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Determining whether to store assets, CIs, or both in BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0

This topic explains some basic terms and helps you to determine whether to store and manage only assets, only CIs, or both in BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0.

Configuration management is a service management process to manage configuration items (CIs), including their lifecycle and relationship to other CIs in the configuration management database (CMDB), to maintain a high level of service. This process is part of an overall service asset and configuration management process.

IT Infrastructure Library V3 (ITIL V3) definition: The Process responsible for maintaining information about Configuration Items required to deliver an IT Service, including their Relationships. This information is managed throughout the Lifecycle of the CI. Configuration Management is part of an overall Service Asset and Configuration Management Process.

Asset management is a process to manage assets, their lifecycle, costs, and terms to optimize or minimize costs while mitigating risk.

Gartner’s definition: IT Asset Management (ITAM) entails collecting inventory, financial and contractual data to manage the IT asset throughout its life cycle. ITAM depends on robust processes, with tools to automate manual processes. Capturing and integrating autodiscovery/inventory, financial and contractual data in a central repository for all IT assets enables the functions to effectively manage vendors and a software and hardware asset portfolio from requisition through retirement, thus monitoring the asset’s performance throughout its life cycle. (Source: Gartner IT Glossary, 2015)

A configuration item (CI) is an object stored within the CMDB that is under some level of management or change control. The primary goal is to track or manage a CI's relation with and impact on a business service. You can create a CI simply based on what is discovered by your discovery tool. Alternatively, you can focus on value, change control, and process to identify and manage CIs.

CIs can vary widely in complexity, size, and type. You must select CIs in accordance with established selection criteria and categorize them in such a way that they are manageable and traceable throughout the service lifecycle. CI types are likely to include service lifecycle CIs, service CIs, organization CIs, internal CIs, external CIs, and interface CIs.

ITIL V3 definition: Any Component that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT Service. Information about each CI is recorded in a Configuration Record within the Configuration Management System and is maintained throughout its Lifecycle by Configuration Management. CIs are under the control of Change Management. They typically include IT Services, hardware, software, buildings, people, and formal documentation such as Process Documentation and SLAs.

An asset typically represents an object or item that your organization is tracking for managing cost and mitigating risk. In some cases, your source might be from procurement, advanced ship notices (ASNs), which are sources that identify ownership. Alternatively, you might lean on discovery sources to initially identify your assets and later develop more mature processes and policies to gain better control over your assets, shifting from reactive to proactive management.

ITIL V3 definition: Any Resource or Capability. Assets of a Service Provider include anything that could contribute to the delivery of a Service. Assets can be one of the following types: Management, Organization, Process, Knowledge, People, Information, Applications, Infrastructure, or Financial Capital.

CI is a term that is used within the service management and configuration management disciplines. A CI because of relationships forms a service that delivers a value to a service consumer.

The following table provides a high-level comparison of assets and CIs:

AssetComparison criteriaConfiguration Item (CI)
IT CorporateResourceRelevant to Business Service
Lifecycle, cost, and risk avoidanceFocusOperations, availability, and service
Wide (Request to Disposal)LifecycleNarrow (IMAC - Installs, Moves, Adds, Changes)
Not as wide, deep (multiple sources)Depth/BreadthWide, not as deep (federation)
The BusinessSingle Source of Truth ForOperations
CFO, CTO, or CIOExecutiveCOO or CTO
Asset ManagerPrimary UserTechnician or Analyst

The following features are available only when you enable Asset Management:

  • Tracking asset lifecycle: The Asset Status  attribute is available only for assets and enables you to track the complete lifecycle of an asset. The asset lifecycle typically starts with the request order or receipt and continues all the way through until retirement or disposal.
    The Asset Status attribute is not available for CIs because the lifecycle of a CI is a subset of the asset lifecycle, which focuses on the install, move, add, and change stages.
  • Tracking asset age: The Asset Birthdate  and   Asset Age attributes are available only for assets. The asset age is automatically calculated based on the asset birthdate.
    The Asset Birthdate attribute is not available for CIs because the birthdate of an asset is not relevant from configuration management perspective.
  • Simplified classification: New classes of the Asset and Rule Based Asset types are available out of the box in the BMC Remedyforce CMDB Common Data Model to store asset-related data. A Rule Based Asset class enables a CI to be also classified as an asset that inherits the attributes of the CI class that it is based on.
  • CMDB Views: On the Remedyforce CMDB tab, users can view, create, update, and delete instances of the out-of-the-box and custom asset classes based on their access level. System administrators can use the CI Management View and Asset Management View fields in the User and Client forms to control this access.
  • Asset Management dashboard: This dashboard enables users to view key metrics related to asset management. For more information, see Viewing the asset management dashboard and reports.

Yes, there can be commonality between CIs and assets. They share core information (such as, name, model, location, and owner), but some of the extended data for a CI might not be critical or relevant to an asset, and vice versa. BMC Remedyforce CMDB supports both the overlap and separation of assets and CIs, depending on your definitions, and eliminates data duplication and synchronization issues. As a result, you have full control over the CI and asset views along with which users have access to these views. You can also choose to manage only CIs or only assets.

You can define and track both CIs and assets in BMC Remedyforce CMDB. The following table lists the primary benefits of this consolidated and flexible design:

Elimination of data duplication and synchronizationBecause of dynamic data views that enable you to classify records as CIs, assets, or both, data duplication and synchronization is not required.
Automation with dynamic classification

The design of BMC Remedyforce CMDB leverages existing CI data by providing Rule Based Asset classes to dynamically classify record types.

For example, the BMC_ComputerSystem CI class typically captures a range of CI types including desktops, laptops, and servers. The Primary Capability attribute in this class differentiates between these types of CIs. In most cases, these CIs are also assets. The dynamic classification feature enables you to dynamically classify CMDB records. In this scenario, BMC_Laptop, an out-of-the-box Rule Based Asset class, is matched to records in which Class Name = BMC_ComputerSystem and Primary Capability = Laptop. The result is that a user who views the records of the BMC_Laptop class sees the same core records without duplication.

Simplification with dynamic views

The flexible and dynamic classification of records makes it easy for you to not only define record types (CI, Asset, or both), but also what a user can see. You might want some users to see all records (for example, staff members or agents), while you might want other users (for example, asset manager) to see only asset records.

Maturity level alignmentThe design of BMC Remedyforce CMDB supports your Service Management maturity path. Ideally, as you mature, you refine your definitions. You have the option to differentiate between CIs and assets.
No impact to integrationsWith the dynamic asset classifications, you do not have to modify your existing integrations with other systems that are populating BMC Remedyforce CMDB (for example, BMC Client Management, BMC Discovery (before version 11.0, BMC Discovery was known as BMC Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping), and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager). Records are still imported to BMC Remedyforce as CIs, but the dynamic asset classification can handle the asset classification and views. You can control the UI and user access to determine what views are shown (CI, Asset, or both) and which users have access to those views.

The following table describes common scenarios to help you to decide whether to manage only assets, only CIs, or both in BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0:


Everything as a CI

Service only focused, lower service management maturity

  • You most likely track all records as CIs.
  • You are mainly focused on the service risk, not the ownership and financial risk.
  • Tracking the full lifecycle (for example, ordered, received, disposed, and retired) and asset age is not a priority.
  • You either do not have a team or do not work with a team that is focused on the financial or business side of your assets.

Disable Asset Management for consideration at a later time.

Note: Configuration Management is enabled by default for existing and new customers. However, Asset Management is only enabled by default for new customers.

Everything as an asset

Asset focused, lower service management maturity

  • You are not focused on ITIL and are primarily focused on gaining basic control over the assets in your environment. However, you might have future plans to better align with ITIL and the associated processes.
  • You most likely are tracking assets in a spreadsheet, Mimcrosoft Access database, or a custom system).
  • You are focused on the ownership and financial aspects of these records and not the services.
  • You want a simplified classification, along with the option to track the lifecycle, financial (warranty), assignment, and asset age.
Enable Asset Management and disable Configuration Management for consideration at a later time.

Manage CIs and assets

Both service and asset focused, higher service management maturity

You have the need to track both CIs and assets because of different groups (for example, Service Desk and Asset Management teams) wanting different sets of information for some overlapping records (for example, servers) or because you have a more mature definition of CIs and assets.

In this scenario, you can enable both Configuration Management and Asset Management, leveraging Rule Based Asset classes to share overlapping data (for example, instance name, serial number, location, and primary client). You can also define classes that might be unique to either CIs (for example, documents) or assets (for example, mobile phones). By enabling both options, you can control which users can see CI, asset, or both records.

Enable both Asset Management and Configuration Management.

Related topics

BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0 architecture

Configuring BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0

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