CA and IBM Pull Together for CMDB Interoperability
September 8, 2008 Dan Burger
The promise of IT interoperability often feels like the brass ring that is just out of our grasp. Yeah, it seems closer each time we pass it on the IT merry go round. But if you never lay your hands on it, what difference does it make whether it’s close or far away?
A good example of this reach not meeting grasp is the configuration management database (CMDB). For most organizations, any talk of a CMDB follows a familiar story line that leads nowhere. The lack of budget and resources gets much of the blame, but the gulf between IT processes and business goals are the real obstacle to building a CMDB that provides a decent return on investment.
A CMDB by itself is nothing more than one ingredient of ITIL (information technology infrastructure library), a management framework that recognizes the current lack of IT support for operational processes and is designed for efficiency gains that dwarf any accomplishments already achieved. Although efficiency is a prize that would be welcome in any organization, it’s more dream than reality at this point because of the complexity of IT and the interactions of people with it.
“Businesses recognize that reducing the complexity in managing their multi-vendor IT environments can help them save money, ease operations, and enable other IT initiatives for improved service management,” says Brian Bell, senior vice president and general manager of service management for CA, in a supportive statement that accompanies the announcement that CA and IBM have the capability to share information between their respective configuration management databases. It’s a victory in the battle to gain interoperability. Not a huge victory in the overall scheme of things, but worth noting nonetheless.
OK. Now you can hold one brass ring is in your hand, but you’ll need more than one ring if you are ITIL bound. IBM and CA know this, but they aren’t going to let this early interoperability milestone pass without waving a flag. This is the first public demonstration of any two software vendors’ systems incorporating a specification developed by the CMDB Federation. The Federation consists of industry heavyweights BMC Software, CA, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft.
Because sharing and integrating IT information among various systems has been pretty much non-existent in the past due to a little thing known as vendor lock-in, we are seeing something important in the works with this announcement. Take note that open source software from the Eclipse Cosmos Project played a key role in making this first step in CMDB interoperability. The two companies plan to contribute reference code from this development to the COSMOS project. More of this will surely follow.