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What is configuration management database (CMDB) software?
Configuration management database (CMDB) software allows organizations to track IT assets and see how these assets are related to one another. CMDB software solutions help manage IT inventory and software licensing, calculate return on investment (ROI), standardize methods for change control, and monitor IT metrics.
The benefits of CMDB software
- Logistical control: By creating a central repository of all IT assets and their interdependencies, companies can readily measure and analyze the effects that a change in one system will have on other related systems. Hardware and software specifications are tracked to facilitate the rapid deployment of either new system implementations or upgrades.
- Licensing compliance: CMDB software is specifically designed to track the quantity and types of licenses for software assets in an organization. In doing so, organizations can effectively comply with licensing structures for currently deployed technologies and predict the cost of additional licenses.
- Accurate ROI calculations: By analyzing usage metrics, CMDB software allows businesses to more effectively calculate the ROI of their hardware and software investments.
Typical features of CMDB software
- Change management: Ensures the use of standardized methods and procedures for handling changes in IT infrastructure.
- Configuration management: Establishes the accurate configuration of an IT asset based on design and operational specifications; ensures IT assets perform consistently to meet desired benchmarks.
- Asset management: Enables users to track and manage IT inventory.
- Device auto discovery: Periodically scans the network and executes predefined actions upon discovery.
- License management: Tracks and organizes the number of licenses available to (or potentially required by) the organization.
- Performance monitoring: Monitors and measures relevant metrics to assess the performance of IT resources.
- Knowledge management: Systematically manages knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical and strategic requirements.
Capterra's CMDB directory lets you filter by feature(s) to view only options that meet your business needs, which can help you narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing CMDB software
- Overall cost vs. day-to-day operational costs: Whereas IT Asset Management (ITAM) software is used to track and project an IT asset's cost over its life cycle (mostly for accounting purposes), CMDB software focuses on the day-to-day operation of an organization's IT configuration - mainly how changes in the operating environment will affect other systems. Some products offer functionality for both ITAM and CMDB. A clear prioritization of long-term IT goals will help you select an appropriate product for your organization.
- Auto discovery: While most CMDB programs contain fields for recording version numbers of software used by an organization, some go a step further by proactively searching an organization's infrastructure for out-of-date versions, and then performing upgrades automatically to ensure that versions match the desired configuration scheme. Auto discovery will also detect the presence of illegal or unlicensed software on the organization's IT infrastructure.
Relevant CMDB software trends
- CMDB software will increasingly depend on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate version control: AI will continue to further automate the CMDB space. AI will not only track and compare IT configuration information across a business, but it will also use algorithms to determine and implement the optimal configuration schema without user input. Considering that 68% of small businesses will adopt AI in some respect over the next years, even the smallest of businesses will need CMDB with AI to stay competitive.
- Fines levied for the use of unlicensed software can be crippling for small businesses: The Business Software Alliance (BSA) does not discriminate between small businesses and large enterprises when it comes to penalizing software license infractions. In some cases, the BSA has levied fines of up to $150,000 for copyright infringement, and that trend is likely to continue. When you protect your organization with the auto discovery technology of a CMDB suite, you avoid steep fines.