The most popular way to populate a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is to use an IT asset discovery and mapping tool. Unfortunately, discovery as an enablement process is complex and error-prone. One of the key drivers for data failures that often result in a very public corporate face-plant is a failure of organizations to take the next step of verifying what assets discovery found or missed. This lack of verification results in a CMDB that contains gaps, missing relationships and inaccuracies. By augmenting and reconciling discovered Configuration Items (CI’s) against three or more data sources, it is possible to improve accuracy from ~60% (per Gartner) to almost 100%.
Given the potential consequences of only relying on discovery without validation, below are Blazent’s Top 5 reasons discovery tools must be augmented:
5: The Need for Non-discoverable Data: To be effective, a CMDB must be supplemented with non-discoverable attributes, such as owned by, managed by, supported by and cost center. Discovery tools cannot provide this data as it often comes from ERP or Asset Management systems, and this type of information is outside their normal purview.
4: Visibility to Missed Assets: How do you know discovery tools are reaching the entire network? IT operations tools can reach segments of the network for which discovery has not been configured. Comparing discovery data to these other operational tools will improve coverage.
3: Conflict Resolution: Discovery tools lack the ability to reconcile three or more data sources using sophisticated matching algorithms and precedence rules. The key to resolving these conflicts, using the most accurate information available, is by prioritizing each value based on a hierarchy of factors such as currency, validity and timeliness.
2: Incomplete Records: Discovery data will typically need to be extended with attributes such as product model, OS, location, transformed, and/or normalized before it satisfies CMDB data standards. IT operations usually collect this information, which can fill the gaps.
1: Accuracy: According to Gartner, 40% of your CMDB data could be inaccurate, incomplete or have unresolved conflicts at the CI or attribute level. Maintaining the accuracy of the CMDB is critical to establishing its credibility as an authoritative source.
Blazent’s data quality solutions are designed to mitigate the above discovery shortfalls. Blazent purifies discovery data stored in a CMDB to align many data sources, by normalizing them, then applying precedence rules. This is one of Blazent’s core capabilities, and we do this better than anyone else. To learn more about how Blazent’s approach works, watch the video on populating a CMDB here, or for more immediate assistance, call us at 510 851 6073.