'IT genome' an effort to map tech 'DNA'

BDNA is launching Technopedia, a portal for IT asset data

IT discovery vendor BDNA on Wednesday unveiled Technopedia, what it calls the world's first "IT Genome," a regularly updated encyclopedia of information on every type of enterprise software and hardware platform.

The vendor positions itself as an adjunct to CMDB (configuration management database) platforms such as IBM's Tivoli, which IT shops have long used to track their computing assets. BDNA's IT discovery tools scan systems for information about what is installed and in service, theoretically allowing customers to spot and get rid of waste.

Technopedia builds upon BDNA's existing catalog of IT product information. It will be organized into "sequences" for various types of software and hardware.

For example, a Dell sequence would contain every hardware product the company makes along with model numbers, CPU speed, core dimensions, energy ratings and product lifecycle dates. Customers could then use the sequence to calculate aggregate power consumption or to plan new hardware purchases.

BDNA is also selling a "normalization" offering, which takes a company's existing IT asset data and formats it into the Technopedia taxonomy, and an "enrichment" process that adds more detail to existing information. They are available as services now and in product form in the fourth quarter.

A team based in China is "continuously scouring sources of information" to update Technopedia, according to Ido Sarig, chief marketing officer. Updates will occur on a regular basis in the case of top-tier products, as well as in response to market events such as company mergers or rebranding efforts.

Customers can also request that information for other products be refreshed.

BDNA's long-term vision is to create a community of content providers for Technopedia. It will make an announcement later this year around user-generated content and may move to a three-tier system consisting of information provided by users, vendors and BDNA itself.

"We think vendors will have huge incentive to provide to ensure control quality, and we probably will be able to charge them," Sarig said. In contrast to BDNA's own information, user-generated content would be marked as being of "unvetted" quality, he said.

Technopedia, which is accessible through a portal, received an approving nod from Forrester Research analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani.

"The idea of normalizing the data is important and a library is important. I don't know anyone else doing it," Garbani said

But Garbani noted that Technopedia is only "an enabler of something else," not a solution on its own. "It provides information, but that information needs to be used by another product."

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