CMDB federation - making a dead elephant dance

The analysts can beat the drums all they like - they won't make the CMDB dead elephant dance [I'm in training for the World Mixed-Metaphor Championship]. I've talked before about how the analysts are in a symbiotic relationship with the vendor industry: they have to talk new ideas up so as to have some change to write about. Never has this been more clearly illustrated than around CMDB. For one wonderful moment I thought an analyst was going to be skeptical about CMDB but then he beat the drum, or perhaps flogged the dead elephant [there I got another one in!]

I refer to one of the loudest CMDB drum-beaters, Dennis Drogseth, this time writing on CIO Update about the newly announced DMTF CMDB Federation standard. I got all excited when the article said

If such a vision is to become reality, then the industry needs a more consistent approach for federating multiple sources than the current rag-tag mix of adapters, APIs, and other technologies that still make federation, especially federation across multiple brands, such a painful experience... To some degree, how plausible this is (along with the entire future of CMDB systems) will depend upon the industry’s willingness to support this IT equivalent of the “cure for cancer”. In other words, it depends on your willingness to say “no” to those Darth Vader salesmen/women who try to ensnare you in unibrand solutions when your investments and skill sets are, as is normal, multi-brand.

but then normality returned

the federation discussion is a troubling one primarily because most significantly game-changing events are by definition troubling. I would even go further to suggest that in its quiet, almost clandestine way, the DMTF’s approval of the CMDBf standard may indeed herald the equivalent of the next moonwalk for IT—after, say, the move to distributed computing and even the advent of the Internet.

The CMDB is only game changing to a small group of backroom geeks who have to figure out impact on services. Federation of CMDBs only changes the game regarding vendor selection. To the world at large CMDB hopefully results in existing services being delivered a little more reliably but is otherwise invisible (unless you let them twiddle with it with some lunacy like MyCMDB). Millions of dollars spent so we can do what we do a bit better.

What is more, federation doesn't even exist yet ("If such a vision is to become reality"). This standard is just the first tottering steps towards it.

To put CMDB, let alone CMDB federation, in the same category as distributed computing or the internet is even sillier than suggesting it is a tidal wave. Calling federation a game-changing moon-walk is off the hyperbolic scale. CMDB must truly be on its last legs to produce this sort of desperation. Bang away but the elephant isn't moving.



Maybe by "moonwalk" he meant the Michael Jackson kind (look like you're moving forward while you really stay in place), not the Neil Armstrong kind...


You nailed it

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