CMDB Item Types

All CMDB items in the system must be classified as item types. ASM Core comes with a standard set of item types, but you can add further sub-types in order to classify your CMDB items.

A CMDB (Configuration Management Database) Item Type represents the categories of items that are tracked and managed within a CMDB system. These items can range from tangible assets, like servers and routers, to intangible entities, such as software licenses or services. The diversity in item types allows organizations to have a comprehensive view of their IT environment, encompassing both physical and virtual components.

Federated CMDB and Item Types

In a federated CMDB model, data is integrated from multiple sources or CMDBs, providing a unified view without having to centralize all data physically. This approach allows for more flexibility in managing diverse item types, including those that are intangible. For example, software as a service (SaaS) applications may not physically reside within an organization's servers, but they are crucial components of the IT environment. By incorporating such intangible item types into a federated CMDB, organizations can better manage and track the usage, performance, and costs associated with these resources.

Examples of Item Types

  • Tangible: Hardware devices like laptops, printers, and network equipment.

  • Intangible: Software licenses, SaaS applications, and services like email or cloud storage.

Best Practices for Organizing CMDB Item Types

  1. Hierarchical Structure: Organize item types in a hierarchical fashion, starting with broad categories and drilling down to more specific sub-types. This approach provides clarity and helps in managing inheritance of attributes.

  2. Standardization: Standardize the naming conventions, attributes, and relationships for each item type across the CMDB to ensure consistency and reliability of the data.

  3. Inheritance: Leverage the inheritance of properties from parent to child item types to reduce duplication and simplify the management of common attributes.

  4. Security and Access Control: Define and implement strict access controls for different item types, ensuring that sensitive information is only accessible to authorized users.

  5. Continuous Review and Update: Regularly review and update the CMDB item types and their relationships to reflect the changes in the IT environment. This includes adding new item types for emerging technologies and phasing out deprecated ones.

By adhering to these best practices, organizations can effectively organize and structure their CMDB item types, ensuring a comprehensive, accurate, and dynamic representation of their IT environment.

In ASM, you can configure up to nine levels of sub-types:

  • The additional types can be configured to inherit the properties of their parents, or have their own custom screen sets.

  • You can restrict access to specific types and sub-types available to analysts through the CMDB tab of their Configuration Management Security Role.

For example, for the 'Configuration Item' Type (provided out of the box), you can define a sub type Hardware, and further sub-types below it for, say, Printer and Server. The 'Hardware' Type can inherit the properties of 'Configuration Item', or you can configure it to use a custom screen set so that when you add a new printer to the CMDB, the appropriate Details window appears.

ASM Core provides the following CMDB Item Types by default:

Default CMDB Item Types and Their Features

  1. Configuration Items - Primary type provided out of the box to represent any item that needs to be managed.

    • Inventory

      • Tracks assets from purchase to disposal including ordering, purchasing, allocating, reserving, transferring ownership, and retiring inventory items.

    • Software Products

      • Manages the lifecycle of software products as assets, similar to inventory management.

    • Structures

      • Classifies groups of related CMDB items such as departments or teams, with a default asset flag that can be reconfigured.

  2. Service Entities - Encompasses services, service actions, and service bundles to manage and define the service portfolio offered by an organization.

Also in the Federated CMDB:

  1. People - Manages analysts, users, and external contacts within the CMDB.

  2. Organizations - Manages external suppliers and companies or departments associated with users or external contacts.

  3. Locations - Manages physical addresses of users and/or organizations.

  4. Contracts - Manages warranties, support, or maintenance agreements with external suppliers related to configuration items and services.

  5. Agreements - Manages agreements with users and external suppliers to enhance service delivery.

  6. Cost Centers - Manages cost centers within the organization.

  7. Jurisdictions - Manages groups of cost centers and assigns access to these groupings to analysts.

  8. Subscriber Groups - Manages groups allowed to order service actions and bundles through the Service Request Catalog.

Benefits of Multi-level CMDB Item Types

Hierarchical CMDB Configuration: Advantages and Best Practices

The implementation of a hierarchical structure in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) comes with notable benefits, along with a few caveats to acknowledge. One of the primary advantages is the streamlined management and categorization of CMDB Item Types, tailored to meet organizational needs. This approach not only enhances the precision in modeling assets but also introduces a flexible platform for the creation and modification of item types and subtypes.

Key Benefits:

  • Enhanced Security and Role-Based Access Control: Assign specific CMDB items to designated analysts by leveraging configuration management security roles. This granularity allows for the restriction of modification rights based on the nature of the item, such as limiting server management to server-specific analysts or email services to respective personnel. Different security levels can be established to differentiate access rights among various analyst groups, enhancing the overall integrity and governance of CMDB data.

  • Flexible and Scalable Structure: Adopt a multi-level tier system to accurately represent your organization's asset landscape within the CMDB. By creating distinct item types like 'Computer', and further categorizing them into subtypes such as 'Laptop', 'Server', and 'Desktop', organizations can ensure a more organized and navigable CMDB. This structure also permits the enforcement of usage policies, such as prohibiting the general use of a generic 'Computer' type in favor of more specific categorizations.

Best Practices to Employ:

  1. Engage in proactive role management to ensure that access rights and permissions are meticulously assigned and reviewed regularly. This minimizes the risk of unauthorized changes and maintains data integrity.

  2. Continually refine and update the hierarchy of item types to reflect the evolving technological landscape and organizational changes. Adaptability is key to a functional and effective CMDB.

Particular types can be assigned to different analysts through configuration management security roles.

You can restrict the Analysts who are responsible for Servers to only modify Server CMDB items, or those responsible for email to modify only the Email Service. You can apply different levels of security to different groups of Analysts in the organization, for example, service desk Analysts can only view and search for certain types of CIs but may not modify them.

You can create a hierarchical tier structure to as many levels as you need and flexibly and accurately model your organization’s assets in the CMDB, creating the types and sub types you need.

You can create a Configuration Item type for Computer, then, for the Computer type, you can create child types for Laptop, Server, and Desktop. Then, you can configure the Computer type so that Analysts are not allowed to use this type, but must choose a specific type of computer.

You can classify the items within your CMDB by configuring your own sub types.

Avoid setting up specific assets here. The CMDB Item Type table is meant only to list the kinds of CI (configuration items) you have in your organization; Laptop, Mobile Device, Tablets, Servers, Error Codes, etc...

Child types can inherit the properties set up for the parent type, including availability, and auditing settings, as well as the image associated with the parent CMDB type. In addition, if a particular screen set has been configured in the ASM Designer for a particular CMDB item type, it will also be inherited by the child types.

You can create a Service type for IT Services. Within this you can then set up child types for each particular type of service provided by the IT department, such as Email, Installation, Connection, or Maintenance. When analysts add services, they can classify them according to the Service types you have defined.

Avoid naming your organizations services here. You will create the services that your organization delivers in the CMDB. The CMDB Item Type for Services is meant to create categories of services the organization provides such as "IT", "Customer", or "Facilities".

Many organizations do not create additional services types. It is perfectly acceptable to only have a service CMDB Item type of "Services", which is provided out of the box. Instead, many organizations delineate the different lines of business with CMDB Item Classes.

Consider your reporting requirements when choosing how to configure this option.

Creating a CMDB item type

Before you start

You must have CMDB Setup enabled within your General Access security role in order to configure any CMDB administration settings. Depending on if or how your system is partitioned, ensure that you are working in the correct partition.

  1. Select the Menu button, then Admin, and then select System Administration. The System Administration window is displayed.

  2. In the Explorer pane expand CMDB.

  3. Select CMDB Item Types to open the window.

  4. Select the type of CMDB entity for which you want to define your own sub type.

  5. Select the New icon . The CMDB Item Type Details window appears.

  6. Complete the details.

NameName of the CMDB item type. This is a mandatory field

Ref Prefix

Prefix for the CMDB item type. When analysts create CMDB items under this CMDB item type, this prefix will display in the Ref field on the CMDB Item Details window. Similarly, when CMDB items are created automatically, for example through the Federated CMDB, this prefix is added to the Item ID.

The default prefix is set in the System Titles window.

Parent Type(s)

A read only field that displays the parent CMDB item type on which the current CMDB item type is based.

Allow Creation of CMDB Items

This option is useful if, for example, you have defined a CMDB item type “Computer” and below that child CMDB item types for “Laptop”, “Workstation” and “Server”, and want to ensure analysts choose the specific computer type, rather than the more generic parent type. By clearing Allow creation of CMDB Items for the CMDB Type Computer, and selecting the option for the child types, Analysts will have to choose a specific computer type when they add a computer item.

If you clear Allow Creation of CMDB Items, CMDB items classified under this CMDB item type can still be searched on.

Display New Menu Item in Wrapper

This option is enabled if you select Allow Creation of CMDB Items. Select to allow analysts to create new CMDB items under this CMDB item type straight from the New menu option.

Turn Audit On

Select to enable auditing on CMDB items of this CMDB item type. This enables the Audit explorer option on the CMDB Item Details window.

If this option has already been selected on the parent CMDB item type, it will be pre-selected and disabled on the current CMDB item type.

Categorize as an Asset

Select to flag this CMDB Item as an Asset. This flag enables you to identify those CMDB items you want to track as assets for financial purposes. By default the Software Product, Inventory, and Structure configuration item types are flagged as assets.

Track Availability

Allows Analysts to link outages against CMDB items of this CMDB item type. If you are using availability on your system, analysts can select the Availability explorer option for CMDB items.

Auto-create Outages

This is enabled when you select Track Availability.

Select to automatically select the Create/Link Outages checkbox when a Call or Request is logged for a CMDB item of this CMDB Item Type, allowing the Analyst to create or link an outage from the call or request.

If Auto-create Outages is already selected on the parent CMDB item type, it will be pre-selected and disabled on the current CMDB item type.

Description & Images

A text box below this heading enables you to provide a description of the CMDB type. If it is HTML enabled, you can format the text, adding tables, hyperlinks and so on.

Add an Image

You can link an image (icon) to the CMDB item type by selecting . Images may be in JPEG, GIF, or BMP format. This image appears to the left of the item type in the CMDB Item Types window.

If an image has already been added, it appears in the window. To remove it, select .

Portal Submit Button

Enter the text to display on the Order button of Service Actions in the Self Service Portal Service Request Catalog that are created for this CMDB Item Type. Text entered here replaces the default button label "Order".

Open Designer

This button allows you to configure the screens associated with this item type in the ASM Designer.

You must have Designer selected in your General Access Security Role.


The Screens browse table displays the screens in the screen set associated with this CMDB item type. If you have permission to access the ASM Designer, you can personalize these screens by either modifying the standard screen or adding and configuring your own.

Select the Save icon to save the changes and close the window. Provide the Change Reasons if prompted to do so. You may need to scroll back up to see the button.

Updating and renaming a CMDB Item Type

  1. Select the Menu button, then Admin, and then select System Administration. The System Administration window is displayed.

  2. In the Explorer pane expand CMDB.

  3. Select CMDB Item Types to open the window.

  4. Select the CMDB item type you wish to update.

  5. Select the item by double-clicking or by clicking the Action icon.

  6. In the CMDB Item Type Details window, edit the details of the CMDB item type.

  7. Select the Save icon to save the changes and close the window. Provide the Change Reasons if prompted to do so.

Deleting a CMDB item type

You cannot delete a default CMDB item type. The delete button is grayed out on the CMDB Item Types window for default CMDB item types.

If you delete a CMDB Item Type, any existing CMDB items that use this CMDB item type still retain that CMDB item type which will be displayed with an asterisk beside the name to indicate it is deleted.

  1. Select the Menu button, then Admin, and then select System Administration. The System Administration window is displayed.

  2. In the Explorer pane expand CMDB.

  3. Select CMDB Item Types to open the window.

  4. Select the CMDB Type you want to delete.

  5. Select the Delete icon.

Restoring a Deleted CMDB Item Type

  1. Select the Menu button, then Admin, and then select System Administration. The System Administration window is displayed.

  2. In the Explorer pane expand CMDB.

  3. Select CMDB Item Types to open the window.

  4. Select the Show Deleted checkbox to include deleted CMDB item types in the listing. The deleted items are indicated by a red circle icon.

  5. Highlight the item you want to restore and select the Undelete icon. Provide Change Reasons if prompted to do so.

  6. After a moment, the display refreshes and the red circle is removed from the item, indicating that it has been restored.

  7. If you wish, you can deselect the Show Deleted checkbox to see that the item appears among the active items.

Last updated