Configuration Management Planning: What To Do Before you Start

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Administration
How big a CM admin team will you need? We're not talking about CM functions here, just the administration that goes with your solutions. Well some of the traditional chores include:

·         Database optimization

·         Server (and VOB) administration

·         Disk space administration

·         Dealing with scalability issues as the project grows

·         Maintaining operation as you switch platforms (32- to 64-bit, Linux to/from Windows to/from Unix)

·         Multiple-site data synchronization issues

·         Upgrades to the database software

·         Upgrades to the various ALM tools and the associated glue that integrates them

·         Nightly backups and restore capability

·         Initial conversion/data loading from your existing solutions

These are big issues. You have to ensure high availability. You have to maintain good performance. Take a look at the various CM solutions out there. These tasks will require a few hours a week to a dedicated team of a few people, depending on your project parameters and the solution chosen. If you want to have fewer people doing admin and more working on core business, do your research - don't just play Follow-the-leader blindly. Especially if your CM planning team is familiar with solutions they've worked with.  The tendency is to stick with them because they know them, including their inherent risks. CM technology is progressing. There are leaner and meaner solutions and more advanced solutions that require less effort to maintain.

Integrated Tools

Have you ever used integrated tools? Were you satisfied with the level of integration and the speed of cross tool query? You can have the best of breed for each tool in an ALM solution, and integrate them together, but that won't give you the best solution. Ideally, you want management tools that share the same user interface, so you're not hopping from tool to tool and so that you're not complicating your training, and that share the same repository, so that data at all levels is available to all tools. Ideally there's no integration scripting that you have to maintain, even as you customize each management function. The second generation tools which knit together solutions are starting to give way to broader ALM solutions which are built on one or two core technologies.

About the author

Joe Farah's picture Joe Farah

Joe Farah is the President and CEO of Neuma Technology and is a regular contributor to the CM Journal. Prior to co-founding Neuma in 1990 and directing the development of CM+, Joe was Director of Software Architecture and Technology at Mitel, and in the 1970s a Development Manager at Nortel (Bell-Northern Research) where he developed the Program Library System (PLS) still heavily in use by Nortel's largest projects. A software developer since the late 1960s, Joe holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. You can contact Joe at farah@neuma.com

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