The CMDB–The Heart of the Cloud

imageIn this short article, Jamal Malik, one of our business solutions architects discusses why he considers the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to be the “heart” of the cloud.

Enjoy! –Tom.


imageA few months back I wrote a thread around how the “Portal is the Gateway to the Cloud”,

Behind the scenes of the Portal (the Change Management Database) is really what I feel is the “Heart of a Cloud”.

Why you may ask?

Well, for starters in order to automate or orchestrate any process we have to consider change management (more specifically Standard Change Requests).

Standard Change Requests (SCR’s) are requests for changes in an environment with known outcomes. The opposite of this would be a non-Standard Change Request. Non-Standard Change Requests are much more difficult to Automate and Orchestrate because either the ask is too specific or too ambiguous and it typically requires human involvement to resolve or fulfill.

So, back to SCR’s. Because SCR’s have a known outcome, we can also build known by-products of a SCR (Virtual Machine, Mailbox, SharePoint site, etc.). The most important part of SCR’s is that they typically do not require human involvement and that is why they can be Automated/Orchestrated.

Another layer of functionality that CMDB’s provide is their ability to store relationship information between Tenants and Configuration Items (CI’s). Tenants represent a user or groups of users that have access to specific CI’s. CI’s can represent anything (Networks, Resource Pools, vLANS or Virtual Machines). Essentially anything that Tenants interact with in a computing environment. CMDB’s also store data like Quota assignment and consumption (this tenant has been assigned x Quota and is current consuming y amount of resources – enabling Chargeback).

A properly Configured CMDB will make or break a Cloud environment. Now, you may not need a very sophisticated CMDB if all you are is providing a ‘basic’ Cloud for example however once you start delving into Multi-Tenancy, moving into Platform as a Service (managing workloads) and getting into more sophisticated chargeback methods, your CMDB becomes the linchpin of the solution.

If you are curious at all about why CMDB (along with Service Delivery\Management and Orchestration) are such huge parts of Cloud Solutions I would urge you to read the following body of work:

Private Cloud Reference Architecture

Specifically focusing on this:

Private Cloud Planning Guide for Operations

Would like to hear the community’s thoughts as well.

Have a great day everyone,

Jamal Malik
Business Solutions Architect
Datacenter/Private Cloud Center of Excellence

Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts about this. Do you consider the CMDB to be the heart of the cloud? If not, what do you think of the heart of the cloud actually is? Let’s start the discussion!

Tom Shinder
Principal Knowledge Engineer, SCD iX Solutions Group
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