Note

 

This documentation supports the 20.16.01 version of Remedyforce.

To view the latest documentation, select the latest version from the Product version menu.

Overview of the normalization process

Normalization enables system administrators to standardize data in BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0 and the models repository. This process is especially crucial when data is imported on an ongoing basis from external sources, such as spreadsheets, discovery tools, or other asset management and CMDB tools. For the same attribute, values imported from different sources could be in a different format. Reporting on such inconsistent data is often a challenge.

To resolve this issue, you can create and apply rules to normalize all such different values with a standardized value. For values that are not covered by your normalization rules, you can choose to generate and then manually manage these exceptions. Based on your requirements, you can also specify values that the normalization process must ignore.

The following topics are provided:

See this video (7:50) for an overview of normalization in BMC Remedyforce.

https://youtu.be/QP5D3zQYuvo

Normalization process terminology

The normalization process enables system administrators to standardize specific values that are stored in the Base Element and Model objects. The following table lists the terms that are used to describe the various aspects of the normalization process:

TermDescription
Normalized value

Specific values that you use to standardize attribute values in records.

For example, say you want to use BMC Software, and not BMC or BMC Software, Inc., as the manufacturer name in records. In this case, you define BMC Software as the normalized value.

Alias

Variations of a normalized value. These aliases are automatically replaced with the normalized value during the normalization process.

For example, BMC and BMC Software, Inc. can be defined as aliases of BMC Software. When the normalization rules are applied to records, BMC and BMC Software, Inc. are replaced with BMC Software.

Normalization rule

Set of criteria that defines the normalized value and aliases that must be mapped to this normalized value. Rules are created for a specific combination of object and field.

Each rule also contains a setting based on which the normalization process generates exceptions to normalization rules.

Normalization exception

Unique field values in configuration items (CIs) and assets that do not match any normalization rule defined for a specific combination of object and field.

Ignored valueSpecific value that you want the normalization process to ignore.
Ignored value ruleDefines the field value that the normalization process must ignore. An ignored value rule is created for a specific combination of object and field.
Scheduler exceptionError messages that are generated while processing the normalization rules.

Normalization process flow

The normalization process applies active normalization and ignored value rules to records in the Base Element and Model objects. System administrators can schedule the normalization process to run at regular time intervals.

During each scheduled run, the normalization process checks for active normalization rules and ignored value rules that were created or updated after the last scheduled run. For each combination of object and field, the normalization process initially applies all active ignored value rules to all records. If the field value in a record matches an active ignored value rule, the active normalization rules for this field are not applied to the record. If the field value in a record does not match any active ignored value rules, all active normalization rules for this field are applied to the record.

If no normalization rules were created or updated after the last scheduled run, the normalization process considers only those records that were created or updated after the last scheduled run. For each combination of object and field, the normalization process initially applies all active ignored value rules to the new or updated records. If the field value in a record matches an active ignored value rule, the active normalization rules for this field are not applied to the record. If the field value in a record does not match any active ignored value rules, all active normalization rules for this field are applied to the record.

Based on your configuration, the normalization process also generates exceptions for specific combinations of an object and field, such as Base Element and Manufacturer.

Note

For the combination of the Base Element object and Model field, if the field value in a record matches an active normalization rule, the normalization process performs an additional check. The normalization process updates the field value only if the CMDB class of the record matches, or is below in the hierarchy of, the CMDB class of the model that is selected as the normalized value.

The following figure outlines the end-to-end process for normalizing records in the the Base Element and Model objects.

Recommended steps for normalizing data

The following figure provides a high-level overview of the steps for normalizing data:

BMC recommends that you perform the following steps, in the order shown, to achieve the maximum benefit of using normalization to drive data consistency in BMC Remedyforce CMDB 2.0 and the models repository:

  1. If you want to normalize model names in the Model object, build your model repository. For more information, see Managing models.
  2. Identify fields in the Base Element and Model objects whose data you want to normalize.
    Normalization is supported only on non-unique fields of the Text, Text Area, and Numeric data type. The Model Name field of the Model object is the only unique field on which you can create normalization rules.
  3. Create normalization rules on the fields that you identified in step 2. For more information, see Managing normalization rules.
    You can create multiple rules for the same combination of object and field. However, BMC recommends that the normalized value that you specify in each rule not be defined as an alias in other rules. Similarly, ensure that the aliases you specify are not defined as normalized values in rules.

    Note

    When you create a new rule, it is not activated by default. After you have defined all the required aliases and are ready to use the rule for normalizing records, you can activate the rule.

  4. Determine the specific combinations of object and field for which you want to generate exceptions to active normalization rules.
    Select the Generate exceptions to rules for selected object and field check box for these combinations.
  5. (Optional) Create ignored value rules on the fields that you identified in step 2.
    To ignore a field value during the normalization process, you can create an ignored value rule. When you create a new ignore value rule, it is not activated by default. To ignore the specified value during the normalization process, you must activate the rule.
  6. Start the normalization process and configure the time interval at which normalization rules should be processed. For more information, see Scheduling and running the normalization process.
    By default, the time interval is 30 minutes. If you are processing a large amount of data, BMC recommends that you increase the time interval.
  7. Review the list of exceptions to normalization rules.
    For each specific combination of object and field, you can view a consolidated list of pending records. For each exception that is pending approval, perform one of the following actions:

    ActionDetails
    Approve the selected values by creating new rules for each value.

    Going forward, when these values are found in records, they are normalized based on the new rules you create. These values are no longer added to the Pending list.

    Approve the selected values by mapping them as aliases of an existing rule.

    Going forward, when these values are found in records, they are normalized based on the existing rule to which you have mapped them. These values are no longer added to the Pending list.

    Ignore the selected values by creating new ignored value rules for each value.

    Going forward, the normalization process ignores these values and they are no longer added to the Pending list.
    Delete the selected values temporarily.

    Going forward, if these values are found in records, they are once again added to the Pending list.

    Create a model record from an exception.

    Note: This option is available only for the combination of the Base Element object and Model field (date type: Text).

    Going forward, if this value is found in records, it is once again added to the Pending list.

    Based on your requirements, you can perform one of the following actions the next time this value is added to the Pending list:

    • If this value is unlikely to be found again in other records, delete the value.
    • If this value is likely to be found frequently in other records, ignore the value by creating a new ignored value rule.

    If you choose not to approve any exceptions, they remain in the list of pending records. For more information, see Managing exceptions to normalization rules.

Best practice

If you have normalized model names in the Model object, BMC recommends that you inactivate the model records that are now aliases of other model records. For example, if you have normalized the LaptopModel-2001 and LaptopModel-2002 models with the LaptopModel-2000 Series model, you should inactivate the LaptopModel-2001 and LaptopModel-2002 models. This action ensures that users can now apply only the LaptopModel-2000 Series model to CIs and assets.

The Normalized With Model column in the Model list view enables you to easily identify the models that have been normalized as aliases of other models. For more information, see Managing models.

Scenario: how the normalization process works

Consider that you are importing CIs from multiple external sources, resulting in variations of the same manufacturer name in the CIs. To standardize the manufacturer name, you can create and activate a normalization rule, which is then considered in the next run of the normalization process. Based on your requirements, you can also configure the generation of exceptions to the rule that you have defined.

Normalization rule criteria:

  • Object Name: Base Element
  • Field Name: Manufacturer
  • Normalized Value: BMC Software
  • Mapped Aliases:
    • Field Value LIKE BMC
    • Field Value = BMC Software, Inc.

Note

The Generate exceptions to rules for selected object and field check box is selected for the combination of the Base Element object and Manufacturer field.

Existing records in the Base Element object:

  • Instance-1 with the Manufacturer value as BMC
  • Instance-2 with the Manufacturer value as BMC Software, Inc.
  • Instance-3 with the Manufacturer value as BMC Inc.

Normalization process results:

During the next scheduled run of the normalization process, the following actions are performed:

  • Instance-1 and Instance-2 records are normalized, which means that the Manufacturer values in these records is replaced with BMC Software.
  • Instance-3 record does not meet the rule criteria and is listed as a pending record in the Normalization Exceptions list.

Normalization exception management:

From the Normalization Exceptions list, you can select the pending records list for the Base Element object and Manufacturer field. From the list of pending records, you can select the BMC Inc. record and approve it by mapping the record to the above rule. The BMC Inc. record is added as an alias of this rule.

During the next scheduled run of the normalization process, the Instance-3 record is also normalized, which means that the Manufacturer values in these records is replaced with BMC Software.

Was this page helpful? Yes No Submitting... Thank you

Comments