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Federation and Management Spec Unveiled

The CMDB Federation (CMDBf) announced the availability of a draft specification that describes a way to share information between configuration management databases (CMDBs) and management data repositories (MDRs).

The group is working to create a standard way for federating and accessing IT information. Members of the CMDBf include company representatives from BMC Software, CA, Fujitsu Ltd., HP, IBM and Microsoft.

An open standard will help IT organizations better cope with change management, according to a CMDBf representative.

"By embracing this open standard approach, organizations will more easily be able to view, track and change information that is essential for efficient and compliant management of their IT infrastructure," stated Alan Ganek, chief technology officer at IBM Tivoli Software and vice president of Autonomic Computing at IBM, in a prepared statement.

The draft spec, which was released on Aug. 1, envisions utilizing Web services to support existing relational database technologies. The Web services will enable interaction between a federating CMDB and an MDR using a query service to extract data.

Standard Web services technologies would be used, including "HTTP, SOAP, WSDL, XML schema and Web Services Interoperability (WS-I)," according to an announcement issued by the CMDBf.

For definitions of "CMDB," "federated CMDB" and "MDR," see the group's spec (version 0.95), which can be accessed here.

  • A CMDB is "a database used to store configuration records throughout their lifecycle."
  • A federated CMDB is "a combination of multiple management data repositories (MDRs) ... providing an aggregate view of management data."
  • An MDR "contains data about managed resources (e.g., computer systems, application software, and buildings) and/or process artifacts (e.g., incident records and request for change forms), and the relationships between them."

The CMDBf gets some of its definitions and terminology from the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a nonstandard framework for best practices in delivering IT services. ITIL has its roots in IBM's and the U.K. government's early efforts to standardize infrastructure management processes, according to a Wikipedia entry.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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