This documentation supports the 21.3 version of BMC Helix CMDB.

To view an earlier version, select the version from the Product version menu.

Searching and viewing CIs and relationships in CMDB Explorer

As a CMDB user, you might want to view the CIs, their relationships and their dependencies in different scenarios such as while planning a change or adding new set of CIs. The CMDB Explorer enables you to make the changes and view their effects in your environment. You can select CIs from the search results, or from any screen on CMDB Portal where CI information is available and open the CI in CMDB Explorer. The video in this topic gives you an overview of how you can use CMDB Explorer to visualize your data.

Before you begin

  • You must be logged in to the CMDB Portal as described in  Accessing and navigating the CMDB Portal


    When you log in to CMDB Portal for the first time, there may be small delay in loading the dashboard query bar. There is no delay when you access the CMDB Portal later on.

  • You must also have a good working knowledge of datasets and CI names to be able to search them. 
  • An administrator must perform the steps described in Configure the server to allow the editing of a CI.

Best practice

For better performance on any browser:

  • Open CIs by using Show in Explorer.
  • Expand a CI one level at a time to avoid slowing down the browser.

The following video (02:17) gives you a quick overview about viewing CIs and relationships by using the CMDB Explorer:

To search and view a CI in CMDB Explorer

Sometimes, you may want to view just one particular CI of interest. In that case, search and view the CI as follows:

  1. Use the Search CI widget to search for the CI that you want to view in CMDB Explorer.

  2. On the search results page, select the check box next to the CI of interest and click Show in Explorer.

    The CI opens in Explorer in view-only mode. The following image shows two levels of relationships:

  3. To view the parent and children relationships of a CI, right-click the CI, select Expand, and select one of the following options:

    • Expand Parent
    • Expand Children
    • Expand Both

To view the CI and relationship details

View the CI or relationship details and compare the changes made in the sandbox dataset with the current details in the production dataset.

The following video (02:18) shows how to view the relationship details in CMDB Explorer:

  1. Right-click a CI or a relationship.
  2. Select one of the following options:
    1. To view CI details: Show CI Details.
    2. To view Relationship details: Show Relationship Details.

To compare the changes made to the CIs or relationships with the details in the production dataset, switch to edit mode and perform steps 1 and 2.  

The following image shows the CI or relationship details with sample data:


Sometimes, when you click Show CI Details in CMDB Explorer, values displayed for special attributes such as currency, attachments, and diary might be incorrect.

To export the CI search results 

  1. Click Export as CSV
  2. Select one of the following options:
    • Export to CSV > Export page: To export only the results that are displayed on the page that you are viewing.
    • Export to CSV > Export multiple pages: To export specific result pages. You can specify the pages by the page number or by defining a range of pages.
  3. On the pop-up, enter the page numbers of the results that you want to export.
  4. Click Export.

The following video (02:24) gives you an overview about customizing the CI view in CMDB Explorer:

To configure the CMDB Explorer view

  1. On the dashboard, select Configurations > Core Configurations > CMDB UI Preferences.
  2. Set values for the parameters to customize the view of CIs and relationships in the CMDB Explorer:

    ParameterDescriptionDefault value
    Graph Levels

    Specify the depth of the CI hierarchy to be displayed in the CMDB Explorer.

    Graph Limit Warning Threshold

    Specify the number at which you want to be alerted about the volume of CIs that will be displayed in the CMDB Explorer.

    Graph Limit

    Specify the maximum limit for the number of CIs to be displayed in the CMDB Explorer.


    An "i" icon  that is available next to a parameter name, contains a tool-tip about the parameter usage. This tool-tip provides you more details about the parameter before setting its value.


To view the changes after you change the default configurations, refresh the browser or open the tab in a private browsing session.

To locate a CI in the CMDB Explorer view

When there are a large number of CIs in the CMDB Explorer view, it is difficult to locate a single CI. Use the Locate CIs field to locate a CI in the Explorer view.

  1. In the CMDB Explorer view > Locate CIs, enter the name of the CI that you want to locate.
    Start entering the name of the CIs. The list of CIs that match the text entered by you is displayed.
  2. Select the CI from the list.
    The selected CI will be highlighted in the Explorer view. If there are multiple CIs with the same name, all the CIs with the same name are highlighted.

To find CIs by using a graph query

You can create your own queries to search for CIs by specifying criteria, save the queries and reuse them. 

  1. On CMDB Portal, expand the query list and select the search query.
  2. Select the dataset for which you want to perform the search.
  3. Click Validate and search.
    The CIs that match the search criteria are displayed in the search results.


  • You can view all the CIs, that are displayed in multiple search result pages, in CMDB Explorer. To view the CIs in CMDB Explorer, go to each page in the search results, select the CIs on that page, and click Show in Explorer.
  • If you have migrated any data from one server to another, and you have saved any search queries in one server, you might get an error when you run those search queries from a different server. In such cases, you must create those queries again in the new server.
See, Graphical query builder overview.

To simplify the view with groups

To simplify your view, the CMDB Explorer automatically groups some CIs into default groups. A default group is created when there are at least four CIs of the same class immediately under a common parent CI.

To expand a default group, click the plus sign next to the group or right-click the group and select Show Item.

To collapse a default group, right-click the parent CI and select Group Children.

To simplify your view with groups

To simplify your view, group the CIs into custom groups by performing the following steps:

  1. Click Drag Mode   to switch to Select Mode.
  2. Use Select Mode to select CIs that you want to include in the custom group. 
  3. In the select mode, hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse pointer to encircle multiple CIs that you want to group.

When selecting multiple CIs for a custom group, be aware of the following points:

    • You can select CIs that belong to different parent CIs in the hierarchy.

    • You cannot select default groups. The default groups remain unselected.

To simplify your view by using the collapse option

When you open a CI that has a large number of parent and children relationships, use the Collapse option to reduce the number of CIs that are displayed. 

  1. Right-click the CI that you want to view.
  2. Select Collapse.
  3. Select from the following options:
    Collapse Parents: All the parent CIs and their relationships are hidden.
    Collapse Children: All the child CIs and their relationships are hidden.

To change your view by using the layout option

  1. Click Layout.
  2. In the Layout option, use the toggle key to switch between the Linear view and Curve view.

    Linear view

    Curve view

  3. Select the orientation in which you want to view the CIs and relationships.

To simplify your view with filters

To simplify your view, you can use filters to hide various CIs and relationships by performing the following steps: 

  1. Click Filter.
  2. From the list of CIs and relationships currently displayed in the Explorer, select or clear check boxes.
  3.  To create filters that include relationships and classes that are not available, click the filter list icon  and select from the list.
  4. (Optional) Save the custom filter for later use.

To simplify your view by removing CIs

If you want to work with only certain CIs in the CMDB Explorer, you can remove the unwanted CIs from the Explorer view. The CIs are removed only from the Explorer view and not from the dataset.

  1. Click Drag Mode   to switch to Select Mode .
  2. In the display area, hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse pointer to encircle single or multiple CIs that you want to remove.


    To remove a group node from the view, click the plus sign next to the node or right-click the node and select Remove CIs.

  3. Click Remove CIs.

To open CIs from the CMDB Explorer in any other applications

To view additional information of a CI that originated from Discovery, you can open a CI from the CMDB Explorer and view its properties in BMC Discovery. You can also open the CI information in a product catalog AR form, or in a service context dialog. 

  1. Search for the CI and open it in the CMDB Explorer.
  2. Right-click the CI and select the application in which you want to view the CI.
  3. The CI details open in the appropriate interface.


If you run into issues while working with CIs in CMDB Explorer, see Troubleshooting CMDB Explorer related issues.

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