Configuration management

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Configuration Management, or CM, is the discipline of computing which focuses on controlling and keeping track of information and versions.

There are three broad disciplines of configuration management:

  • Software Configuration Management involves control of the source code files used to generate software. This allows developers to retract changes that proved to be non-useful. Also, it allows the development of different versions of software. For instance, a company might develop a new game for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Many files might be in common between the two, but others might be different. Software configuration management allows the developers to easily contribute to both.
  • Hardware Configuration Management involves tracking of physical computing resources and detailed descriptions of them.
  • Document Management involves tracking of versions of documents.

In all but the smallest projects, software tools are used for all three disciplines. There vary from something as simple as a spreadsheet listing of hardware projects, to high end, very expensive, commercial tools.