The IT Skeptic Looks at ITIL V2 and V3 CMDB

The IT Skeptic Looks at CMDB - cover Out now, a new book The IT Skeptic Looks at CMDB

Available on Amazon for $9.95+p&p, this book lays out the IT Skeptic's arguments against CMDB as defined in ITIL. Get yourself a concise, structured discussion of why CMDB is a bad idea for most businesses, and what the alternatives are. Wave this book around at the next meeting!

There is a podcast summarising this book.

"Finally someone had the braveness to speak out loud. Highly recommended" Five-stars review Raul Cristian Aguirre

"not just funny and ranty, but thoughtful and informative" Four-stars review Matt Haak

The IT Skeptic is probably best known for strident criticism of the concept of CMDB as described in ITIL, and of ITIL3’s extensions of the concept to CMS and SKMS. This book presents the IT Skeptic's argument against CMDB, laid out over 81 pages of content (90 pages total). It covers pretty much all the content from this blog (and the IT Skeptic's writings elsewhere) on the topic of CMDB - collated, edited, reorganised, improved and clarified. It also includes some original material published nowhere else.

It would be rash to describe this as the IT Skeptic's last word on the subject of CMDB, but it is the latest word after over two years of debating the topic.

Buy now

Please let me know what you think.


  • Introduction
  • Executive summary
  • Summary
  • Skeptical about CMDB
  • Defining CMDB
  • Justifying CMDB
  • CMDB is hard
  • Living without CMDB
  • CMDB hype
  • Blue sky
  • Geeks like tools
  • Auto-discovery
  • Root Cause
  • Federation
  • The boundary problem
  • On-demand CMDB
  • Professionalism
  • Top 10 reasons NOT to implement CMDB


CMDB -vs- Service Catalog

I've been getting more and more "Service Catalog" oriented webinar invites. I can't completely complain, because my job title is "Request Management Administrator."

But I sometimes get the feeling Service Catalog is the new CMDB, an "essential part of IT Service Delivery" that will never be fully populated or functional. Anyone else starting to wonder if SC is become the latest buzzword that vendors latch onto to sell services and software?

Best Regards,

100% agree

Not only is it seen as being essential, it is being sold as the new silver bullet, even though in practice there doesn't even to be any concensus on what the service catalogue actually "is". In fact work through some of the defintions and it dawns on you the service catalogue is simply the bit of the CMDB above the waterline.

There is a difference though. The CMDBdriven approach confirmed a techno centric bottom up view of infrastructure. In theory the service catalogue drives a top down business view, as long as you don't confuse the tecnology with the service. My working definition has always been that a business service is technology agnostic - if you need to include the technology in the service name then it isn't a business service.

James Finister
Wolston Limited

The Games Vendors Play

ooh there's a blog in this! "the service catalogue is simply the bit of the CMDB above the waterline" - love it. The first three times I use it I'll attribute you, then its mine (as an old friend of mine said but I've quoted it so often I don't attribute it any more)

I've always said service catalogue is the true essential, the true centre of ITSM, and CMDB is a geek usurper. So I agree with you guys in applauding it gettting more attention. I also agree that the vendors are picking it up as CMDB grows tired, and that they will turn it into a technology issue instead of a process one, and that they will slap a "Service catalogue" label on all sorts of things that aren't, thus totally debasing the meaning of the term. It's all happening now and it is a recognisable pattern. The Games Vendors Play... a book?

Catalogues and CMDB

ITIL is a set of books with some good ideas in them - it needs to be used a such. A large part of some of those new books (early in the life cycle) are personal self aggrandizement - I would use a profane term beginning with "w", but as a newcomer to this forum I don't think that is a good idea. Unfortunately the zealots believe if it in the book that's the answer, they forget the "adopt and adapt" credo.

Very intriguing to read your blogs re CMDB and Cattle dogs. I have worked for an outsourcer for about 10 years and now back with a large corporate. I have been (and am) a process engineer, also managed CMDB and SM systems which had catalogs. But are any of them a silver bullet, no I don't think so! Yes - we are currently being sold both!

I have seen a couple of CMDB implemented - great ideas sold by salesmen to uninformed senior managers and gullible techies! Then left to people like me to get the ROI they were lied to about.

As for catalogs - well I have seen lists of items people can purchase - not real Service Catalogs.

Furthermore, most of the results obtained are garbage because the data input is uncontrolled or at best partially cleaned/discovered etc. I too have been of the opinion that CMDB was oversold without discipline. I am now worried that the same will happen with the Service Catalog.

I think there are a couple of issues:
- Key word is discipline - none of this makes sense unless the IT organization learns a bit of self discipline to not cut corners. What other service industry lets people get away with things - lets say a bank teller - with what we let our operators do? Would we care if the teller skipped thru fields on our deposit slip, but we tend not to care if the operator skips thru fields on an incident report!
Process and tools is only about discipline!

- In IT we have a tendency to over promise and under deliver - we need to learn to say "no".

Sorry, minor rant - I like this blog - I will have to read more.

Miles N
ITIL Expert / v2 Manager / v2 ICTIM - too much time on my hands!

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