About Relationships

SSM 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 graphical format. The parent of the primary CI is always shown. By default, five levels of children from the primary CI are shown, but you can change this using the Rollup level slider. 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:
    • Click a CI to view its details. 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.
  • Focus the graph on another item by clicking its icon. This centers the graph on that item. To restore the original focus, click the refresh icon.
  • Change the number of child relationship levels to display by moving the Rollup level slider.

Adding a Relationship

  1. Open the active CI.
  2. Click the CI Relationships tab and then click Add 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.

Removing or Modifying a Relationship

  1. Open the active CI.
  2. Click the CI 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 your user avatar and selecting Manage Data or by running a report against the table.
  2. Update the Relationship Type and 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."