differently and duplicated in the CMDB. The fact that there are so many different ways to report on specific data makes it difficult to complete a single accurate report of all the information.

Noisy data

CMDB data is an important part of IT Service Management (ITSM), but the noise that often accompanies it can be overwhelming and unusable. This is particularly true when you’re managing a large number of systems. The problem with this kind of data is that it’s often not very useful for ITSM tools because it’s not easily accessible or formatted in a way that makes it easy to use. Most companies use a CMDB to store information about their hardware and software assets, but they don’t update the database regularly enough to maintain accuracy. As a result, many companies end up using unreliable data in their ITSM tools, which makes them less effective at managing their IT systems more efficiently

Lack of tracking usage

The minimal usage tracking of CMDB data is another major challenge for organizations because most organizations don’t have insights into their CMDB and IT environment. This lack of awareness means that even when they do realize there is a problem, they may not know how to go about fixing it.

Cloud adoption challenges

The growth in cloud adoption has led to a proliferation of disparate systems that make it difficult for IT teams to track the configuration management of their applications, which causes problems for both development and operations teams who are trying to quickly deploy new versions of software.

Additionally, traditional CMDB tools have been ineffective in keeping up with these changes because they lack the ability to manage multiple clouds and hybrid infrastructures. The result is that many companies are struggling with the problem of keeping their data up-to-date and accurate, which makes it difficult for them to identify when something goes wrong or needs fixing.

Lack of license tracking

CMDBs are a key tool for managing and tracking software licenses, but without a clear picture of what software is running on individual machines, teams can struggle to stay up-to-date with licensing requirements. This lack of insight can cause teams to miss risks such as out-of-control costs, cybersecurity vulnerabilities and compliance issues. The required fixes often involve lengthy, manual research.

Lack of automated CMDBs

The fact that most CMDB systems are managed by humans means that even the best-designed systems can fall victim to human error. Human error, in turn, leads to inaccurate data and improper configuration management. This is especially true when it comes to CMDB data. Without automated CMDBs, human errors in CMDB data are inevitable.

Also read: How to create and maintain a reliable CMDB?

Determining your CMDB’s accuracy

To determine the accuracy of your CMDB, you need to consider the key metrics that matter to your organization. These include:

No impact on network or device performance

It’s important to ensure that the accuracy of your CMDB doesn’t affect your network or device performance. 

For example, in the case of an error or failure notifies, you could limit their impact by collecting only the events that have had an impact on your devices and have occurred within a specified time frame. When collecting these events, the data should be collected per device or service, rather than for all devices or services at once. This approach can help reduce the cost of running reports and offers greater flexibility for generating reports by filtering out unwanted events with which it is not required to deal at this time.

Automatic application dependency and web service topology mapping

Identifying dependencies in a CMDB can help you understand which applications are dependent on each other and web services. An accurate CMDB can significantly reduce IT operations costs and increase efficiency by enabling a smooth transition process between versions of your applications or software patches.

Device relationship and communications

A CMDB should be able to account for each device’s dependencies on other devices, along with its history for interaction. A good CMDB will also allow you to determine if a device is still under maintenance by notifying you when sensors have been shut off, or when one company goes out of business or is acquired by another.

Agentless network discovery and custom probes

The accuracy of a CMDB depends on the quality of the data it contains. The data is only as good as the source, and that can be a challenge. Agentless network discovery is useful for environments in which installing agents on every device would be impractical or impossible. Custom probes are specialized network probes that can be used for various purposes, such as monitoring specific metrics or gathering information about certain types of devices.

When you’re trying to track assets across your network, agentless network discovery and custom probes are both very accurate methods of discovering networks and devices. They not only allow for rapid detection of new devices that were previously unknown but also allows for devices with no agents to be discovered as well.

Perform deep scans of your IT environment

To ensure that you have accurate information in your CMDB, your CMDB must be able to perform deep scans of physical and virtual installs of Windows, Unix, Linux, and macOS for hardware configurations, software, patches, processes, services, and more.

Various levels of discovery based on needs

If you’re looking for a simple way to identify and track your assets, then a basic CMDB will do the trick. However, if you need to keep track of multiple asset types or different versions of each type, then you’ll want something more sophisticated. A more advanced CMDB with different levels of asset discovery function can help you keep track of all these different types and versions. It also provides more flexibility when it comes to reporting and monitoring.

How does IT discovery keep your CMDB accuracy up-to-date?

IT discovery is critical to keeping your CMDB up-to-date with accurate and complete inventory. Manual discovery can lead to errors, which can be incredibly costly in terms of time and money. 

It establishes a baseline for your infrastructure through auto-discovery, including hybrid and public cloud ecosystems.

This information is crucial for many reasons:

  • It enables you to identify gaps in your asset inventory so you can fill them with accurate information.
  • It allows you to make informed decisions about what changes need to be made in order to improve efficiency or security.
  • It provides a reference point that can be used when making changes, so that you know what has changed since the last time it was documented in detail (which means less guesswork).

IT discovery automates the process of making sure that IT assets are always up-to-date, so you can focus on what’s important: delivering value to your company.

Service maps provide automated insight into complex relationships and dependencies. This means you can easily see what services are dependent on other services, and how they’re connected—without having to spend hours manually researching it all yourself.

Real-time data means you’ll be able to make better business decisions faster than ever before.

Importance of service mapping in maintaining an accurate CMDB

Service mapping is the process of mapping assets, services, and software components to their corresponding attributes in a CMDB. Effectively mapping your assets enables you to keep track of them more easily and ensures their correct usage. Understanding the relationship between services and their underlying software components is crucial. It is especially for determining the assets that need management within your organization.

Service mapping is also important when you want to get a network topology view. This view shows the relationship between all assets and it’s necessary to understand how things like network topology affect each other. For example, if you’re trying to map a new service onto your existing infrastructure, it’s important that you know what kind of connections are already in place. If there are no connections available, or if they aren’t adequate for the new service, this can impact your ability to maintain your CMDB.

To maintain an accurate CMDB, you need to have accurate service mapping data. This data can be obtained by using multiple sources of information, including network topology maps, DNS records, and configuration files.

An important way to ensure that your CMDB is up-to-date is by using a combination of these sources of data. In addition to being more complete, this approach will also help you avoid conflicting records and duplicate accounts in your CMDB.

Also read: CMDB Best Practices: How companies can get it right

Virima helps with you maintain a high CMDB accuracy

Virima’s CMDB is a modern, user-friendly, visual configuration management database that is ITIL-compliant and flexible.

The Virima CMDB helps you manage your IT assets with accuracy and speed. It enables you to visualize the relationships between your IT assets and their associated documentation. This way, you can swiftly identify what your team owns, who manages it, and how it’s being used.

With our dynamic, filterable visualizations of complex CMDB relationships, you can get a full picture of your CMDB assets and their dependencies. Our automatic application dependency and service mapping let you see exactly what applications are dependent on what services, so you can ensure that all of your applications run as expected.

By automating the process of updating your CMDB, Virima reduces the risk of human error and ensures that you have an accurate, timely and complete view of your IT assets.

Virima provides insightful CMDB visualizations comprising data and relationships between assets. You can utilize these visualizations to make informed decisions about the state of your IT infrastructure. Additionally, sharing them with others enhances communication across departments and ensures everyone is working toward a common goal.

What’s more? Virima supports dozens of other integrations, including monitoring, alerting, warranty and event management systems.

Virima’s customizable dashboards are designed to provide you with meaningful insights into the CMDB. 

CMDBs can be difficult to manage, but Virima’s all-in-one solution makes it easy.We help keep your CMDB accurate and up-to-date, so your organization is always running at peak efficiency.
For more details, schedule a demo with our team today!

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