Federated CMDB, one more step towards “Google maps for IT”

In July last year I gave a short presentation at the IEEE ICWS 2005 conference in Miami in which I used an analogy with Google Maps (since then assimilated into Google Local) to explain that we needed to do a better job at federating disparate instance model repositories for management. After the conference, I wrote up this blog entry to summarize my message. I got mostly positive feedback on this, with the one caveat that people were confused by the terminology. When I told them to replace “model instance” with “configuration”, things went a lot better. I realized I was guilty of that cardinal sin in our industry, lack of buzzword compliance. So here it is: I should have called the whole thing a Federated CMDB.

Between then and now, a bunch of major players in IT management got together to address this objective. Today we announced (along with our partners BMC, Fujitsu and IBM) a collaboration to produce a specification to federate configuration data repositories. And this time we are fully buzzword-compliant, so the work is described in terms of CMDB and support for ITIL best practices. Lesson learned. And of course you can expect plenty of SOA goodness sprinkled in the spec.

Stay tuned for more specifics on this soon. Before anyone sarcastically points it out, yes, this is the second announcement that we put out in a few weeks that is not backed by publicly available work (the other one is the WS-Management/WSDM convergence roadmap). And it might not even be over quite yet. Clearly, announcements are cheap (actually not so cheap if you see the work they take) compared to doing the real work. But there is real work going on behind this.

[UPDATE: a few days after I wrote this, Google went back to using the “Google maps” name instead of “Google local”.]

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