Configuration Management and Release Management

I keep hearing these term, Configuration Management and Release Management. I am slowly coming to some awkward conclusions about them. Before I come to a final conclusion, though, I would like your help: What do these terms mean to you? Are they helpful? Do they represent opportunities for improvement? In what environments should you be using the term?

Before I come to a conclusion, I’d like to hear what you have to say. I appreciate the input.

6 comments on “Configuration Management and Release Management

  1. Configuration Management to me is managing the various configs required for the varying platforms supported. For ex: we support 2 platforms and 4 product versions on 3 iSeries versions. Since we redesigned security in the more recent releases, config such as Apache server info is slightly different for different versions. Also when customers convert their db during installation, some db are not restored the same in each version. I created my own 'config reference' to help me keep these variances straight.

    Release Management to me means 1) for Defect Tracking (and fixing) which version was the bug found in? fixed in? 2) maintaining the version listing in whatever software (SDLC or defect tracking software)needs to be updated; 3) when a release occurs, tracking the code freeze date, release date, date the release was communicated to the customers.

  2. Matt,

    Configuration management and Release management might be terms of the ITIL IT services framework, along with change management and other "management" activities.

    Depending on your environment* and framework, it can be a good framework to align with. (Context-context-context).

    /Jesper
    (*: DK government require ITIL in their bid material for IT projects.)

  3. Thanks for the comments; I'm going to take a 2nd shot at CM and RM later in the week, and I'd appreciate more feedback. 🙂

  4. I'm going try to use my understanding of what they mean rather than rattling off the ITIL definitions, which I think is what you asked for:

    Configuration management is the process of knowing and keeping track of what is intended to be in some system at some point in time or based on some criteria; IE what that system 'should' or 'is intended to' look like with a particular configuration.

    Release management is the verification that whatever was intended to be deployed together as part of a configuration is contained within a 'release' and that it meets some established/predetermined criteria to be released.

    They are designed to work together, and along with other management

  5. I believe Mark has a good definition.

    I would also add that Configuration Management would cover the software\systems that are needed to support your software.

    Whereas release management would usually be tracking the movement of your software through various systems\processes (as Laura indicates).

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