Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CMDB interoperability: Waiting for Nirvana

Have you heard the good news?

The 800-pound gorillas have formed an 'alliance' in order to provide interoperability between their respective CMDBs. Of course I thought OASIS~DCML has been working on that, but I admittedly couldn't tell you technical folks squat about OASIS~DCML or what the hell our 800 pound friends are up to...maybe somebody who can translate the geek-speak into a language we can all understand will help us...

as for me, I got some serious deja vu going on....but perhaps more importantly, if you're implementing --- or want to implement --- IT service management best practice based on ITIL how does this impact your Road Map? Should you shout halleluia and just trust your 800 pound gorilla of choice to provide interoperability someday as promised? (If you do, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you)...

no, there are other (safer) options available to you. You KNOW that you must start with an analysis of your current processes first, so don't even think about tools until you've completed this step. However, if you've analyzed your processes and believe that automation (via a CMDB tool) is in order consider this:

  1. 1) The CMDB, like any tool, must automate your processes based on 'Where You Are Today'
  2. 2) The CMDB, like any tool, must provide a clear business case
  3. 3) The CMDB, like any tool, should create value to the organization QUICKLY

Of course, even if you decide you want a CMDB you'll have to understand and define those nasty relationships between CIs (which really means at least some degree of SLM --- ok, ok so we buy an SLM tool right? NOT )...

and how about the fact that (according to IDC, et al) most of the savings attributed to IT service management seem to be focused on more effective and efficient problem isolation & diagnosis (see Building an ITIL Business Case?...Slow & Steady Wins the Race)

finally, ask yourself: How long will it really take to achieve a CMDB as ITIL defines it? (see some interesting discussion at the ITIL skeptic)

While it's hard to question the staying power of 800 pound gorillas, there are some tenacious little badgers in the forest that can really help focus your Journey on the Right Path without holding you hostage waiting for interoperability nervana. One of these is one you've heard about from me many times, as I'm a former customer and 'true believer'; a small firm called eG Innovations.

This company has spent less time hyping ITIL and CMDB and much more time keeping thier eye on the effective & efficient problem isolation ball...quite simply, the software leverages a patented data flow and dependency based correlation logic that enables them to monitor what is happening at every layer of every component of an end-to-end business service, and automatically identify which layer of which component is the source of a problem. No rules to write, no code, no kidding!

As important, they do this across 75 major applications and platforms out of the box. I mean, out-of-the-box -- up and running in less than a day.

They call this 'service monitoring'. I call it 'A Good Way to Achieving the Paradigm Shift Required for Higher Levels of ITIL Process Maturity While Establishing a Foundation for a True CMDB and Letting the Gorillas Know That a Vision Won't Put Fires Out'. OK, I admit it's not a very catchy marketing slogan, but you get the point don't you?

You can wait for the 800 pound gorillas' Vision to become reality, you can Trust them now (and hope for the best) or you can focus on other areas that bring value (immediately) and gradually build the foundation of knowledge you'll need anyway to populate those beasts.

So get on the Right Road, but keep those headlights on!


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