Service Asset and Configuration Management

The term “Service Asset Configuration and Management”, or SACM, originated with ITILv3; whereas, ITILv2 the area was simply called “Configuration Management”.

Configuration Management provides information about service asset components and the relationships that exist between the various components. It is essential to effective service management since as it underpins all of the other processes particularly Incident, Problem, Availability and Change Management.

Configuration management activities include the following.

  • management and planning
  • configuration identification
  • configuration control
  • status accounting and reporting
  • verification and audit
  • information management

There are a few important concepts in this area that warrant definition.

  • Configuration Items (CIs): Any component that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT service. Information about each CI is recorded in a configuration record within the Configuration Management System  and is maintained throughout its lifecycle by Configuration Management. CIs are under the control of Change Management. CIs typically include IT services, hardware, software, buildings, people and formal documentation such as process documentation and SLAs.
  • Configuration Model: a model of the services, assets and the infrastructure that includes relationships between CIs, enabling other processes to access valuable information (e.g. assessing the impact of Incidents, Problems and proposed changes; planning and designing new or changed services and their release and deployment; optimizing asset utilization and costs).
  • Configuration Management System (CMS): A set of tools and databases used to manage an IT service provider’s configuration data. The CMS also includes information about Incidents, Problems, known errors, changes and releases, and may contain data about employees, suppliers, locations, business units, customers and users. The CMS includes tools for collecting, storing, managing, updating and presenting data about all CIs and their relationships. The CMS is maintained by Configuration Management and is used by all IT Service Management processes.
  • Configuration Management Database (CMDB): Stores configuration records containing Attributes of CIs and their relationships. A CMS may include one or more CMDBs. (The CMBD concept from ITILv2 confused the industry, so v3 added the concept of a CMS).
  • Definitive Media Library (DML) or Definitive Software Library (DSL): One or more locations in which the definitive and approved versions of all software CIs are securely stored. The DML may also contain associated CIs such as licenses and documentation. The DML is a single logical storage area even if there are multiple locations. All software in the DML is under the control of Change and Release Management and is recorded in the Configuration Management System. Only software from the DML is acceptable for use in a release.

Asset Management, which as mentioned was only codified into the ITIL framework in v3, maintains information about those assets in terms of their source, value, location, who controls them etc. It manages the entire life cycle of service assets, from procurement, through usage and maintenance, through disposition. Obviously it has a more administrative and clerical focus than Configuration Management, but each must have the other to be effective.

Organizations frequently assess their SACM processes.


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