Federated database manages changeBy John NielsenA configuration-management database serves as a central repository of information that documents changes to a network. However, some organizations try to track too many things in one place. When that happens, IT is less likely to use the database, which minimizes the effectiveness of a change-management program.One alternative is a federated configuration management database (FCMDB), in which configuration data is segmented by type. When needed, relevant information is pulled out of each segment to provide a big-picture view of whatever issue is being addressed. This approach eases data entry and lets data be accessed as needed from any of the databases.Minimum requirementsWhile there are any number of databases that can be included in an FCMDB, at the minimum it should include network management, user management, facilities management and advanced cable management software (ACMS). These databases cover most of the core areas where problems and changes occur.The first three are obvious - most organizations have network-, user- and facilities-management applications in place in some form. The ACMS, however, is a relatively new technology that complements the others. For example, network management databases will tell you to what switch port a device is connected, but that's all. By integrating it with an ACMS package through an FCMDB, you can also track that device's previous and current connection paths, as well as design future paths from switch port to patch panel to wall jack.For more on this story, please click here.Nielsen is a systems engineer at iTRACS. He can be reached at email@example.com.