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Alternate Method of Farming a
You are given a Will!
With this your four member family become the owner of the 10 Hectare land. But there is a condition the 10 Hectare should be flourished with 1000 variety crops! Don’t worry…. You know 1000 people who are expert in growing these 1000 type of crops!! Again there is a but…. These 1000 people are spread across 1000 different places. Again a flip, these 1000 people come to meet you at least once annually. Now there are two Methods in which you can opt to farm the 10 Hectare:
Method 1. You four reach the 1000 people get the seed, expertise and start the farming. The advantage is the farm can be flourished theoretically within in the least time…. in 1 year…. perhaps in 6 months or even in 3 months.
Method 2. You wait for the year for the 1000 people to visit you. They will bring with them the seed, the expertise and mostly the willingness to extend a hand to do the farming. Now the pain is that it will take at least 1 year for a total begin.
With many of it’s advantages, the clear choice is Method 2. And practically this approach will only ensure a flourished, green 10 Hectare of your farm down the line.
While using the CMDB, it felt to resemble to a multi-crop farm which seeds, cultivate and flourish the Business Services Info! So the analogue of this multi-crop farm found to be best to begin with the explanation of the alternative method of farming CMDB.
From the experience of managing HP UCMDB together with HP Open View suite for the last 5+ years, it has been learned that applying Method 1 doesn’t give a coverage of the Configuration Items (CIs) beyond a specific level, rather to an acceptable level. This happens in spite of spending indefinite amount of time. Since the last 5+ years the small family, the operators of CMDB collect the information about the CIs of nearly 2000 Business Services from 1000 people in tits and bits to farm the CMDB. This always lead to barren patches in spite of employing cumbersome efforts. Instead it often resulted even in the failure of the cash-crops; ie configuration info of critical Business Services of financial implications 🙂
Let us get into bit technicals of the HP Open View suite. If UCMDB is the back-end of the suite, Service Manger is the front-end. Service Manager consumes the data from CMDB. For the last 5+ years CMDB has been federated to Service Manager in one way as follows.
The Alternate Method (Method 2)
Now let us consider in detail the Alternative Method (Method 2), to farm the CMDB which lead to an excellent degree of consistency.
As the first step, I am defining a procedure which will involve the 1000+ people who can help in farming the CMDB in a clean way. The existing Service Manager will have few additional check-boxes for the validation of the seeds, the Host CIs (Configuration Items) in all of the Change forms. Thus all changes happening in the environment initiated by 1000+ Business User will lead to a dynamic table, let me call this Business Service Registry (BSR) (Guidelines for the BSR is stated at the end of this article). Now BSR will be a dynamic index of Business Services with the bare essential information about the Business Services and related CIs.
Within each and every change itself, each BSR info will undergo a 3 level verification with the additional check-boxes.
Business User > Business Manager > System Administrator
The entry of info into the BSR will happen only after the 3rd level verification of System Administrator.
Next step is to federate the Service Manager to UCMDB the other way.
Now unique rows of BSR will be seeded to CMDB to build the functional CMDB (fCMDB). This will give the sprout of each business service. The discovered CIs from the raw CMDB (rCMDB)will be attached to the sprouts and will be flourished into the functional CMDB (fCMDB).
This mechanism will also work as the base for IT infrastructure compliance.
When done by the Method 2, the seeding of the 10 hectare land is going take it’s own sweet time, around one year. But even the Method 2 can seed the CMDB in 1 week, very comfortably within 1 month! Direct the 1000 Business Users to log dummy changes just intended to consolidate the BSR. Further only the routine changes will keep on dynamically updating the BSR.
Periodic seeding and weeding of the CMDB with BSR will ensure a green flourished CMDB.
Guidelines for BSR
BSR should contain bare essential info for seeding the CMDB. Too many people feeding too many info will lead to anomalies in long run. BSR is the most critical as it is contains the seeds for the functional CMDB (fCMDB). Typically BSR may read like:-
CI Type a. Host – Servers
APM ID, User-Manager <=Hostname=> IP Addresses, OS, Flavour, Version
CI Type b. Host – Databases
APM ID, User-Manager <=Hostname=> IP Address, DB, Flavour, Version, Instance, Port
Note: Business Services should be represented only by APM (Application Portfolio Manager) ID, not by their name. If ten people call a Business Service, they do it atleast in 4 different ways. (Finacle Customer Request Management, Finacle CRM, FCRM, CRM are all one and the same. This leads to undesired redundancies in BSR and CMDB too.).
Keeping the BSR very lean, the additional Business Service specific config information can go into an extension of BSR called BSRX. This includes Environment (Production/Non), Type (App/Web/DB), Business Service specific server resources like the specific file directory, specific server-service etc. This will be just under the purview of the Business User and the Business Manager.