Introduction to ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management

Introduction to ITIL Service Asset and Configuration Management

In ITIL, the Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) is about the appropriate planning and management the characteristics and relationships of the individual components of IT services such as servers and software.

Principles of SACM

The principles of Service Asset and Configuration management are:

  • Making sure that the asset and configuration management operation’s costs and resources are under control.

  • The necessity to deliver corporate government requirements.

  • The level of control and requirements for traceability and for auditing.

  • The provision of accurate information about assets and configuration information for other business and service management processes.

  • The requirement for services which are easily available, reliable and cost-effective.

  • The inclusion of automation in order to reduce errors and costs.

Basic Concepts of SACM

  1. Configuration Model

    The configuration model of the services, assets, and infrastructure is delivered by configuration management, by recording the relationships between configuration items.

    This allows another process to access information which is valuable such as:

    • To assess the effect of the changes proposed

    • To plan a refresh of technology and the software upgrades.

    • To plan and design new services or change existing ones

    • To assess the impact and cause of various incidents and problems.

  2. Configuration Items

    A configuration item is an asset, service component or any other item which is or will be under the control of configuration management.

    The configuration items can be grouped and managed together. Configuration items vary in complexity, size, and type and can range from an entire service to a single software module.

  3. Configuration Management System

    A large supporting system known as a Configuration Management System is needed to manage large and complex IT structures and infrastructure.

    The configuration management system holds all the information for the configuration items. The CMS is used to maintain a relationship between all the service component and any related problems, incidents, known errors, change and release documentation.

  4. Definitive Media Library

    The Definitive Media Library is a secure library which is used for safely storing the definitive, authorized versions of all media CIs.

    The library usually consists of a single or several software libraries or file storage areas, which are separate from the development, test and live file storage areas.

    The Definitive Media Library also has physical storage where master copies are stored in a safe environment.

  5. Definitive Spares

    For the storage of definitive hardware spares, a separate area should be set aside. The spare components are maintained at the same level as the comparative systems in the test or live environment.

    The component details, location and their builds and contents should be recorded in detail in the configuration management system. These can be utilized in a controlled manner when there is a need for additional systems or in case of recovery from incidents.

Purpose of SACM

The main purpose of Service Asset and Configuration Management is to make sure that the assets which are needed to deliver the required services are controlled properly, and accurate information about the assets is available where and when it is needed.

Objectives of SACM

The objectives of SACM are:

  • To ensure that the assets which are under the control of the IT organization are identified, controlled and maintained through their entire lifecycle.

  • To maintain accurate configuration information on the historical, planned and present state of services and other Cis.

  • To support an effective and efficient management system for providing accurate configuration information.

  • To identify, control, record, report, audit and verify services and other configuration items which include baselines, versions, constituent components, their relationships, and attributes.

  • To manage, protect the integrity of CIs and account for it through the service lifecycle by working with change management to make sure that the components used and the changes made are authorized.

  • To reduce the number of issues related to quality and compliance which are caused by incorrect or inaccurate service configuration and assets.

Scope of SACM

The service assets which need to be managed in order to deliver services are called as Configuration Items (CIs).

The management of the complete lifecycle of every CI is included in the scope of SACM. The scope of service asset and configuration management includes:

  • The complete lifecycle management of service and IT assets from the acquisition.

  • Maintenance of the asset inventory, where configuration management ensures that the selected components of a service, product or system are identified, baselined and maintained and the changes made to them are controlled.

  • The internal and external service providers come under its scope

Value of SACM

If the performance of service assets and configurations are optimized, the overall service performance can be increased. This, in turn, optimized the costs and reduced the risks caused by assets which are badly managed. The visibility of accurate representations of a service release or environment provided by SACM enables the following:

  • Improvement in forecasting, assessment, planning, and delivery of changes and releases.

  • Resolution of various problems and incidents within the service level targets.

  • Delivery of warranties and service levels

  • Compliance with standards, legal and regulatory obligations.

  • Identification of the costs of a service

  • Increased opportunities for business since the service provider is able to demonstrate that the assets and services are under control.

  • The fixed assets have proper stewardship under the control of the service provider.

Process Activities of SACM

The main activities of SACM are:

Process Activities of SACM

  • Management and planning: It involves deciding the level of configuration management which is required for a service or a change project. The next step would be to create a plan to achieve this goal.

  • Configuration identification: It includes defining the different types of CI and naming conventions.

  • Configuration control: The duty of configuration control is to ensure that there are proper control mechanisms over the CIs and at the same time, maintaining a record of all the changes made to the CIs, versions, location, and ownership.

  • Status accounting and reporting: The status of CIs as they progress through their lifecycle should be maintained.

  • Verification and audit: It involves verification of the physical existence of the CI and auditing to check the accuracy of the documentation and ensuring all the CIs are recorded in the CMS.

Challenges of SACM

Some of the challenges which can arise in SACM are

  • Inviting funding and justifying the amount for SACM

  • Convincing the technical support staff to adopt a policy of checking in and out.

  • The absence of support and commitment from the management.

Risks of SACM

Some of the risks involved in implementing SACM are:

  • The accuracy of the configuration information degrades over a period of time.

  • If the scope is set too wide, it results in excess cost and effort.

  • If the scope is set too narrow, the process gives fewer benefits.

  • The CMS can become outdated due to asset movement by unauthorized staff.

Service Asset and Configuration Management thus ensures that the assets under the control of the IT organization are identified, controlled and maintained through their entire lifecycle. By maintaining accurate configuration information, supporting an effective and efficient management system and managing to protect the integrity of CIs it reduces the number of issues related to quality and compliance in the organization.

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