CMDB Tools (With Definition, Importance and 12 Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Configuration management is a core part of information technology operations, with the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) tools aiding in service management processes. These tools are crucial in adhering to the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices. You can explore various tools to find one that suits your needs in aligning your corporate and IT processes, assessing risks, reducing IT-related clerical errors and improving management. In this article, we discuss CMDB tools, explore why these tools are important and provide a list of tools you can consider improving your configuration management practices.

Related: How to Become an IT Technician: A Detailed Guide

What are CMDB tools?

CMDB tools refer to tools used in managing the configuration management database (CMDB). They help track Configuration Items (CI), store information about individual assets and how they relate to one another in a CMDB. A CMDB is a data warehouse containing information about the hardware and software components used to deliver IT services, referred to as configuration items and the relationships or dependencies between those components. Since many individuals may access it, you can make it user-friendly using a web interface. Also, it's essential to maintain and update the data to ensure it remains functional.

ITIL is a set of best practices that outlines how individuals maintain configuration items in service asset and configuration management, including conceivable IT components like hardware, software, personnel and documentation. Recommended tasks in configuration management include identifying the CIs to be added in the CMDB, limiting access of data to authorised individuals, ensuring the record of CIs remains current and updated and maintaining accuracy. You can ensure data accuracy by performing regular audits and reviews. An excellent tool often has features such as device auto-discovery, IT asset and change management tools, integration with other IT management software and comprehensive reporting tools.

Related: What Is an Information Technologist? Plus, How to Become One

The importance of configuration management database tools

CMDB is crucial in impact analysis for change, problem and incident management in IT operations. You can encounter situations requiring these tools to make informed decisions, such as troubleshooting a problem, confirming the compatibility of an IT change with the current technology and making big purchases. These tools provide relevant data to address such situations, including tracking the origin of inconsistencies and managing the problem directly to save time.

Such tools help visualise individual CIs through a centralised view of IT information to prevent administrative and management errors, ensure compliance and increase security and savings by eliminating unnecessary costs. Also, these tools can integrate data from multiple sources and synchronise it after identifying inconsistencies and reconciling the data. You can use these tools to diagnose and solve IT issues by streamlining processes.

Related: How to Write an IT Resume (With Template and Example)

12 configuration management database tools

The following is a list of tools you can consider in configuration management practices:

1. Device42

Device42 CMDB tool provides a single source of truth (SSOT) since it's built for the cloud. Its key features include auto-discovery, customised reporting, tracking local area networks and IP addresses and power capacity heat maps to avoid outages and overload. You get a clear view of your IT environment, enabling you to identify, manage and verify all the CIs within the organisation. This tool has a deep library of integrations that makes it easy to fit into your IT environment with visualisations that enable you to access and analyse data easily. It also helps eliminate lengthy processes in designing CIs.

2. GLPI

GLPI is an open-source software useful in planning and managing IT changes as a set of IT Service Management (ITSM) software. Besides the CMDB capabilities, the tool has many advanced features to manage assets, inventory and mobile apps. Access to the CMDB option on the platform is free and involves manual configuration and management.

3. Micro Focus Universal CMDB

Micro Focus Universal CMDB is suitable for hybrid IT environments, as it offers multi-cloud discovery for real-time monitoring and control. It's powered by machine learning to simplify IT processes. Key features include recognising software licenses, continuous improvement of software asset management and built-in configuration management as part of the Service Management Automation X software suite. You can know when IT standards drift and the accuracy of change requests made through Micro Focus Universal CMDB.

4. iTop

iTop by Combodo is an open-source tool with a single repository of CIs suitable for shared infrastructures, since all teams can use it. You can use this tool to analyse how change or incidents impact various services. Also, it shows contracts pending fulfilment. It involves manual management and maintenance of CIs and their relationships, making streamlining IT operations a challenge. It has a free version, but accessing additional customised features requires a subscription.

5. BMC Helix CMDB

BMC Helix CMDB is useful in making informed decisions, as it provides a single source with combined landscape and service information from several sources. Its key features include high adaptability and scalability, a variety of visualisations simplifying the CI view for effective simulation and high-quality data and integrity models. It integrates well with other software, including BMC Helix ITSM Suite, Java and C. This tool automates mapping software and assets using a separate Helix Discovery module. You may use this tool's user guides and training classes to understand and implement your plans.

Related: 7 Best IT Certifications for a Successful IT Career

6. i-doit

i-doit is an open-source central IT service management based tool that's ITIL-compliant. Its key features include technical IT documentation with a relationship-based model for CMDB. You can use the tool to visualise service and dependency trees and service modelling. Also, you can access CMDB, professional IT documentation and desktop UI with basic editing features using the free version. Accessing additional features requires upgrading and selecting options that suit your needs, since it's not a comprehensive suite.

7. Insight for Jira

Insight for Jira is a powerful asset management tool suitable for enterprise teams using Jira, as it acts as a single source of truth for the team, providing graphical and structured data representations from all sources. It connects with tickets for quick responses. It's also valuable for reducing operational risks. You require subscribing to access additional features.

8. IBM Tivoli CMDB

IBM Tivoli CMDB is suitable for organisations using IBM products in their IT operations. It follows the Tivoli Common Data Model structure, which defines and shares data about CIs and other items across various Tivoli management products. This CMDB is part of the ITIL-compliant IBM SmartCloud Control Desk and stores CIs' valuable information for configuration management processes. The data collected comes from various data sources, such as the IBM Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager and the IBM Maximo database. You can have the CIs' information stored in IBM Tivoli CMDB to manage change, incident, service request and release.

9. ServiceNow CMDB

The ServiceNow CMDB acts as a single system for IT records. CMDB and other applications require pairing with ServiceNow Service Mapping to become service-aware. You can make better decisions, visualise your IT infrastructure and service and effectively manage your development environment. ServiceNow can manage complex IT environments.

10. SolarWinds Service Desk CMDB

SolarWinds Service Desk CMDB functions as part of an on-premises help desk solution to help organisations track incidents occurring across the organisation and relationships between configuration items. Its key features include analysing how change affects employees and the whole organisation by providing visibility of how users, assets and other configuration items connect. It centralises data collected from multiple asset data sources and tracks them to create a clear picture of impact. SolarWinds provide prediction and understanding of the effects a change may cause before it happens.

11. Deepser

Deepser Service Desk is suitable for detailed customisable options, as it offers a highly interactive CMDB that facilitates understanding of the impact of individual assets on the IT network. As an innovative help desk, customer support and IT Asset Management software, Deepser optimises customer service, asset management and organisational processes. Its key features include a self-defined availability timer to determine the occurrence and duration of outrages, individual asset impact reports and tracking of custom objects classes. You can know the effect a piece of technology has on the IT infrastructure and monitor items of importance.

12. Freshservice

Freshservice CMDB by Freshworks combines CMDB and IT service management features, including asset tracking, auto-discovery and visual relationship mapping. Using the asset management module, you can know the history and current user or owner of an IT asset. Other features include auto-discovery scan, QR and barcode scanner module, tracking contracts and licenses and comprehensive analytics and reporting. Its deployment occurs on the web, cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS). Though it lacks performance monitoring, with some CMDB features unavailable in the basic package, you can create workflows easily and manage customer service efficiently with its customised ticketing systems and support portals.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles