Feeds

More on CMDB – and Active Repositories

Report of a reader conversation on email

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

I've been having a conversation (via email) with BillN, prompted by my piece on CMDB here. I thought that I’d reproduce the conversation, with his permission, and see if anyone else had ideas in this area (there's some more background on CMDB here).

BillN: That was verrry interesting… A planning tool that can use the CMDB for a base can prevent all sorts of implementation disasters and cost overruns because it can deal with the very complex interactions that a full grown IT setup will have developed.

Over my many years in IT, I have repeatedly seen serious problems develop when managers with limited technical understanding won't listen to the warnings from the tech staff. Been there, done that, more than once.

But a tool that can demonstrate the complex impacts of a new project before it is committed to go could save all of its cost in just avoiding one large overrun. To my mind, this is the best reason of all to put a CMDB on the fast track.

The bigger the organization, the more value this represents. Think about the value of being able to fully understand all of the impact that a major new application (Sarabanes-Oxley for instance) will have before you commit to a specific design. And then when committed, the value of avoiding surprises to the project when later new apps are proposed.

Based on my experience, this would have saved each of the companies I worked for more than enough to pay for CMDB, with benefits in addition.

On another subject entirely, reuse, there is another area that could use an effective DB as a plan/implement tool.

David: It is all part of the old "active enterprise repository" idea, isn't it? Back in the 1980s, in Oz, we ran our (IMS) database out of a data dictionary, so we could validate program specs before coding them. Not only did we store our data analysis and generate database definitions, we collected operational behaviours, logged production failures against the physical side of the dictionary and stored database restart instructions in what had become an active dictionary, since restart and the decision to restart, was automated [normally, a failure just affected and stopped one transaction and there was no need to stop the whole database; repeated failures, for example, would result in an override of any generic “restart database” instruction – and this all worked because we had rock-solid transactional processing].

Then I came back to the UK and found that such ideas weren't popular [although you can probably still find commercial examples, even so]. But we did have data analysis and a data dictionary still and this [potentially] helped re-use - you could find candidates for reuse at the logical level, going in through entities [in fact, our reuse was massive, although it was mainly reuse of the security and printing subsystems and reuse of single database structures – nothing wrong with that, of course]. You didn't need to rely on naming standards [being followed in order to make sense of operational systems]...

But even that ended with OO in the nineties. I remember saying to OO gurus that you needed some way to find these low-coupled highly cohesive objects for reuse without relying on names - and being told I just didn't understand. Some years later I ran into one of those gurus again (Ian Graham, I think) and in the course of explaining why the promised OO reuse hadn't happened, he ventured the idea that they should have implemented a "catalogue" [aka repository?] of objects, back when they started… Now I can resurrect many of these old ideas in the context of CMDB, UDDI, executable UML etc. Things go around, they come around..

BillN: Looks like you were ahead of your time. I tried to get TPTB to accept the repository concept for developer assistance, even designed one myself when the commercial ones were turned down for cost, but I wasn't even allowed to work on it. Talk about short sighted.

David: Very few people measure "lifecycle cost"

BillN: David, that’s a major miss by most IT organizations.

David: And this is partly because the use of stock markets for financing companies - and short term executive contracts - means that everyone's horizon is about 6 months out.. Whenever you see somebody doing something stupid, either they're stupid - or (more likely?) what they're doing makes a lot of sense (financially or career-wise) from their POV...

BillN: I don't see the problem as 'financing via stock market', but as 'measuring rewards by quarterly stock performance' because of the short horizon of most stock analysts. A few companies, such as IBM, still have a long view. Part of the problem comes from stock holders wanting gratification by quarter, particularly the large mutual funds which are also driven quarterly.

All of it stems from the 'instant gratification' theme that runs throughout our country. This short view, lack of patience, call it what you will, is the basic cause of a lot of problems we face.

David: Yes, fair enough...

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.