Navigating the Landscape: The Current State of Open Source CMDB Software


In the dynamic world of IT management, A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) plays a pivotal role in maintaining a comprehensive inventory of an organisation’s IT assets and their interdependencies. As the demand for efficient and customizable solutions grows, open source CMDB software has emerged as a compelling choice for businesses seeking flexibility and cost-effectiveness. In this blog post, we’ll explore the current state of open source CMDB software, examining key trends, notable projects, and the evolving landscape of IT asset management.

Rise of Open Source CMDB Solutions:

  • Open source CMDB software has gained traction in recent years due to several factors. Cost-effectiveness, community-driven development, and the ability to tailor solutions to specific organisational needs are among the primary reasons for its popularity. As businesses strive for greater control over their IT infrastructure, open source CMDB solutions offer a viable alternative to proprietary options.

Key Features and Functionality:

  • Modern open source CMDB software goes beyond traditional asset tracking. Today’s solutions offer advanced features such as automated discovery, relationship mapping, and integration with other IT management tools. These capabilities empower organisations to gain a holistic view of their IT environment, enhance decision-making, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Notable Open Source CMDB Projects:

  • Several open source CMDB projects have gained recognition for their robust features and active communities. Notable examples include:
    • i-doit: i-doit is a web-based open-source CMDB that provides a user-friendly interface for managing IT documentation, hardware, software, and other assets. It supports data import/export and integration with various third-party tools, it has a pretty well defined data structure, customisation is difficult with the open source version and the pro (paid) version is required to do any meaningful changes, it may fit your requirements as is.
    • Ralph: Focused on asset management, Ralph is an open-source CMDB for data center and back-office hardware. It offers features such as IP address management, device discovery, and support for multiple data center locations.
    • Cmdbuild: CMDBuild is an open-source web environment for the configuration of custom applications for asset management. It allows users to design and create their own CMDB application based on their unique requirements, imo cmdbuild is the most configurable open source cmdb i’ve found, with that level of customisation comes the price of lots of development, luckily there is a version called ready2go which has already got common data models setup for a typical IT asset management system
    • Itop:  iTop was designed with the ITIL best practices in mind but does not dictate any specific process, the application is flexible enough to adapt to your processes whether you want rather informal and pragmatic processes or a strict ITIL aligned behaviour, again this one is hard to customise, whilst it is possible to customise the system completely this is all done via xml files and having to go through the setup application after each change in order to “recompile the data models”, this does not make for a rapid development environment.
    • GLPI: GLPI is a web-based application helping companies to manage their information system. The solution is able to build an inventory of all the organisation’s assets and to manage administrative and financial tasks. The system’s functionalities help IT Administrators to create a database of technical resources, as well as a management and history of maintenance actions. Users can declare incidents or requests (based on asset or not) thanks to the Helpdesk feature.

Challenges and Considerations:

  • While open source CMDB software presents numerous advantages, there are challenges to consider. Implementation and customization require technical expertise, and ongoing community support can vary. Organisations should carefully assess their requirements, internal capabilities, and the level of community engagement before adopting an open source CMDB solution.
  • One also needs to consider the customisability of each system which range from hardly customizable (i-doit) to the most customizable (cmdbuild) and factor in the time that it will take to get a system configured exactly how you want it with the relevant data models, fields and relationships between objects, there is a development time associated with each system, some may fit your requirements entirely or just need slight alterations, whilst others may need extensive development.

Integration with DevOps and Cloud Environments:

  • As organisations increasingly embrace DevOps practices and migrate to cloud environments, open source CMDB software is evolving to meet these demands. Integration with DevOps tools and compatibility with cloud platforms are becoming essential features, enabling seamless management of assets across diverse and dynamic IT landscapes.

Future Trends:

  • Looking ahead, the future of open source CMDB software is likely to be shaped by trends such as artificial intelligence (AI) integration for predictive analytics, enhanced automation, and improved user interfaces. As organisations continue to prioritise digital transformation, open source CMDB solutions will play a crucial role in providing the necessary foundation for effective IT asset management.


Open source CMDB software has come a long way, offering organisations a flexible and cost-effective solution for managing their IT assets. With a growing number of projects and a commitment to innovation, the open source community is contributing to the evolution of CMDB software, making it an attractive choice for businesses seeking to stay ahead in the ever-changing landscape of IT management. As organisations navigate the complexities of their IT environments, open source CMDB solutions are poised to play a central role in achieving greater visibility, control, and efficiency.


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