Editor's note

Modern IT infrastructures are growing increasingly complex and multifaceted. IT administrators face a difficult task to keep track of all the components that make up a system, and the state they are in. The relatively static platforms of the past are now obsolete. The size and industry that the enterprise is based in makes no difference -- all companies will unilaterally benefit from a solid configuration management system.

Configuration management can be summarized as the detailed creation, recording and updating of information about an enterprise's hardware and software, which enables organizations to successfully provision new code and application packages and manage them throughout the lifecycle. Configuration management lets administrators keep tabs on their hardware and software and ensure that all activity is functioning as it should.

What makes an effective configuration management system will vary according to certain company factors: size, platforms, budget and IT capabilities available.  With a broad range of options on the market, buyers must analyze what their organization requires and narrow down which of the many CM tool offerings will provide the most benefit. Different CM tools support different platforms, so certain tools will appeal to organizations with a heterogeneous IT platform while others are suitable for those using a homogenous deployment. Companies do not want to invest in CM tools designed for a particular platform if their environment uses many. Organizations also have the option of open source versus enterprise versions of many tools. Carefully consider the coding ability available within the organization when deciding on a system.

Equipped with the knowledge in this guide provided by expert Clive Longbottom, IT administrators can select the proper configuration management software that will keep their infrastructures on track and well-positioned to keep up with rapid technology.

1In-depth looks at the top configuration management software

Now that you know what you need, and which features to look for in configuration management software, take a look at these product overviews which provide an in-depth look at configuration management tools and products.