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Improved IT Support and Service Delivery with New CMDB Data Model and Visual Map

Level 11

It can often seem like you don’t have enough hours in the day when supporting your employees and delivering IT services. This can become even more challenging if you don’t have complete and up-to-date visibility into your IT environment, since your underlying infrastructure affects the services you provide your employees.

For example, repeating issues can stem from faulty IT components such as servers or network devices with a history of errors. Moreover, a lack of insights into the potential impact of changes could cause outages when these changes are implemented, which usually results in floods of tickets from your employees.

Getting better visibility into your IT environment makes it easier to support your organization as you can understand how your technology landscape impacts your employees. You can tie these insights to your IT service management practices and make more informed decisions on your infrastructure. To give your organization greater visibility into your IT infrastructure, we have introduced a new Configuration Management Database (CMDB) data model and visual map to SolarWinds Service Desk!  

Overview of the CMDB Data Model and Visual Map

A CMDB is a database of all components (also known as configuration items) in your IT environment. This can include servers, databases, applications, computers, mobile devices, and other infrastructure. It may also have business components such as contracts, purchase orders, licenses, furniture, and users as well as IT and business services. When relationships (also called dependencies) between these configuration items are added, a CMDB offers complete visibility into the different components of your environment and how they work together to deliver IT and business services.

In order to support richer and more advanced service models while helping you navigate and understand complex configurations, we have added a new, extensible data model and visual mapping to our SolarWinds Service Desk CMDB. You can build a powerful configuration model and visualization, which enables you to align your infrastructure with IT service management and better manage large, complex environments.

Our new CMDB data model has a parent-child hierarchy for configuration items (CIs) in your organization (see Figure 1). It gives you the option of creating custom CIs (see Figure 2) or using out-of-the-box CIs for common asset types such as servers, routers and switches, databases, and applications (see Figure 3). The out-of-the-box CI types can also be customized as necessary. These capabilities provide more granularity, flexibility, and control, since you can build more specific configurations to meet the requirements of your organization. They also drive consistency in IT services and support with definitions for common components in your organization.

 

Parent-Child CMDB Hierarchy Screenshot v2.png

Figure 1: Parent-Child Hierarchy of the CMDB Data Model

 

Create Custom CI Screenshot.png

Figure 2: Creating a Custom CI in the CMDB Data Model

 

Customize OOTB CI Screenshot.png

Figure 3: Customizing Out-of-the-Box CIs in the CMDB Data Model

 

The new CMDB data model also includes enhancements to dependencies, which allow you to define multiple types of dependencies. This richer information gives you more details and context about dependencies between CIs, helping you better understand how CIs connect and interact with each other. For example, if your organization has an application server and billing service, the type of dependency between these two CIs will be ‘Hosts’, meaning your application server hosts your billing service.

 

CI Dependency Types and Directions Screenshot.png

Figure 4: Dependencies Types in the CMDB Data Model

 

Our new CMDB visual mapping improves visibility into your IT and business environment by visualizing CIs and their dependencies. This visual representation of your CMDB gives you better insights into the relationships between CIs and how different CIs impact each other.

 

CMDB Visual Map Screenshot.png

Figure 5: CMDB Visual Mapping

 

Combining the new CMDB data model with the visual map provides comprehensive visibility into the different parts of your technology and business environment. You can make better decisions on key IT service management processes such as incident, problem, change, and release management. For instance, this enables you to analyze the impact of changes while decreasing incident and problem resolution times. Let’s dive into the key use cases addressed by these capabilities.

Key Use Cases

 

Change Management

Greater insights into your IT infrastructure from the new CMDB data model and visual map improves change management. You can better evaluate and make informed decisions on the implications and risks of making a potential change by understanding relationships between IT components, including components affected by a change. This allows you to minimize the impact of changes on your users and your business while improving planning and execution of changes across your environment. It also streamlines the review and approval process for changes since you can give stakeholders such as the Change Advisory Board (CAB) increased visibility into the potential impact of forthcoming changes.

Troubleshooting

The new CMDB data model and visual map also speeds incident and problem management while reducing resolution times. Troubleshooting becomes easier when you have a clear line of sight into the set of dependencies associated with IT service issues. As a result, you can quickly analyze and diagnose root causes, which enables you to rapidly investigate and resolve issues. Getting insights into your IT infrastructure can even assist you in identifying workarounds and solutions to service issues. For instance, if a network device in your IT environment goes down, you can use your CMDB to find a backup device that you can temporarily utilize to keep your users and business running smoothly.

These capabilities are part of SolarWinds Service Desk Enterprise, our new top-tier plan. Please note that the new CMDB data model is also available in SolarWinds Service Desk Professional. To learn more about how our new CMDB data model and visual map help you make better decisions and improve your IT service management processes by providing comprehensive visibility into your IT infrastructure, check out our recent on-demand webcast.

If you have any questions or feedback on these capabilities, please comment below. You can also check out these new capabilities by starting a free 30-day trial of SolarWinds Service Desk today.

1 Comment

Nice to see continued development of CMDB functionality in the suite. I would love to take advantage of these features, but am afraid that I never will get to because my organization is locked into a different platform (don't ask) for ITSM.