Configurable Item Granularity

I recently read a posting entitled A first look at HP ServiceDesk. I’m going to have to read the referenced thesis – The Convergence of Metadata and IT Service Management. I don’t have enough context to comment but I’m not really seeing the point.

I didn’t realize until I had started in on this that this post was from 2003. I’m sure everyone’s moved on at this point – soooo, never mind.

My company uses OVSD. We stumbled early on with CIs because we tried to be too granular. It is the hardest one of the hardest things with which we dealt. That being said, our challenge was around whether it made sense to consider a subsystem a CI. We dove too deep and ended up having to withdraw to a higher level. This is one of those traps that’s easier to see after you’ve fallen in.

For us, several factors influenced us to raise the level of detail:

  1. The level of detail required for service calls and incidents.
  2. The level of detail required for development purposes.

OVSD is a service management tool – not a configuration management tool. The low level of detail should be reserved for development methodology oriented tools. If you’re building software and you need to keep versions of objects, the little pieces matter. If you’re trouble shooting a problem, if you can see the change orders associated with a CI and you understand the symptoms within that context – you’re almost all the way there. Most support professionals don’t need more to resolve issues.

I’ll read the thesis, but from my perspective the point is to strike a balance between the different service offerings. Technical professionals do not use OVSD to determine if an index should be added. The support staff responsible for an application should know the volume and performance characteristics of a table based on the DBMS reporting tools. OVSD is a general tool which binds together others (the one ring) – it does not displace them.

The post ends with the following questions. I have added my answers besides each:

  1. Is a database a configuration item? Yes.
  2. Is a database table a configuration item? No. Unless you have a huge table used for some hugely critical purpose it doesn’t make sense to go to this level of detail.
  3. Is a database column a configuration item? Well – I guess the answer above takes all the mystery out of this answer – no.
  4. Is a database index a configuration item? Ditto – no way.
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