Configuration Management is very important to running a large company’s IT organization. Configuration management provides you with all the data needed to understand the impact a change to the IT systems will have. The critical question to answer is what information do you store in your Configuration Management database. One approach is to capture the names used by IT when they refer to the services they provide. Categorizing the names into three distinct types: Resource Service Name, Network Name and Configuration Item Name will help you organize the lexicon of IT.
Resource Service Name
Most companies have a Service Catalog for ordering IT services. When you order an IT service they provide you with a name which references the service that you ordered. A database name or a website URL are two examples of Resource Service Names. From an IT perspective these ‘logical’ names need to be recorded in the Configuration Management Database. In addition to storing the names, IT would need to record relationships of the Resource Service Names to the underlying infrastructure providing the service.
Most Resource Service Names are tied to a Network Name within your data network or your intranet. For example, a URL would need to be recognized by your network in order for your web browser to connect to the appropriate services to deliver your web content. Maintaining the relationship between the Resource Service Name and Network Name in your Configuration Management Database is one meassure of the completeness of your Configuration Management Database. If the Resource Name is not defined to the network you are not going to find the resource you need. Comparing the network names related to either a resource or configuration item versus the total number of network names is a tangible measure of completeness.
Configuration Item Name
Configuration Item Name is the name that is assigned to the configuration items in the configuration process. Again, this is logical name that is assigned during the configuration management process and may or may not be defined as a Network Name. At a minimum, this name needs to be related to a Resource Service Name or Configuration Item Name.
Using these three categories provides a framework for defining the context for your Configuration Management Process to build your Configuration Management Database. Because many of these names are logical and defined by individuals, recording the names has to be part of your configuration management process.
Choosing this level of data for a framework allows you to quickly understand a very large IT organization in a short period of time. This gives you a high level view of the IT landscape. Now you have the context for going to the next level of configuration detail knowing that below each one of these ‘names’ is another level of detail of configuration information that needs to be captured.