BMC expands reach of CMDB

BMC includes data libraries, federated technologies and links back into mainframe systems.

BMC updated its configuration management database technology to help customers collect data from back-end systems and more easily pull data from distributed sources without a lot of manual effort.

BMC Software updated its configuration management database technology to help customers collect data from back-end systems and more easily pull data from distributed sources without a lot of manual effort.

BMC Atrium CMDB 2.0 software works with other BMC applications to collect and store configuration data from IT assets, such as Web and application servers, routers, switches and user machines, in a configuration management database (CMDB). The latter is a repository for data about IT assets and those assets' dependencies and interrelationships, according to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL proposes that network managers who know their IT assets, how those assets relate to each other and how they might have changed can pinpoint the source of an IT service disruption more quickly.

For example, if an application is performing slower than preset service levels, IT managers use data in Atrium CMDB 2.0 to track the application's performance through the infrastructure and software components supporting it. The database includes a reconciliation engine, which lets it make sense of data input from many sources and model the one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many relationships that exist among IT components that now include mainframe systems.

"Many vendors are offering tools that can map the dependencies of online applications, but it's not long before customers realize it's not a complete picture," says Jean-Pierre Garbani, a research director at Forrester Research. "Application dependencies are not online only. Most applications must delve into back-end databases and other systems. With this release, BMC can show the relationship of the online applications to those on the distributed network to those on the mainframe."

In addition to its expanded reach into mainframe systems, Atrium CMDB 2.0 now supports a federated database model. Under this model database software collects data from many sources but doesn't have to store it all in one monolithic database. A federated CDMB has a centralized database with hooks into other data sources; IT managers are not required to abandon their existing databases and move configuration data to another server. This support makes it possible for data to reside in many sources throughout the enterprise, with a centralized source having knowledge of where that data is.

BMC competes with HP, IBM (with its Collation acquisition), and Symantec (with its Relicore acquisition).

"If you want to automate the distribution of IT resources on demand, you need tools that can tell you what you have and what it's talking to at this moment," says Jasmine Noel, a principal analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates. "Going forward, management vendors cannot survive without application-dependency mapping and configuration-management technologies."

BMC's tight integration with the tenets of ITIL and its incorporation of business processes in the IT service-management chain make it possible for BMC's Atrium and Remedy software suite to relate technology components more quickly to the business applications they support - such as CRM, ERP or supply-chain management tools, says Steve Moore, technology leader at Mary Kay Cosmetics in Dallas.

For example, a CRM system could be defined as an IT service comprising an application, a server, the Internet, a router, a back-end database, the network and users. Atrium CMDB would establish a model of this service, which network managers could use to troubleshoot problems. According to BMC, applications in its Remedy software suite would automatically detect and resolve issues along that service chain.

"We look to the CMDB from an asset perspective, and it becomes more powerful for us to register services with it," Moore says. "With technology people, we can show them, here is our order-entry service and this is our tax application, and it has more meaning associated with it outside of just the IT world."

Atrium CMDB 2.0 starts with Service Desk at an initial entry price of roughly $30,000 before user licenses.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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