Configuration Management Software
With FNT's Configuration Management solution, you maintain a complete overview of your configuration items. All CIs - from the passive and active network infrastructure, including structured cabling, to the server and application structures, workplace infrastructure, and IT and business services – are included. Our software provides an overview of all configuration items, recognizes the relationships between CIs and can identify, control and verify them. The deep integration with the asset management capabilities of our solutions also enables holistic service asset and configuration management in line with the best practices and processes of ITIL v3/v4.
What is Configuration Management?
Configuration management (CM) is a discipline that ensures the multitude of individual elements of a modern IT infrastructure:
- are known
- have clearly defined relationships and dependencies
- interact in a coordinated manner
- are optimally set up to perform their intended purpose.
The goal is to meet all functional requirements of the performance commitments underlying the IT service – and to do so in the most effective and cost-optimized way possible.
In other words: providing good IT services is a challenge. So is managing complex IT infrastructures. Configuration management makes mastering both easier.
What are configuration items and why are they important?
Configuration items (CIs) are all the available elements and resources that play a role in the operation of an IT infrastructure.
In configuration management, technical objects are often considered first when implementing or optimizing the process. The focus is on both:
- physical hardware - servers, routers, switches, workstation equipment devices, network cabling, etc.
- with their installed instances, middleware application, databases, file systems, firewalls, etc.
The ideal combination of all software properties and settings of these configuration items and the optimization of their interaction has the most direct influence on the quality, reliability and security of services provided.
It is important to understand that the surrounding elements of this technical infrastructure must also be considered CIs in order to achieve the desired transparency and control. Equipping buildings and rooms, assigning individuals appropriate access rights, simple and regulated access to contracts and accompanying documents for the physical and virtual infrastructure all contribute to successful service provisioning. Knowing the current state of each element and having a clear overview of interactions and dependencies is vital for achieving overall excellence in IT infrastructure operations.
The properties and information of Configuration Management are as complex as the CIs themselves:
- dimensions and weights
- consumption and performance data
- hardware and software settings in terms of set parameter values, version information, license data, person responsible, current location and operational status
- status of the relationships between all of the above
In summary: The documentation of all configuration elements allows quick, precise and simple answers to complex questions.
- Which servers are working with which applications?
- Which operating system and individual software components are being used?
- Where are they located?
- Who are they administered by?
- Where do they store their data?
- What are the maintenance contract terms and with which service provider?
What are the principles of configuration management?
Configuration management is considered a discipline of good management. It consists of three essential elements:
- the people acting as configuration managers
- a collection of subprocesses
- data management
The interaction of the people and the processes – whether manual, partially automated or fully automated - ensures continual updating of the configuration data and the provision of information for many operational processes in infrastructure operations. These two principles - ongoing updating of knowledge about all configuration items and immediate, targeted delivery of information - are essential success factors of good configuration management.
The data management piece of CMDB relies on a so-called "umbrella system". Rather than one huge database, it orchestrates the coexistence of multiple local CMDBs and several specialized inventories and management systems. This ensures a useful company-wide categorization of configuration items, maintains higher-level transparency, and often provides direct links to the detailed data of a CI in the specialized CMDB or responsible management system.
Configuration management can be implemented as a general discipline. It can also be specialized and focus exclusively on certain sections of the infrastructure and its operation. For example, software configuration management (SCM) supports optimized collaboration of distributed software development teams on applications that consist of multiple components and promotes DEVOps approaches. In such scenarios, software development and production support teams collaborate much more closely. Another example is specialized hardware configuration management (HCM), which supports the optimal combination and setup of hardware groupings.
The importance of configuration management in the context of automation
If you want to automate processes in your IT infrastructure management, configuration management is a must.
It starts by standardizing the configurational setup of all components in the infrastructure, from hardware and virtualization to software. The next step is defining a clear picture of the target state. Here it is essential to detect deviations, determine corrective actions, and reduce manual operations when executing deployment in production.
What should you consider when implementing configuration management?
Implementing configuration management and CMS/CMDB solutions is believed to be difficult. The general perception is that these projects often spiral out of control in terms of time and money while failing to achieve stated goals. The reasons most projects fail is clear: lack of target definitions, unrealistic expectations, no delineated responsibilities. There is also often a "big bang" implementation approach across all potentially relevant configuration items with no regard for specific use case scenarios.
In reality, successful introduction of configuration management is attainable if it includes these essential elements:
- Management support
- A strong interdisciplinary team from all involved domains and organizational silos
- Clearly defined, specific, and quantifiable use cases that focus on a limited number of processes for the initial phase
- Careful selection of appropriate solutions and technologies for implementation
- Identification of CI types relevant to the use cases with quick data acquisition, documentation, and integration with the relevant management systems
- Incremental expansion of the deployment scenario and extension to further processes and CI types in subsequent phases, keeping a strong use case orientation.
This approach ensures a short learning curve, effective corrective measures as needed, early sense of achievement and a good return on investment (ROI).
Professional configuration management solutions with integrated CMS/CMDB structures ensure a fast, efficient implementation. Even with the concentrated focus of the initial implementation phase, there is an enormous number of objects and attributes and huge data volumes. The proven, comprehensive data models, strong integration mechanisms with standard out-of-the-box interfaces and plug-ins to relevant management systems prepared process integration of a professional solution deliver immediate and immeasurable benefits to the project – and the organization.
What are the advantages of a configuration management system for your company?
A configuration management system (CMS) stores all data and information on your configuration items. The data can be retrieved at any time to support the inventory and management of equipment, its use, and all adjustments in the context of change management. The documentation of the dependencies and interrelationships of your configuration items is mapped in the configuration management system, so that the effects of changes can be quickly assessed. This enables you to implement changes in processes in a more controlled manner and without major downtimes. You will also be able to detect and fix operational malfunctions and faulty equipment more quickly.
Service management benefits from the clear presentation of structures and data as well as high data quality. Service delivery is accelerated, and support quality increases. Other ITSM processes can also be easily connected via interfaces, so that process flows benefit across the board.
Advantages of FNT's solution for Configuration Management
Highlights of FNT's Configuration Management Solution
Our solution has a strong CMDB, with a ready-to-use multi-level data model that comes standard with comprehensive object definitions for all relevant configuration items in the IT and telecommunications infrastructure. This data model can be easily extended with configuration.
All CIs - from the passive and active network infrastructure, including structured cabling, to the server and application structures, workplace infrastructure, and IT and business services – are included.
Recognize, identify, control and verify relationships between CIs. The deep integration with the asset management capabilities of our solutions also enables holistic service asset and configuration management in line with the best practices and processes of ITIL v3/v4.
See which CIs are available and the current capacity utilization in real-time. All necessary data for problem solving is always visible. FNT’s solution for configuration management can be categorized according to security aspects to improve your risk management.
Would you like to see how our solution for configuration management works? Request a demo!
Configuration Management (CM)
The central task of a company's IT department is to provide innovative, secure and reliable IT services. They should be optimally designed to effectively support the organization's business processes.
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