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CMDB Overview

A well implemented and maintained CMDB provides an organization with complete visibility into their enterprise infrastructure, including reliable configuration data for physical and virtual servers, computers, routers, switches, applications, cloud instances, and more.

CMDB Introduction


The CMDB is managed by the service configuration management process and serves as the foundation for all configuration management processes such as Service Management, Asset Management, Operations Management, and others.

IT professionals use the ServiceNow CMDB to bring visibility to their IT landscape, so they can focus attention on making fact-based decisions and providing business-critical IT services that power the enterprise.

*Customers are most successful when focused on implementing configuration management, and not focused on implementing a CMDB.

CMDB Value Proposition

The CMDB is an integral part of an organizations understanding of their IT landscape and can provide a huge value proposition to support decisions at every level of activity.


The ServiceNow CMDB Works because it is . . .

  • Standardized

    • ServiceNow CMDB utilizes a single data model, with common processes, standard
      taxonomy, and pre-negotiated semantics, format, and quality standards for
      exchanged data.​

  • Single System of Record

    • As a result, every table, view, and application built on the Now Platform leverages a consolidated, single system of record.​

  • Extendable

    • This data model is also easily extensible: base system tables and views can be extended easily; fields from other tables can be referenced and used to drive workflow; and data validation and normalization rules ensure that trusted data can be leveraged across any application, form, or workflow.​

CMDB Changes

Every change to CMDB data is fully traceable and logged by date and time, source of change such as ServiceNow Discovery, SCCM, user, etc., and includes the new and previous value.

A CI and service history timeline provides a visualization of planned and unplanned changes to CIs and alerts over time.


CMDB Query Builder

The CMDB Query Builder feature provides a simple and intuitive way to query the CMDB for CIs and relationships across multiple CMDB tables, including service maps. The user interface is drag-and-drop and enables the creation and execution of complex queries into CMDB data without writing code. Queries can be saved, scheduled, and exported into multiple file formats.


CMDB Dashboard

A health dashboard provides a holistic view into the quality of CMDB data. It provides a single view of the quality of data at the CMDB, CI class, and CI levels using completeness, correctness, and compliance scores.



Configuration Item (CI)

Physical and logical components of an infrastructure that needs to be managed to deliver a product or service and are currently, or soon will be, under configuration management. For example, a network device, a server, an application, a delivery truck, or service.


Describes a table that contains and represents a specific type or group of CIs that share common attributes such as a Windows Server, Linux Server, Printer, Virtual Machine, Vehicle, Animal etc.

Base Table

The core Configuration Item [cmdb_ci] table, which stores the basic attributes of all the CIs. All configuration item classes extend from this table including all hardware and applications.

CI Class Downgrade

The CI class is updated to a class that is more generic in the class hierarchy, and the newly assigned class has less attributes. For example, a downgrade occurs if a CI is moved from the Windows Server [cmdb_ci_win_server] class to  the Server [cmdb_ci_server] class.

Asset vs. CI

On the Now platform, when creating a hardware asset, a corresponding CI will be automatically created or when a CI is discovered for the first time and inserted into the CMDB, a corresponding asset record will be automatically created. The asset and the CI is connected through out the CI/Asset lifecycle.


Asset: Often starts during the procurement process, but may be created when a discovery tool finds the CI for the first time Is part of the financial lifecycle


Information that further describes a CI such as a name, serial number, manufacture, operating system

Configuration Management System


A set of tools and databases used to manage and organizations configuration data

CI Reclassifaction

Is a CI whose class has been upgraded, downgraded, or switched. An example of an upgraded CI is a Server record that was upgraded from the Server [cmdb_ci_server] class to the Windows Server [cmdb_ci_win_server] class.

CI Class Switch

The CI class is in a different branch in the class hierarchy and has a different set of attributes than the current class. For example, reclassifying a CI from the Linux Server [cmdb_ci_linux_server] class to the Windows Server [cmdb_ci_win_server] class.

Relationship Type

Information that further describes a CI such as a name, serial number, manufacture, operating system

Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

A database used to store configuration records throughout their Lifecycle. The Configuration Management System maintains one or more CMDBs, and each CMDB stores attributes of CIs, and Relationships with other CIs

CI Class Upgrade

The CI class is updated to a class that is less generic in the class hierarchy, and the newly assigned class has additional attributes. For example, an upgrade occurs if a CI is moved from the Server [cmdb_ci_server] class to the Windows Server [cmdb_ci_win_server]

Parent & Child Class

A table that extends another table is called a child class, and the table it extends is the parent class. A table can be both a parent and child class both extending and providing extensions for other tables. For example, the Server table extends the Computer table and the Windows Server table extends the Server table, thus making the Server table both a Parent and Child class.

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