How Does Software Development Fit in with ITIL's Configuration Management Database?


Designing your CMDB
If you are designing your CMDB and wondering what you need to do to include software development, an easy first phase is look at the information about which crosses the software development boundary.

All successful software development has some form of change, configuration and release management systems in place. It will include defect tracking (both for defects and changes typically) and version control tools. So we classify the software development repositories as a physical CMDB, part of the overall federated CMDB or CMS.

A change or problem can be manually linked (via copy and pasted unique ID) to an issue in your defect tracking system. There would then be some traceability from actual code changes through to associated issues, then through to a change or problem.

Obviously manual approaches to such linking are more effort to maintain and error prone, so less reliable. However, vendors are increasingly providing automated links between such systems to give more seamless operation.

Maintaining your Development and Test Environments
Another area of interaction between software development operations is that of managing development and test environments. These may or may not feature as CIs in your CMDB (so some organizations only consider production environments to be CIs).

It is important that new releases are tested in environments that most closely resemble the production environment. There are many potential issues in this area (enough for a future article on its own), so we will just highlight some:

·         Who is responsible for managing which environment?

·         How easy is it to audit and track changes to environments?

·         How do you ensure that changes in production are included, as well as the changes that the new release requires?

·         How do you manage parallel releases with incompatible requirements competing for the same environments?

·         What is the minimum number of environments you need? Allowing appropriate parallelism and yet not being too expensive in terms of licenses, hardware, resources to maintain, etc.?

While in the past software development has mainly been seen as being independent from ITIL, with the release of ITIL V3, we believe all organizations benefit from reviewing what they do and taking a higher level, service oriented view.

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at or visit and follow his blog at

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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