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Whether and how to model virtual servers for applications

  • 4 April 2024
  • 7 replies


Any on-premise application (let’s call one here ABC) is typically hosted on one or several physical or virtual servers (let’s have here 2 virtual servers SRV123 and SRV456). These servers have often but not always the same OS (let’s say here Windows Server 2019 for both SRV123 and SRV456) and different purposes with different components (let’s say here SRV123 is the web application server with IIS 10.0 and SRV456 the database server with SQL Server 2019). They also run on different pieces of hardware or a single one (let’s say here that SRV123 and SRV456 run on 2 different Dell PowerEdge R550 Rack Server units).

In my example, Application ABC would have relations with the following IT Components in LeanIX:

  • Software: Microsoft Windows Server 2019 + Microsoft IIS 10.0 + Microsoft SQL Server 2019,
  • Hardware: Dell PowerEdge R550 Rack Server.

But SRV123 and SRV456 servers actually appear nowhere in this model:

  • Of course, they’re not Applications,
  • They could be IT Components, but none of the standard subtypes apply and there’s no relations with other IT Components to model their hardware/software composition.

In V3 metamodel, there was the optional Tech Platform fact sheet type, that had exactly this purpose of modeling compositions of IT Components to build Applications upon. In V4, the Platform fact sheet type has a more strategic purpose driven by Objectives, Initiatives and Business Capabilities, and thus does no longer fulfill this more granular technical composition purpose.

So, because I guess it’s a very common use case, what would be the best V4 practice in modeling such virtual (or physical) servers that host Applications:

  1. Extend the IT Component fact sheet by adding missing subtypes and relations with other IT Components?
  2. Still enable and use the optional V3 Tech Platform fact sheet in addition to V4 Application, IT Component and Platform fact sheets?
  3. Create my own new fact sheet type, but then why is it no longer part of V4 metamodel?
  4. Do nothing because LeanIX is not a CMDB, but then why should we be denied the opportunity to map in LeanIX diagrams these important core architecture nodes?

Many thanks.

7 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +2

Hi @Nicolas P., I have a few reference models on how I usually connect the LeanIX data model with the CMDB data model in my projects. Those models also show how I deal with physical/virtual servers and their installed components / operating systems etc. If you are interested, I can show and explain them to you. Feel free to get in touch via direct message.

Userlevel 4

@Nicolas P. V4 of the meta-model has two platform subtypes: Digital (i.e. business centric and strategic) and Technical (which equates to the old Tech Platform factsheet in V3).

You could then use the Platform (Technical) to model, and/or also use the IT Component Factsheet (with new subtypes) as relationships are available to the same factsheet type now, as well as the existing parent/child and requires/required by.

Yes use the CMDB as a source for this via an integration but try not to manage this level of detail manually.

Userlevel 2

Hi @Justin Swift, just wonder what you mean with Tech Platform. Do you mean the Tech Category Fact Sheet? We never used it so far as a tech platform but as a way to classify tech or applications. Just wonder if this best practice to use that fact sheet type as the “old” tech platform.

Hi @andreh. We’re not talking here about the Tech Category fact sheet, but the optional Tech Platform fact sheet that was part of the V3 metamodel ant that is now replaced with the Platform fact sheet in V4, although it’s slightly different.

@Justin Swift, I don’t see any subtypes in Platform fact sheet. Have these been recently added to the metamodel?

Userlevel 4

@Justin Swift, I don’t see any subtypes in Platform fact sheet. Have these been recently added to the metamodel?

@Nicolas P. Sorry for the confusion. We added the sub-types when we converted from Meta-model V3 as we already had the optional Technical Platform factsheet in use, so renamed and amended this factsheet type rather than creating the new one as suggested in configuring for V4.

We chose the “Digital” and “Technical” subtypes because they were mentioned in the documentation best practice guidelines as two distinct use cases Platform ( and because we wanted an easy way to differentiate them and their use.

So we use Digital platforms for grouping applications and Technical platforms for grouping IT Components. Hope this helps clarify.

Yes. Thank you, @Justin Swift.