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In information technology, a configuration item is a component of a system that can be identified as a self-contained unit for purposes of change control and identification. In other words, version numbers and configuration item registration codes help in uniquely identifying configuration items. Configuration items play an important role in configuration management systems. The versions and changes of configuration items form a major part of any configuration audits.
A configuration item can not only be at the most atomic level, but also can consist of a more complex assembly of other configuration items. In other words, a configuration item can be a primitive component or an aggregate of other configuration items. In fact, the level at which a configuration item is considered as primitive or aggregate is often decided by the system in which it is created, maintained and managed. With the help of processes and tools, configuration management looks after the configuration items, especially with regards to change management, status accounting, identification and any audits. Common configuration types include software, hardware, communications, location and documentation. Configuration items have specific attributes as well as relationships that are often unique for configuration items underneath them in the particular system.
Configuration items help in identifying the components of a system. In configuration management it helps in tracking the granular changes and helps in system maintenance as well for any possible error detection.