George Spafford has this to say about CMDBs:
The truth is that a great many software-led configuration efforts that emphasized the technical merits of the CMDB have failed abysmally because the process requirements weren’t understood and addressed appropriately.
In response to this, tools vendors reacted in an unsurprising manner: they created a technology-led solution called “autodiscovery”. The premise is that by using autodiscovery tools to identify new, changed or deleted configuration items in production the CMDB will be current and accurate thus overcoming all the process problems. Guess what? The results have been far from ideal because it still does not negate the need for processes.
A fairy doesn’t appear at 2 A.M. in the data center and magically change configurations and move equipment. The fact is that someone made those changes and it is to everyone’s benefit to understand why. Simply pumping the changes blindly into the CMDB with autodiscovery is a recipe for disaster.
This should sound very familiar to anyone who has worked on IdM projects.
There are two take-aways from this. First, all of these wonderful enterprise tools require a process to be used effectively; and second it all comes down to people in the end.