Tech topics

What is CMDB?

Illustration of IT items with focus on a question mark


Complex IT systems require careful documentation for a variety of reasons, such as keeping track of changes and configurations and maintaining compliance with rigid standards. IT specialists have done this manually in the past, which was time-consuming and prone to error. A configuration management database (CMDB) helps automate this process, making it much easier to keep track of IT assets and configurations.

A CMDB is a database used to store IT configuration and infrastructure information. The main purpose of a CMDB is to provide a single source of truth for an organization's IT service management (ITSM) initiatives, which can include hardware, software, systems, facilities, and even personnel. A CMDB contains detailed information about each asset, including its history, location, owner, function, and relationship to other assets. Each tracked asset within a CMDB is known as a configuration item (CI).

CMDBs provide a comprehensive view of the IT infrastructure, making it easy to track changes, identify potential problems between interdependent CIs, and successfully deliver IT services.

IT teams can use a CMDB to store a wide range of information, including:

  • Hardware and software inventory
  • Information about network infrastructure
  • Configuration settings for individual system components
  • Documentation of changes made to the system over time
  • Personnel information


How does a CMDB work?

A robust CMDB solution automatically populates with data from a variety of sources, including discovery tools and system logs. IT specialists use this data to create a comprehensive view of the IT infrastructure. A CMDB can track changes within the system over time and identify potential problems. For example, if you add a server to your network, you can use a CMDB to update its documentation and add this new asset to your inventory.

What are the benefits of a CMDB?

There are many benefits of using a CMDB, including:

  • Improved visibility into the IT infrastructure.
  • Easier identification of potential problems.
  • Improved documentation of changes.
  • Faster resolution of issues.
  • Better compliance with regulations or standards.
  • Improved communication between teams.

A CMDB is a valuable tool for any organization that relies on IT systems. By automating the documentation process, a CMDB can help IT save time and money while improving the overall quality of data and information.

What is the difference between a CMBD and IT Asset Management?

ITAM focuses on tracking more static hardware and software details throughout the asset life cycle, such as procurement, operation, ongoing maintenance, and disposal. While these details typically include information regarding configuration, a key feature of ITAM is that it focuses on the financial aspects of assets, such as purchasing or licensing costs, depreciation, and replacement costs.


Rather than focusing on business-oriented goals as ITAM does, a CMDB focuses on service-oriented goals, or those that help IT staff understand asset configuration and interdependencies throughout the asset life cycle. A good way to think about the difference between ITAM and a CMDB is to consider an asset that could fall into both categories: a server.

On the ITAM side of things, IT would track when they procured this server, its value and deprecation over time, ongoing operating information (e.g., service agreements) and maintenance costs, and its disposal. IT would also track this server within a CMDB, but this would focus on service-oriented elements like its operation system (OS) and software, firmware versions, and security.

Configuration Database Management example

OpenText Universal Discovery and Universal CMDB is an IT configuration management system that automates the process of data collection for a CMDB. Universal Discovery and CMDB automatically collect hybrid IT asset data across multi-cloud, containers, and on-premises IT.

“We’ve been trying to get real-time information on our
clouds and the event- driven updates that OpenText
Universal Discovery can pull are really important.”
P. Clarke
Technology Data Optimization Team
Finance & Banking

With Universal Discovery and CMDB, you can easily create a single source of IT truth with minimal manual input. Overall, you can rely on this solution from OpenText to make creating a comprehensive CMBD less time-consuming and more accurate.


Streamline your CMDB creation with OpenText

Using a CMDB is critical to the growth of your IT infrastructure, but it can be challenging to assemble this framework with manual processes.

If you're looking for a way to improve your organization's IT management, consider using Universal Discovery. These products can save time and money while providing accurate information about your IT infrastructure.