The whole notion of a

CMDB, and in particular

a CMS, is revolutionary

exactly because it

deconstructs traditional

management product

assumptions and allows

for the reconciliation and

effective usage of many

different sources of service

management information.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Executive Introduction

This EMA Radar introduces a new way of looking at value in

Configuration Management Database and Configuration Management

System (CMDB/CMS) technologies by focusing on these technologies

as enablers rather than as a purely separate market in themselves.

No one should invest in a CMDB, or begin a CMS, just to have one.

Indeed, the whole notion of a CMDB, and in particular a CMS, is

revolutionary exactly because it deconstructs traditional management

product assumptions and allows for the reconciliation and effective

usage of many different sources of service management information to

support virtually all IT processes. Through its normalized data sets and

potentially federated, reconciled resources, it provides IT with a truly

cohesive foundation for decision-making and automation in everything

from performance diagnostics, to optimizing infrastructure, to managing

change, to portfolio governance in terms of value and cost.

The EMA Radar for CMDB/CMS Use Cases targets three critical use

cases typical of most CMDB or CMS deployments. These are:

Asset management and financial optimization

Change management and change impact analysis

Service impact management

These are admittedly broad use cases in themselves. For instance, asset management may range from

desktop-centric solutions to those more optimized for the full infrastructure and application portfolio.

The vendors here similarly span a range symptomatic of that type of diversity, including differing price

points and differing target markets from small businesses, to large enterprises, to service providers

of various sizes and form factors.

This EMA Radar is specifically intended to provide a useful set of insights into the design points in

eleven leading CMDB/CMS solutions. And while there will be some sorting based on Value Leader,

Strong Value and Specific Value for each use case, IT and service provider buyers will be well advised to

first define their objectives and then seek out the solution that fits them best regardless of apparent

“rank” or “award.” With this in mind, EMA has provided a detailed list of evaluation criteria that can

be used as a shorthand RFP to map against the vendor profiles contained in the full report. Similarly,

the report summary makes every effort to offer high-level insights into design and function for each

vendor so that it, too, can be used as a starting point for planning a CMDB/CMS investment.

Why No Platform Vendors?

Aside from “why the use-case focus? the other most obvious questions is, “where are the platforms? As will

become quickly apparent, BMC, CA Technologies, HP and IBM are not included in this EMA Radar.

They will be the center of attention in a follow-on Radar that will be available in Q4 of 2011. The reason

for this has to do with the design point of the EMA Radars themselves, which revolve around two axes:

Cost/Ease of Administration versus Architecture and Functionality. When platforms are superimposed on

more focused, less expensive solutions each cluster can potentially both distort and crowd the other.

In contrast, the two EMA Radars can be viewed as complementary. Those few vendors in this report


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

with platform-like breadth of functionality will also be eligible to participate in the Q4 report as points

of comparison. And in fact most of the vendors in this report have been able to compete successfully

against platform solutions when customer priorities align with their design points.

The CMDB/CMS Market in Transition

EMA has overall been delighted to see the level of innovation and

parallel with a more service-centric and dynamic approach to asset management. But this same research

also shows the need for more flexibility and dynamic currency across a CMDB or CMS, with faster

times to deployment and more resilience in the face of change.

The eleven vendors here collectively provide a very encouraging indication that CMDB-related

technology can and will keep pace with these significant and largely unprecedented demands.


EMA interviewed eleven vendors for this Radar Report. They were:


ASG Software

Axios Systems


iET Solutions

Interlink Software


N(i)2 Network Infrastructure Inventory

Numara Software


SunView Software

Each vendor completed a comprehensive questionnaire consisting of nearly 100 questions and over

500 data points. The survey questions covered the five key functions common to all EMA Radar

Reports, which include Architecture, Functionality, Deployment & Administration, Vendor Strength, and Cost


EMA also solicited lengthy interviews and demos with each vendor to clarify product capabilities and

vendor direction. Finally, EMA conducted more than twenty interviews with customers using the

products. While all vendors provided some level of access to their customers (access ranged from

one to three customers), availability of reference customers was viewed favorably in assessing and

validating vendor portfolios.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA has overall been

delighted to see the

level of innovation and

diversity present in the

eleven solutions here.

diversity present in the eleven solutions here. This was also reflected

in the many deployments that EMA researched as touchstones for

this report. Clearly, CMDB/CMS capabilities are at a turning point

in the industry with the influx of more dynamic demands, such as

Cloud technologies, Web-2.0 ecosystems and Web Services. EMA

research shows that the value of effective CMDB/CMS deployments

significantly increases, for instance, with the advent of Cloud, or in

What is a CMDB/CMS?

Since EMA began tracking CMDB deployments in 2004 2005, it

became clear that interest in a Configuration Management Database

(CMDB) back then was driven by multiple factors which EMA

called the CMDB’s two parents. This dual parentage continues to this

day, and remains a source of much confusion in the industry.

The first parent is of course the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL),

which first coined the term and defined CMDB requirements very

strictly in terms of roles and process objectives within IT. It remained

cautiously behind the scenes, by contrast, when it came to architecture.

The following definitions are taken from ITIL v3s Service Transition.

Since EMA began tracking

CMDB deployments in

2004 – 2005, it became

clear that interest in a

Configuration Management

Database (CMDB) back

then was driven by multiple

factors – which EMA called

the CMDBs two parents.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Once the entire process was complete, an EMA executive review board analyzed the results to arrive

at final scoring. Every effort has been made to ensure that vendor positioning is represented honestly

and clearly, and that the final report provides a balanced and fair set of insights regarding each vendors

strengths and limitations.

EMA has produced a report targeted at presenting and explaining Radar Reports in general,

entitled How to Use the EMA Radar Report, which is available free of charge on the EMA site, www. EMA encourages readers of this paper to begin by reading that document.

The goals of the Radar process are to use a combined approach to qualitatively and quantitatively

evaluate providers of solutions in a particular IT management functional area, and to present their

similarities and differences in a clear, graphical format. Also included in the paper is a detailed discussion

of the criteria used and how each product is rated versus those criteria.

Configuration Management Database (CMDB) A database used to store Configuration Records

throughout their Lifecycle. The Configuration Management System maintains one or more

CMDBs; and each CMDB stores Attributes of CIs (Configuration Items) and Relationships with

other CIs.

Configuration Management System (CMS) A set of tools and databases that are used to manage an

IT Service Provider’s Configuration data. The CMS also includes information about Incidents,

Problems, Known Errors, Changes and Releases; and may contain data about employees, Suppliers,

locations, Business Units, Customers and Users. The CMS includes tools for collecting, storing,

managing, updating, and presenting data about all Configuration Items and their Relationships.

The CMS is maintained by Configuration Management and is used by all IT Service Management


Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) – A set of tools and databases that are used to manage

knowledge and information. The SKMS includes the Configuration Management System, as well

as other tools and databases. The SKMS stores, manages, updates, and presents all information

that an IT Service Provider needs to manage the full Lifecycle of IT Services.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

manner that supports superior levels of analytics, decision-making and

automation. At core, it depends on discovery and modeling technologies to capture interdependencies

that are adaptable, flexible and ideally versatile enough to answer requirements for real-time or run-time

awareness. It also depends on increasingly dynamic and effective ways for assimilating information

from a wide range of other management tools deconstructing the siloed manner of management

tool design in the past to support cross-domain requirements to analyze and optimize information.

This requirement or at least this dream has been around for a long time. However, we are really just

witnessing the success of first-phase CMDB designs with sufficient technical versatility and adaptability

to support meaningful expressions of “truth” without requiring extravagant administrative overhead.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Figure 1: The primary goal of ITIL v3s SKMS is to improve efficiencies by minimizing the need to rediscover knowledge. This is

of course a key foundation and driver for CMDB/CMS initiatives, which are fundamental to the success of the SKMS. This graphic

shows an advanced logical model in which a central CMDB is federated with multiple “citizen CMDBs” optimized in content and

granularity for separate stakeholder groups, but enjoying a cohesive and reconciled view of services and their interdependencies.

As is evident from the title, I have chosen to combine the notion of

a CMDB/CMS in this Radar Report, as the broader CMS concept

represents the future, while more traditionally packaged CMDBs

still largely define the present market even as they edge towards


The CMDBs Second Parent

The CMDBs second

parent is primarily

architectural, and in many

respects foreshadowed

in the evolution implied

The CMDB’s second parent is primarily architectural, and in many

from the CMDB to the

respects foreshadowed in the evolution implied from the CMDB

to the CMS to the SKMS. It is a driver associated with the need to

assimilate and reconcile different management investments in a

CMS to the SKMS.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

The notion that the CMDB is now entering a “mature” phase is therefore naïve, and in many respects

refuted by the high levels of innovation attested to in this report. It is probably more accurately in its

“toddler phase” regarding technology maturity… on the verge of just learning how to walk!

From an architectural perspective, the CMDB/CMS has become the holy grail suite of foundational

services for enabling cohesive, end-to-end service management. And it will continue to evolve

substantially as new and better technologies pose more effective ways of resolving this age-old problem.

Figure 2 provides an overview of how a CMDB/CMS can become a unified approach to integrating

and reconciling different management investments to support a more effective context for managing

services and their interdependencies with improved levels of analytics and automation. What EMA

once called a “real-time” CMDB in 2006 is emerging in 2011 as a “service modeling schema” that may

come in the form of a CMDB, or more often as a reconciled service management dashboard with fully

reconciled service models.

Figure 2: This graphic provides a logical representation of how a CMS – including a core process-centric CMDB and a fully

reconciled real-time system – is gradually emerging to provide a more cohesive and reconciled context for leveraging different

sources of information across the full service infrastructure. Not called out in this graphic, but equally fundamental to data and

management sources, are a growing number of automation technologies that symbiotically help support more effective CMDB/

CMS initiatives, while feeding from, and being more effectively driven by, the rich relationship modeling captured in the CMDB.

Areas of Evaluation: The CMDB/CMS RFP

Below is a summary of the set of questions used to evaluate the strengths and limitations to help

determine the core design point of each of the vendors in this EMA Radar. It can be extracted from

this report as a starting point for an RFP for CMDB/CMS deployments in use-case context. The

average environment we asked these vendors to measure themselves against was a high-end, mid-tier

enterprise, or around 5,000 CIs.

Those depending most heavily on feedback from users in deployment are asterisked.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Deployment and Administration

Can you describe your best case ROI (including size of environment)?

Do you offer a Proof of Concept? If so, how many days does it typically last?

What is your average time to deploy on a per use case basis (asset/ change/ service impact)?*

For this we asked the vendors to assume the customer was fully prepared to go forward from

a process and organizational perspective – which is not always the case in actual deployments.

What types of administrative overhead do you normally require for first-phase deployment? For

ongoing administration?*

What types of automation and administrative tools do you offer to support deployments,

maintenance and evolution of a CMDB/CMS system? These include, but are not limited to:

Ease of initial CMDB/CMS population

Flexibility and ease of setting policies for discovery and reconciliation

Ease of customizing and extending the reach of out-of-the-box models

Ease of maintaining, updating and validating modeled groups against discovered environments

Reports to support maintenance, scope, accuracy, and administration of the CMDB/CMS itself

Ease of entering “domain expertise” for CMDB updates

What professional resources do you provide in terms of both deployment and consulting directly

and through partners? How responsive are you to customer issues?* What types of customer

support groups, if any, do you offer?

Cost Advantage

What is your base price for 5,000 CIs and what is the cost of your HW/SW dependencies?

What does a real-world average deployment typically cost for your customer set?

What are the most prevalent factors impacting cost?*

Do you offer a SaaS solution?

What is the cost for maintenance?

What is the cost for core services?

What is the cost for consulting?

Architecture and Integration

• Scalability: What is the highest number of CIs you are architected to support? What is the largest

actual deployment? What is the largest number of users you can support? What examples do you


Range of discovery: Can you natively, or through third-party integrations, support discovery for

network (layer 2 and or 3), systems, applications, application components, third-party applications,

Web and Web 2.0, storage, database, desktops, mobile devices, and virtualized environments? Can

you discover configurations for the above?


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Application dependency: Do you support application dependency mapping, or dependency

mapping in general as either an automated and/or manual process? Does this include application-

to-application, infrastructure-to-infrastructure, application-to-infrastructure, and/or application-

to-application components? Do you do this directly and/or through third-party integration?

• Reconciliation and normalization: Can you reconcile, normalize and if appropriate synchronize

data from multiple (in-brand and third-party) sources? Can you support weightings for “trusted

sources” to prioritize one source over another for a certain CI? Do you provide effective workspaces

and analyses for your customers to support data reconciliation and normalization?*

Integration: What types of Management Data Repositories (MDRs) can you access both across

your portfolio and from third-party sources?

Types of sources MDRs, text records, Excel or other sources imported from your own portfolio

and third-party such as service catalogs, service desks, performance management tools, security

tools, asset management tools, and other configuration management tools? What standards are

you supporting to enable these integrations? How do you enable them otherwise (e.g., Web

Services, API, etc.?) What policies can you apply to federated sources for data access if any?

What dashboard integrations can you provide as an extension of your reconciled modeling?

How dynamically can you do this?*


Modeling and Metadata: How versatile and extensible is your modeling to support various CI

relationships, types, families, classes, attributes, states?*

Analytics: What types of analytics do you offer either directly through the CMDB, or indirectly

through your own portfolio or third-party integrations to support one or more of the three use

cases targeted here? This included if/then change analysis, correlation, data mining, trending

among other heuristics.

Automation: What types of automation can you leverage directly, with or without human

intervention, including automation from your own and third-party sources? This included but

wasn’t limited to workflow, change (release) management, diagnostics, audits, etc. If you can

trigger automation directly (without human intervention) how is this done (e.g., events, Web

Services, etc.)?

• Visualization: What visualization technologies do you support such as portals, scorecards, Web

access, widgets, etc.? What roles do you support inside and outside of IT?* Do you offer specific

reports for stakeholders, C.A.B., etc.? How effective is your visualization and reporting (as per

demos and user feedback)?*

Use-case Priorities

As each use case is a different bubble chart and varies in focus on design point in a number of areas,

EMA evaluated weightings for use cases in a number of different ways. One of these was targeted

discussions with both the vendors and their customers on their use-case priorities. In addition, EMA

looked at the following factors for the uses cases as indicated below.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Asset Lifecycle Management

What is your asset management support in terms of scope e.g., desktops, systems, network,

storage, broader infrastructure, applications?

What is the scope of asset management related disciplines that you can achieve through fully

supported integrations either within your own portfolio, or through third-party offerings? These

might include: asset/ inventory, software asset management (license management), financial

planning applications, service or application portfolio planning, vendor management, chargeback

and accounting.

What is the scope of analytics and automation you support for asset management through your

own portfolio or third-party integration?

What is the scope of asset-management-related roles you support directly through your own

visualization and reporting?

• What is the scope of professional services and consulting you provide relevant to asset management


Change Management and Change Impact Analysis

• What is the scope of your support for change management and change impact analysis capabilities

in terms of desktops, systems, network, storage, broader infrastructure including virtualized and

Cloud-related environments, applications, facilities, and/or other environments?

What are your strengths and limitations regarding “sorting out” views of CIs based on state?

How detailed and dynamic is your capacity to assess change impact for both planning purposes

(prior to a change) and validation and governance purposes (after a change is made)?

What capabilities do you have to integrate trending and capacity planning?

What is the scope of analytics and automation you support for change management and change

impact analysis through your own portfolio or third-party integration?

What is the scope of change management-related roles you support directly through your own

visualization and reporting?

What is the scope of professional services and consulting you provide relevant to change

management requirements?

Service Impact Management

What is your support for service impact management capabilities in terms of scope e.g.,

desktops, systems, network, storage, broader infrastructure including virtualized and Cloud-related

environments, applications, facilities, and/or other environments?

• How broadly and efficiently can you access application and infrastructure performance information

in order to leverage your CI- and service-related modeling for problem resolution and diagnostics?

Does this include support for service-level management and SLA planning?

• How do you support the balance required between operations and the service desk to do effective

service impact management?

How dynamically can you access relevant CI-related performance information as associated with

your service model?


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

How effectively do you leverage your configuration insights to optimize your support for service

impact management?

How effectively do you leverage application or other dependency mapping to optimize your

support for service impact management?

Can you integrate event management with your CMDB/CMS? If so, how?

What is the scope of analytics and automation you support for service impact management

through your own portfolio or third-party integration?

What is the scope of service impact management roles you support directly through your own

visualization and reporting?

What is the scope of professional services and consulting you provide relevant to service impact


Tradeoffs in Evaluation

Unfortunately, no amount of analysis can turn unique vendor/solution footprints into purely linear

apples-to-apples comparisons. So once again, we would like to stress the value of looking closely at

individual design points ahead of any apparent rankings.

However, to make leveraging this Radar Report easier, the following guidelines should prove useful.

Cost versus function: Needless to say, more often than not greater function comes at greater cost,

albeit this is far from universally true. For the purposes of this evaluation, function came first so

that, for instance, if a vendor had a strong application dependency mapping solution its price was

added into the core package for evaluation and this generally positioned the vendor more strongly.

On the other hand, if a vendor with more function and overall higher cost could match costs with

lower-end solutions on per-function/feature basis based on vendor and customer testimony, that

was seriously taken into account in price weightings.

Use-case shifts in the Cost Efficiency Axis: While some vendor positions remained relatively constant

across all three use-case scenarios, most did not which raises the question: why if vendor x is a

low-cost and easy to deploy, and vendor y pricey, doesn’t that remain constant in all situations? This would be

true if you viewed the CMDB/CMS investment in isolation. But this is a use-case driven Radar

and so EMA factored in administration, and associated costs in getting to the use-case end game

very strongly. For instance, some vendors came with design points that played well directly to

asset management and had tightly integrated or organic capabilities of their own along those lines.

Others were conversely more focused on change and/or capacity optimization and planning. And

those who led in service impact were all optimized to assimilate strong real-time operational insights

either through their own portfolio or others. This meant that the total cost of ownership was

drastically reduced for that use case over, say, asset management for those vendors.

SaaS versus on premise: EMA didn’t take sides here, but favored vendors that offered a range of

options. However, where SaaS could demonstrate faster deployment times and lower overall

administrative requirements as was often the case value was given for these specific advantages.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Integration: Since EMA views that assimilating data from multiple sources, including third-party

sources, is central to the CMDB/CMS investment, EMA looked very closely at how the various

vendors could reconcile information from multiple management, discovery and other informational

sources. However, whether those sources were internal to the vendors own portfolio, or third-party

sources, was not viewed as of high importance, with the exception that administration and cost

factors were strongly weighted. As a general guideline, any integration that required no more than

one consultant for one-to-two days for fully effective and satisfying assimilation into the CMDB/

CMS was considered robust enough to count. EMA depended strongly on customer deployments

to validate vendor integration claims.

Service Impact Management: We are singling out this use case for added explanation because of the

heavy operational weight EMA put on this category. This was done largely to emphasize the

unique design points of vendors optimizing CMDB/CMS modeling for service impact and active

service performance. This does not in any way exclude service desk-centric vendors, some of

which have made surprisingly impressive moves to assimilate real-time requirements for service

impact into their CMDB modeling and workflows.

Technology versus benefits: While EMA advocated a number of core design points as is evident from the

de facto RFP above, we were neutral in terms of how those benefits were achieved. For instance,

whether the CMDB itself was object-based or more mainstream relational was viewed as purely

informational, whereas weights were given for modeling extensibility, ease of administration, and

scalability and performance.

• Whos on first? As a matter of style, EMA generally singled out scores in terms of “top third” or “well

into the upper half ” when it came to positioning on individual KPIs versus being more specific.

While this rule wasn’t absolutely followed, especially when a “first place” score seemed especially

relevant, this was a deliberate style choice for two reasons. In most instances the differences

between individual adjacent KPI scores was so slight as to be more distracting than informative.

This was magnified by the fact that in this EMA Radar there are three bubble charts, not just one,

so that the numbers game could become an even greater distraction from understanding the real

details of design that were best clarified in qualitative prose rather than quantitative numbers.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Why Deployments Count

The vendors interviewed in this Radar Report made it clear that most of the delays in deployment

came from an IT organizations state of readiness rather than limits in their technologies. Although that

may sound self-serving, this was very consistent with EMAs consulting experience. The CMDB/CMS,

like other strategic initiatives that require significant cross-domain process changes, should actually

be viewed as political first and technological second albeit good technologies can go a long, long way

to facilitate changes in process, organization and ultimately even culture. Figure 3, taken from EMA

consulting data, reveals that of the top ten factors impacting CMDB/CMS deployment success, only

the bottom two are technological. The rest involve process definitions, leadership, and above all else,

sustained communication among executives and stakeholders.


Staff Buy-In


Staffing and Budget


Detailed Requirements


Executive Management Support


Follow Through




Managing Expectations


Resistance to Change



10. Auto Discovery

Figure 3: EMA consulting exposed the following rankings for what factors impact the success of CMDB/CMS initiatives.

Only the bottom two are specifically technological in nature. These factors are also impactful for other cross-domain

initiatives requiring new forms of collaboration, higher levels of automation, and new types of dialog across silos.

The good news is that EMA is witnessing, and has documented, a rise in cross-domain organizational

maturity within many IT organizations. In the research report, Operationalizing Cloud, EMA, January

2011, data showed that out of 150 respondents worldwide, 59% had some type of cross-domain service

management team. Cross-data analysis showed that those organizations with such a team outperformed

those without in virtually every measureable category including CMDB/CMS deployments, assimilating

Cloud services more effectively, and even getting increases in the IT budget!

Miscellaneous Quotes (Vendors and Customers)

The quotes below help to highlight some of the market insights gained or confirmed during this

research. They are marked Vendor” or “Customer” but are otherwise anonymous. They were chosen

both for their interest and because they tend to help capture meaningful trends.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011


A couple of customer opportunities presented themselves but the potential buyers said, “When

you send in the P.O., make sure it doesn’t have the letters CMDB anywhere. So we sometimes sell

CMDB solutions by avoiding the letters C-M-D-B in our proposal.” (Vendor)

“We actually started out targeting smaller businesses but now we’re scaling up to more enterprise

accounts we found that the level of SMB maturity versus the need for a product like this made

it a tough environment for CMDBs.” (Vendor)

“CMDB is a very good potential application for the Cloud especially for small IT organizations

when theyre first dipping their toes in the water and want the freedom to know they can reset the

deployment easily and quickly.” (Vendor)

“There is no perfect software, only perfect salesmen.” (Customer)


• “In the past we developed a very rich model, where the customer can model everything but then

we realized that a cluster is a cluster.” (Vendor)

“Our customers have made it abundantly clear that they view the CMDBf standard as too

complicated for ordinary mortals.” (Vendor)

“We want to minimize the human interaction to get the CMDB up to date. The more manual the

effort, the lower the accuracy of the CMDB.” (Customer)

• “In order to manage vMotion we needed a solution that was dynamically current and automatic in

modeling infrastructure and application interdependencies.” (Customer)

• “Its really critical to have a dependency map to understand how the components in the infrastructure

relate in order to make the service work, and doing this automatically, so that it’s current. This is

critical for our service uptime and availability concerns.” (Customer)

• “We looked at about 20 different CMDB solution packages – and the killer criterion seemed to be

dynamic application dependency mapping. A lot of solutions fell off the table because of that.”


“Every node has its own associative relationships – people, department, etc.” (Customer)

“We weren’t going to win the political battle to get people to give up their tools for just one

centralized solution. So we needed a CMDB that facilitated and reconciled data from many

different sources, many different brands.” (Customer)

“A number of our customers have gone down the platform path and after many months and lots

of cash get only about 60% of the distance to seeing value. Then we come in and help them get

started quickly.” (Vendor)


“Our customers are pretty much all over the map when it comes to how ready they are, and what

they want to do with a CMDB.” (Vendor)

There is a rather large readiness barrier that must be overcome before an account can even start

realizing ROI. I am sure that some of our accounts never achieve it at all, and probably few find

real CMDB nirvana because they are so ingrained in their old ways and habits.” (Vendor)


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

“A lot of the processes behind ITIL required a tremendous amount of documentation and role

definition sometimes four or five different roles where in our organization wed have to collapse

it into one. We didnt want to have to go through all that process documentation.” (Customer)

“We weren’t prepared for the political discussions going into this. Our provider was very patient

in accepting the compromises and delays we had to go through in working with other teams in

house.” (Customer)

“A large part of what we do is get people to work with changes people are always resistant to

change, we always get resistance.” (Customer)

“Originally there was resistance. But two years later there are no complaints.” (Customer)

“Our Architecture team has grown by leaps and bounds. They generally appoint architects to

different technology silos, but I get roped into dialog and planning across silos and report into the

service manager.” (Customer)

The majority of the interaction is with process owners. I own the software platforms and I’m

owner of change and request management. But I get the majority of my requirements from my

process owner peers.” (Customer)

“We have about 300 different types of stakeholders defined including business executives,

applications management, desktops, servers, mainframes, merger recovery services, facilities

planning, and ITIL process owners – just to name a few.” (Customer)

“I know of one deployment where they decided that if a CI costs less than $650.00 it doesn’t

belong in the CMDB because theres a cost to keeping the data current. On the other hand, I know

of lots of cases where things just got thrown in – the idea of ‘let’s put everything in and then see

what happens.’ But I think the core thing is if you don’t have a use case for it, it shouldn’t be

there.” (Customer)

“In the space of just six days we went from nothing to designing our data model and imported all

of our current CIs and Assets and had it up and running so that we could retire our asset DB!!!”


“I am not a programming wizard in any way shape or form.” (Customer)

Need and Benefits

• “We now have everything we need for problem, change and release management. For instance, if a

system or asset goes down, we know where the key people are to take care of it – and reach them

immediately.” (Customer)

“We wanted a single source one central repository to document who is our service contact,

our maintenance and technical support, and what is the time period for maintenance, and where

we could also view asset depreciation. We only wanted one source for all that. A single point to tell

us – ‘Who do we call?’” (Customer)

“Effectively, we were a failing service. We had to relocate two separate help desks and merge

them into one and we needed a system to help migrate and consolidate information across both

environments.” (Customer)

• “Our CMDB really captures granular interdependencies across service infrastructure. (Customer)


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

“We have to report on any failure within 15 minutes and switch from a live system to Disaster

Recovery mode automatically when that threshold is crossed and our CMDB will help to enable

that automation.” (Customer)

“One of our objectives was to manage proactively the impact of change across what are at times

massive shifts in infrastructure, and our CMDB is helping us to do this better.” (Customer)

“Our CMDB is doing a good job of supporting our migration towards a more fully virtualized

infrastructure. It’s also helping us to cut down on the number of management tools we need.”


“We’re using the CMDB as the system of record for all of our PCs and their owners and where

they are located and what applications run on them, in addition to our data center assets. It has

become our authorized system of record.” (Customer)

The Vendors Represented Here

Much of the intention of this EMA Radar beyond providing valuable guidelines for adopters looking

to extend or even initiate their CMDB/CMS investments was to stress how diverse CMDB/CMS

options are becoming and why this is a good thing. If you revisit Figure 2, you can easily see a role

for at least two vendor solutions that work together in primarily different spheres, and both spheres

(process-centric and support for more real-time service impact) are represented here.

Indeed, while five of the vendors have their roots in the service desk market, six do not, but instead

have more operational or other use-case roots. The five vendors with service desk-centric roots are

Axios Systems, iET Solutions, LANDesk, Numara Software, and ServiceNow. AccelOps, Interlink and

FireScope have more generalized operational roots. SunView Software and N(i)2 Network Infrastructure

Inventory are more focused on change management (in particular SunView) and capacity optimization

and total infrastructure governance (primarily N(i)2). ASG, especially after its PS’Soft acquisition, is the

most platform-like solution of the eleven.

This isn’t to say that any of the above vendors should be pigeonholed by these labels – as for instance

ServiceNow offers its own native, full-blown application dependency mapping solution, while Axios

has strong capabilities for assimilating operational events as well as real-time performance insights via

a dashboard – as just two examples.

As for a few other get-to-know-you indicators, some of which suggest clear industry trends:

All of these vendors target mid-tier, many also support enterprises and service providers, and

many support smaller businesses as well a group virtually left out by most traditional platform


Five out of the eleven currently offer SaaS options and several others are actively planning or

considering an SaaS deployment.

CI support scalability ranged from less than 100,000 to more than ten million.

• Time for initial deployments (based on customer discussions as well as vendor claims) ranged from

three months to a single week. Needless to say this varied a lot by use case, scope of deployment,

as well as the “political” and “process” readiness of the customer. The fastest anecdotal time for

ROI was three days.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

When it came to standards for integration, data access and discovery, XML, ODBC, SNMP,

SOAP, and WSDL were the clear winners (with eight or more vendors supporting them), making

Web Services king overall. CMDBf was only checked by two vendors, and both were somewhat

half-hearted. Reasons were primarily that it was too complex and customers werent asking for it.

Product packaging didn’t always use the term “CMDB” – largely because the CMDB was in most

cases bundled with some other set of solutions; however, the shift away from a straight-out CMDB

term for something slightly less direct (e.g., Service Configuration Manager) or yet more oblique (e.g.,

Orchestrate) also reflects the fact that the term CMDB has acquired some warts based on failed or

disappointing deployments. And yet based on these interviews, and the growing requirements for

adaptive CMDB/CMS systems with the advent of Cloud and other technologies, the actual need

for and interest in a CMDB/CMS (by whatever name) is on the rise.

• While many of these vendors are growing quickly, and some very quickly (e.g., 2000% CAGR over

the last four years), only two had more than 500 employees, and most were still under the 250

employee size.

Each Vendor in Alphabetical Order

While the assessment was done on a use-case basis, it’s worth getting a brief introduction to each

participating vendor first.

AccelOps: AccelOps is an easily deployed powerhouse in Service Impact Management with native

CMDB and application dependency mapping capabilities, along with versatile support for Cloud,

virtualization and unusually strong support for security requirements. It has been to date most

successfully deployed as a more operationally centric CMDB system to complement more traditional

CMDB investments.

ASG: ASG is the largest company in this EMA Radar and has the most platform-like CMDB/CMS

solution with unique strengths in assimilating and modeling a wide range of third-party sources. In

other words it combines platform-like breadth of functionality and design with an outwardly facing

approach to assimilating relevant management sources outside the ASG brand – which is, in a sense,

the best of both worlds for a CMDB/CMS investment.

Axios: Axios assyst has a broad range of smaller mid-tier to mid-tier enterprise-to-enterprise buyers

and is highly competitive with both platform vendors and smaller innovators as described here. assyst

represents an optimal CMDB/CMS investment for companies mature enough to invest resources to

prepare for process optimization across the IT organization.

FireScope: FireScope’s Orchestrate is an innovative solution with one of the more balanced,

functionally consistent and eminently deployable solution in this EMA Radar. Key related products to

FireScopes Orchestrate CMDB are FireScope Unify for rich Service Impact capabilities, and FireScope

Comply for automating security and operational-related audits.

iET Solutions: iET Solutions serves a middle-ground heartland of customer environments seeking a

functionally rich solution that can also bring value quickly and easily. The company positions itself as a

“true ITIL-aligned solution” with a suite that includes the iET ITSM Service Asset and Configuration

Management module, the iET CMDB Intelligence for effective rules-based reconciliation, iET CMDB

Discovery, and the iET Integration Center.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Interlink: Interlink’s Service Configuration Manager (SCM) is optimized for real-time, historical, and

future-planned awareness of how changes made to the infrastructure may impact service performance

and the overall quality of service delivery. While it can stand on its own, SCM is primarily designed

to complement Interlink’s powerful Business Enterprise Server (BES) for outstanding Service Impact


LANDesk: The LANDesk Service Suite is built around its core CMDB/CMS for configuration

management, with support for incident management, problem management, change management,

release management, request management, service-level management and event management. As such

it is one of the more well-balanced solutions in this EMA Radar, especially when LANDesk’s Asset

Lifecycle Manager is brought into the picture.

N(i)2: The fact that N(i)2s Configuration Management Platform (CMP) is both unique and innovative

is underscored by its customer set, which included a balance of both small and large customers

seeking to optimize their infrastructure resources in service management context. It includes solutions

directed at: IT Resource Design, Network Resource Design, Facility Resource Design, Infrastructure

Deployment, Service Design, and Service Fulfillment.

Numara: Numara FootPrints is targeted at mid-tier environments with a strong focus on systems

and desktops seeking to find an easy entry into CMDB deployments with a focus on change and

lifecycle asset management. It is a 100% Web-based service desk and includes Numara’s Inventory

Manager for discovery and FootPrints Configuration Management for visualizing CI relationships and


ServiceNow: ServiceNow is one of only two vendors that were Value Leaders in two of the three

use cases. This balanced position of leadership is echoed in the company’s successful appeal to both

mid-tier businesses and larger enterprises where Service-nows combination of rich functionality and

strong cost and deployment advantages make it adaptable to a wide range of IT and service provider


SunView Software: SunView makes no intention in hiding its value proposition with the name

ChangeGear, and indeed, was a Value Leader in Change Management. It is a well-designed, efficient

solution targeted primarily at mid-tier users seeking clear paths to

value with minimal cost and administrative overhead.

While tools that claim

power of reconciled sets of information across multiple sources

is central to CMDB/CMS deployments with huge values for potentially all of IT and even business

professionals in some cases.

Cohesion: Providing a cohesive and visually compelling foundation for decision-making and

automation. Information without cohesion can be more a negative than a plus. IT professionals

have suffered for years from data overload. Having too much information can often be just as bad,

and sometimes worse, than having none because it creates the illusion of being informed with

no context for decision-making or action.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


as a value may help

an individual operator,

they rmay even make

things worse.

General Benefits

All CMDB/CMS investments support the following generalized

benefits if properly deployed and understood.

• Assimilation: Assimilating data from multiple, including third-party

sources to optimize discovery and critical CI information. The

EMA Radar™ for CMDB/CMS Use Cases –

Innovation through Diversity: Q2 2011

Communication: Supporting better communication across many multiple stakeholders.

Communication may not sound like a very “hard” value or benefit, but nothing can be further

from the truth based on the data in Figure 3. Central to this are cohesive sources of information

that can be shared effectively and appropriately across roles. While tools that claim “mean-time-to-

innocence” as a value may help an individual operator or even an entire IT silo, they do very little

to actually resolve problems across IT, and may even make things worse.

Asset Management and Financial Optimization

EMA research on “Service-centric Asset Management” underscores the fact that IT organizations

are looking for more cohesive approaches to managing assets throughout their lifecycles and

this includes understanding how all assets (capex and opex) relate to the critical business of IT in

provisioning and delivering services from a costs/value perspective. Both asset lifecycle management

Asset and inventory analysis: Time and again IT managers tell EMA “I vastly underestimated the

problem of getting my arms around what I’ve got. I have multiple discovery systems all used by

different groups, but these still leave big holes... This most often comes up in broadly based asset

management initiatives, but it is relevant to almost all follow-on initiatives described here.

• Asset lifecycle management: Enabling clarity and visibility into asset interdependencies, including SLAs,

maintenance windows, and service contracts, is central to managing assets effectively across their


Compliance audits: These can now be far more effectively automated and structured based on

consistent policies once assets are mapped into a CMDB/CMS system.

Financial optimization: This can only occur once assets are understood in the context of the services

they support from an interdependency perspective. Putting dollars-and-cents calculations into

these interdependencies still remains something of a black art and to do it fully would require

everything from advanced chargeback and demand profiling, to financial planning and project

planning analytics which are well beyond the scope of this assessment. But CMDB/CMS-driven

asset management initiatives lay the foundation for capturing and analyzing these cost and value

metrics in a substantive and contextually consistent way.


©2011 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

and effective service-centric asset management depend on a strong

CMDB/CMS foundation.

Asset management is generally the fastest use case to deploy, as most

of its requirements are less time sensitive and at least in initial phases

more linear. Having strong support for core technologies such as

Software Asset Management (SAM) an EMA Radar just completed

in Q2, 2011 as well as core insights into asset inventory and lifecycle

requirements were prioritized in the evaluations here.

Some specific use cases for asset management include:

Asset management is

generally the fastest use

case to deploy, as most of

its requirements are less

time sensitive and at least in

initial phases more linear.


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