ITIL's CMDB can't be done, no-how

This discussion of CMDB and its total impracticality has got legs. Let me reinforce two points please: (1) CMDB can't be done because of the data and regardless of the implementation and (2) I'm talking about CMDB as specified by the ITIL books, not any old database. It can't be done.

Living without CMDB

This article has been podcast

CMDB is positioned as the key underpinning foundation to ITIL:

Configuration Management provides the foundation for successful IT Service Management and underpins every other process. The fundamental deliverable is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) [Ref 1]

This is wrong. It is a peripheral nice-to-have. In a previous blog we discussed how it is currently an infeasible nice-to-have. Let's talk about doing without it.

VOIP and the anti-competitive behaviours that would logically induce in a telco

These are ugly times for telcos, a topic I look forward to exploring a little more on this blog. Today's topic is VOIP and the anti-competitive behaviours that would logically induce in a telco. Let me share with you a recent email from my broadband ISP. First some background. My ISP is a telco, the big dominant telco. They also provide me phone lines. Actually they try to pretend they don’t, by branding the ISP arm as an excitingly named subsidiary, but it is a pointless sham really when it all comes on one convenient monthly bill.

Is ITIL Dead in the Water?

This article has been podcast

[Updated: mention of COBIT]

In five years time most organisations will consider ISO/IEC 20000 certification as a normal part of operating: a minimum benchmark. The horse has bolted with ISO/IEC 20000: the world sees it as “the ITIL standard” but OGC and itSMF have zero control of it.

Our domain name is changing

The ITIL Skeptic becomes the IT Skeptic. The domain name is changing from to The new address works now: please update your links.

IBM: the company with such a firm grasp of ITIL strategic issues that they sold their service desk

Is it just me or does anyone else think it is a bit rich IBM lecturing ITIL vendors?

After all, this is the company with such a firm grasp of ITIL strategic issues that they sold their service desk product to Peregrine, abandoned to an inevitable brutal death. That's a bit like GM getting out of making engines and then telling other auto makers what they need to make cars.

Life beyond ITIL

Sorry about the lack of heavy entries lately folks - a trifle busy right now. I'll get time to work on "living without CMDB" soon I promise.

The observant ones amongst you will note the banner at the top has changed from "the ITIL Skeptic" to "the IT Skeptic". I'll gradually change the name everywhere. This move was inspired by Web 2.0. I decided Web 2.0 involves too much silliness for the Skeptic to resist. I had already been itching to have a go at SOA and other targets but Web 2.0 was the last straw.

Do unto yourself before others do unto you

Joe at Evergreen makes a great point

Whether it’s ITIL or some other initiative or project, eventually someone in the organization (usually someone with authority) will ask the proverbial "so what". Other questions they might and should ask include "why did we do this" and, of course, "what was the ROI".

What a load of .... Computerworld: How Much Is 'Just Enough' for a CMDB?

This article has been podcast in slightly modified form.

Antonio gave us an interesting link in a recent comment. Excuse me folks, but what a load of crap it is.

"A just-enough CMDB should provide a full picture of the following:
All technology components related to the specific service.

ITIL’s dead elephant: CMDB can't be done

Note: this is the original "dead elephant" post from back in 2006. My thinking about CMDB has matured since then. Please see the articles (and book) in the sidebar of this article for a more complete picture of how I now see CMDB, and a much wider range of ideas why CMDB or CMS is - for most organisations - a bad idea.

This article has been podcast

CMDB can’t be done. Not as ITIL defines it. At least not with a justifiable return on the investment of doing it - it is such an enormous undertaking that any organisation attempting it is going to burn money on an irresponsible scale. The truth about CMDB is no secret. It is a “dead elephant”: a great putrescence in the corner of the room that everyone studiously ignores, stepping around it and ignoring the stench, because life will be so much simpler if they do not acknowledge the obvious.

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