Configuration Management

Configuration Management is defined in ITIL as “Asset Management plus Relationships (with other Configuration Items [CIs]). It is important to consider the relationships between the CIs as making changes to one component can affect another CI.

Configuration Management underpins all delivery and support processes and defines IT assets and services as Configuration Items.

Configuration Item(CI) – A Configuration Item is a part of the ICT infrastructure (which can be a hardware, software, documentation or peopleware component). This term can be used to indicate whole systems or just a single hardware/software component. (In other words, a CI is “any component that has to be managed in order to deliver an IT service”.) CIs are under the control of the Change Management process.

Configuration Management Database(CMDB) – This is a database of all Configuration Items (CIs) in the organization. It not only contains full details of individual components but also contains details of the relationships between them.

Configuration Structure is the hierarchy of all CIs in any configuration.

Configuration Management Plan – is a document that lays out details of organization and procedures for the Configuration Management of any particular product or service.

Configuration Management has the responsibility to ensure that:

  • the organization has an accurate record of its ICT (Hardware,Software, & Peopleware) assets.
  • all details of the services offerred by the organization and it’s related ICT components and any relevant supporting documentation.
  • any changes to the IT service(s) are done with the least risk to the business.
    + it provides a sound basis for Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management & Release Management.
  • configuration records are verified against the existing infrastructure and any exceptions corrected.

Configuration Management has the following sub-processes:

Planning – consists of five sub-processes:

  • Strategy, Policy, Scope and Objectives – to establish an effective Configuration Management System.
  • Processes, Procedures, Guidelines & Responsibilities – to manage and control the ICT assets.
  • Relationship with other ITIL Processes – define how Configuration Management will interact with other processes or vice-versa.
  • Relationship with other Configuration Management teams – to exchange information with CMDBs of suppliers, external vendors, developers etc.
  • Tools & Resource Requirements – to connect the CMDB to the system and network management tools to enable the automatic addition of CIs to the CMDB.

Identification – accurately identifying and labeling the CIs with IDs, versions, types and their relationships to other CIs.

Control – this has three sub-processes:

  • Register – registering a CI when it enters the IT infrastructure.
  • Update – updating the status of the CI to reflect it’s most current status.
  • Archive – removing the CI from the CMDB and archiving it in a secure location.

Status Accounting – is concerned with reporting of all current & historical data about each CI throughout it’s life cycle.

Verification(Verification & Audit) is responsible to ensure that the information contained in the CMDB exactly matches the live environment.
The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) – Configuration Management monitors the relationships between Configuration Items. It stores all details about these relationships (between CIs) in a CMDB.

A typical CMDB should contain the following information – refer to the image below:

  • Details about the ICT components (Hardware, Software, Peopleware and related documents).
  • All the services offerred by the organization and related CIs and the relationships between these CIs.
  • Details of all Incidents, Problems and Known errors.
  • Details about all Changes & Releases.


The CMDB contains the DHS (Definitive Hardware Store) and DSL (Definitive Software Library) which is managed by the Release Management process.