Here's an example that will illustrate how multiple records are used to represent a configuration item in CMDBf notation.
Let's assume I have an MDR that has information about VMWare guest systems. The question for CMDBf is - how will I expose this information to a federating CMDB or other CMDBf query client? One really good way is to map the information to the Common Information Model (I'll use version 2.16 for this example).
CIM_VirtualComputerSystem in CIM 2.16 is a subclass of CIM_ComputerSystem, which is a subclass of CIM_System, which is a subclass of CIM_EnabledLogicalElement, ...
In CMDBf parlance, there is an item representing this virtual machine (virtual "lump of plastic and steel" as some in the committee call it.) Then there are records describing this item.
Now, I could take all the inherited attributes from those CIM classes and make one big CIM_VirtualComputerSystem record. This would be really easy to process, but it leaves out some important functionality. What if I want to query for all Computer Systems or all Systems in general? This could only be done with a very complex query searching for all possible subclass record types.
Alternatively (and recommended), I can model the VM as an item with a CIM_VirtualComputerSystem record plus a CIM_ComputerSystem record, plus a CIM_System record, all the way to a CIM_ManagedElement record. This will allow maximum flexibility for the query client to find exactly the items it needs to query.
Now a more difficult question - if I want to use the Registration service of CMDBf and mass-register all my VMs, should I register each item with all these records? That could be a lot of network and parsing overhead. Plus, I wouldn't expect the federating CMDB to replicate and store all this information.
Probably the best answer is to associate another record with the item that provides just enough information to identify the item. This record should indicate that the item is a virtual computer system with a certain name and other identifying properties, possibly combining attributes from multiple superclasses. There is no standard schema for these identifying records today - this is an open question for the community to answer. Your feedback is welcome!
The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.