What Is Configuration Management? - Definition, Process & Tools

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  • 0:00 Configuration Management (CM)
  • 1:29 Configuration…
  • 3:45 Configuration Management Tools
  • 5:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kent Beckert

Kent is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has a Master's degree in Technical Management.

Learn about configuration management (CM), a continuous process of recording and maintaining consistent and reliable records pertaining to an organization's hardware and software composition, including software version control and hardware updates.

Configuration Management (CM)?

The deadline is rapidly approaching and the team is assembled, ready to implement the recent revision changes made to both the system hardware and software. The installation has gone well, and your team is making the final testing arrangements and preparing to demonstrate the results to the waiting clientele. The first test is executed and the initial screen display fails, panic erupts and your team scrambles to identify the problem. Within minutes the fault is identified. Due to inadequate configuration management procedures, the latest hardware and software revisions were uploaded and installed into a system with an outdated configuration, rendering the test a complete failure.

Effective configuration management (CM) involves the practice of processing system changes systematically with the primary intent of updating the system while maintaining system integrity. To meet this goal, a good CM program implements detailed policies, procedures, and techniques while employing the proper CM tools necessary to manage revisions, track revision status, and document and verify each step throughout the process. A successful and effective CM program will result in:

  • Improved performance
  • System compliance with established specifications and guidelines
  • Lowered probability of errors
  • Enhanced online availability

Configuration Management Process

Let's now discuss the configuration management process. Systems frequently require adjustments, modifications, and updates to their existing hardware, software and documentation components. These changes are typically associated with a change involving a system configuration item (CI). Examples include a change in system management direction, a hardware or software specification update, approved requests for removing obsolete components, and a new functionality. Any change to system posture and infrastructure, such as in these examples, must be monitored and controlled using an approved CM process, beginning with the proposed change(s) followed by updating the CM database documenting all changes.

Because of the dynamic, extensive, and potential widespread impact a configuration change may have on an existing system, it's mandatory that the new configuration procedures be based on a firm plan. For this purpose, a configuration management plan (CMP) is often used as a vehicle to create, implement and document configuration changes. The following table lists and describes the basic components included by CM planners when formulating a CMP include:

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