What is discovery and dependency mapping?


Try asking IT for data on the development, test, production, and disaster recovery environments in the data center and public clouds like AWS or Azure. It’s a straightforward question, yet answering it accurately and without going through a time-consuming audit is difficult for many IT operations departments.

Service configuration management is a core ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) management practice, and the CMDB (configuration management database) is the data warehouse that stores information on IT assets. IT’s task is to load and maintain the CMDB with accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive information. Maintaining the CMDB is a significant challenge for organizations that have large IT footprints or that make frequent changes using devops CI/CD automations to deploy applications and IaC (infrastructure as code) to configure multicloud infrastructure.

Enter DDM (discovery and dependency mapping) tools that scan networks to extract configuration information and update CMDBs with accurate data. A DDM is essential for organizations with large data centers and cloud infrastructures and can be a game changer in improving ITSM (IT service management) processes, such as incident management or change management.

DDM tools are often a data source for AIops or machine learning capabilities and are a form of hyperautomation when combined with low-code automation, workflow, and integration tools. For example, categorization engines can use DDM’s data to group systems, or anomaly detectors can flag outlier flow patterns.    

DDM-powered CMDBs scan autoscaling infrastructure for changes

A typical CMDB stores information on CIs (configuration items), including the configurations of network devices, servers, virtual servers, cloud instances, applications, web services, databases, storage configurations, and other infrastructure components. Many CMDBs capture dependencies between CIs and allow rolling them up into business services.

CMDBs may be part of an ITSM platform or an independent product. Top platforms include Atlassian Insight, BMC Helix, Cherwell CMDB Software, CloudAware CMDB, IBM Control Desk, Ivanti Asset Manager, ManageEngine CMDB, Micro Focus Universal CMDB, ServiceNow CMDB, Proactivanet Discovery and Asset Management, Symphony SummitAI, Virima CMDB, and many others.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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