September 12, 2008

Configuration Management Tool

Configuration Management (CM) is a tool that is used to manage change. Let's say Rohit and Raj are both tech writers and both are working on updates to a technical manual. During a meeting, their manager assigns them each a section of the same document to update.

The technical manual is stored on a computer that both can access. Without any CM tool or process in place, a number of problems could arise. One possible scenario is the computer storing the document might be set up so that Rohit and Raj can not both work on the manual at the same time. This would slow them down considerably.
A more dangerous situation arises when the storage computer does allow the document to be opened by both Rohit and Raj at the same time. Here is what could happen:

  1. Rohit opens the document on his computer and works on his section.

  2. Raj opens the document on his computer and works on his section.

  3. Rohit completes his changes and saves the document on the storage computer.

  4. Raj completes his changes and saves the document on the storage computer.
CM systems are based on a simple idea: the definitive copies of your files are kept in a central repository. People check out copies of files from the repository, work on those copies, and then check them back in when they are finished. SCM systems manage and track revisions by multiple people against a single master set.

VSS, IBM ClearCase are most popular CM Tool use by software companies.

Benefits of Configuration Management Tool


  • Optimize build times, improve reproducibility of builds

  • Manage files, directories and other development assets across the lifecycle

  • Work on the same code or release, more easily resolve conflicts, reduce confusion, and get more done in a short amount of time

  • Manage and control software assets across the lifecycle

  • Work on the same code or release, more easily resolve conflicts, reduce confusion, and get more done in a short amount of time

  • Fast access to virtually any version of any element

  • Continue development efforts while disconnected from the network, easily synchronize changes when reconnected to the network

  • Allow developers to work in their preferred environment

  • Trace the origin and detail of changes made to software assets, help meet compliance requirements

  • Manage and control software assets across the lifecycle

  • Support evolving organizational needs
-Rohit Sharma

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