About Relationships

Service Manager stores not only your configuration items (CIs), but the relationships between them as well. Knowing about these relationships helps you understand what could happen when an asset is modified. For example, your company's internal Wiki can be hosted on server A. A change to Server A could affect the Wiki.

Constraints can be defined to prevent relationships that do not make sense, such as "Server runs on Software," from being created. An administrator can select which parent and child CI types are allowed for each relationship type. Validation checks ensure that the constraints are enforced when a relationship is submitted or updated.

Note: No constraints are enforced if no parent and child CI types are selected, or if all of them are selected.

In addition, relationships can be used to group CIs under one main CI. For example, an IT service such as the ERP application can be defined as a CI, which is made up of an application, database, server, and network components to provide that IT service.

The Relationship Explorer displays relationships between active CIs. It graphically depicts the relationships between the currently displayed item and other items. You can view information about the related items from the graph. The Relationship Explorer is on the Relationships tab for an active configuration item, and on the CI Relationships tab for items in the Incident, Problem, and Changes applications.

Important: When a new version of CI replaces an existing CI, the relationships are automatically transferred to the new version of the item.

Navigating Relationships

The Relationship Explorer displays the relationships between CIs in a tree format. The selected CI is the primary CI and has a red border. The parent of the primary CI is always shown. By default, five levels of children from the primary CI are shown. Each CI is represented by an icon that is associated with the CI category (for details, see Associating an Icon with a CI Category).

You can do the following to navigate relationships:
  • Display the details of a CI:
    • Point your mouse over its icon to see its category, name, and type.
    • Right-click its icon and then select Show Details to open the Item Details window. The values of fields from the Details tab on the CI item are displayed.

      The Related items section at the bottom of the Item Details window contains links to reports containing the Incidents, Changes, and Problems items that are associated with this CI.

      Note: These reports match the default reports shown on the RFCs, Incidents, and Problems tabs on a CI item. The default reports will open from this window, even if the tabs were modified to point to a different report.
    • Click its title to open the CI in another window.
  • Focus the graph on another item by clicking its icon. This centers the graph on that item. To restore the original focus, click image.
  • Change the number of child relationship levels to display by moving the Levels slider.
  • Show or hide labels on the arrows in the graph by selecting or clearing the Show labels check box. The labels indicate the type of relationship that two connected CIs share.
  • Change the zoom on the graph:
    • Click the Original size icon to restore the graph to its default size.
    • Click the Zoom out icon to make the items in the graph smaller. This is useful when the graph is large because it lets you see more items.
    • Move the slider to adjust the zoom from 20% to 200%. Click the Zoom out icon to adjust the zoom smaller than 20%.
    • Click the Zoom in icon to make the items in the graph larger.
    • Click Fit to view to resize the graph so that all items fit in the current window.
  • Open the graph in another window by clicking the Open in new window icon.
  • Toggle the orientation of the graph by moving the slider to Horizontal or Vertical.

Adding a Relationship

  1. Open the active CI.
  2. Click the Relationships tab and then click Add New Relationship.
  3. A Submit form to the Relationships auxiliary table in the CMS process app is displayed. The current CI is automatically selected as the Primary CI.
  4. Select the Relationship Type and the Related CI.
  5. Click OK to submit the form.

After the relationship is added, it appears on the Relationships tab on the CI item.

Removing or Modifying a Relationship

  1. Open the active CI.
  2. Click the Relationships tab.
  3. If necessary, expand the Relationship Maintenance section. A report containing the primary relationships associated with the CI is displayed.
  4. In the report, click the relationship you want to modify or delete. The relationship opens in a new window.
  5. Use the applicable options to Update or Delete the relationship.

Adding, Updating, or Deleting a Relationship Type

  1. Open the Relationship Types auxiliary table in the CMS process app by clicking Manage Data in the Search pane or by running a report against it.
  2. Use the applicable options to add, update, or delete a relationship type.
    Note: If you select no values or all values in the Parent Types Allowed and Child Types Allowed fields, then any relationship can be defined, even one that does not make sense, such as "Laptop runs on Document."