What Is the Future of Configuration Management?

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Before I began writing my latest story, I was planning to write about configuration management predictions for 2013. However, we have enough predictions being made that will probably never come true. So instead, I want to focus on taking a look at the future of CM in general.

To do so, I realized I had to take a look back—way back—to read what others have said about CM's future and to check whether their predictions are still relevant.

This trip takes us all the way back to 1992 with a paper written by Susan Dart. Why is this important to you as a CM practitioner? Because if you read the article, you will notice the problems of the past are the same ones we face today.

Susan listed some areas where CM is going to be challenged in the future, including technology, management, and political issues. She nails a lot of the problems we face today as CM professionals. For example, consider management buy-in, an issue that is timeless and may never get solved. The only issue I have with her predictions is the one about building CM systems in-house. I don’t think many people are building homegrown apps any more, at least none for CM.

Joseph Hurley takes a look at CM and the cloud as he questions and then confirms the need for CM in the future even as more technologies become cloud-based and on-the-fly changes continue to occur. Mark Burgess takes us on a journey to see the future of open source configuration management, and luckily someone interpreted what his point was.

Now I want to switch gears and look at what the future of software CM is and what was previously predicted. Take a look at what the folks at evolven.com with their quasi-future look by announcing the top ten challenges for change and configuration management.

Brad Appleton is currently trying to promote a future state for CM by proposing CM 3.0, in which CM enjoys a bigger place in the sun by having it aligned with what it really does and should do.

I tried to find information on the future of hardware CM, and I was unable to find anything that looks at the future of that field.

So where does this leave us? What are your thoughts on the future of CM, SCM, and HCM? Are we progressing, regressing, or simply standing still?

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Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.