The answer to the age old question of the difference between Configuration/Adaptation and Customization.

Document ID : KB000020536
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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This document serves to answer the age old question as to what differentiates a Configuration/Adaptation in Service Desk, versus what is considered a Customization to the product.


There are two ways you can change the CA SDM product to meet specific requirements, through customizations or adaptations. The basic out-of-the-box (OOTB) installation of the product sets up what we call the "Base Component" of the product. The OOTB install also reserves a place for adaptations (or configurations) that logically sits on top of the Base Component. The difference between Adaptations and Customizations is that Adaptations go on top ofthe base component, whereas Customizations are direct changes to the Base Component itself.

Figure 1

Ideally changes to the CA SDM application are added to the Adaptations Area instead of the Base Component. These changes are called "Adaptations". Because they sit on top of the Base Component, they can add/change functionality and/or override OOTB functionality provided in the base component. This is the preferred and supported method of changing the design of a Service Desk product component.

If the product cannot meet a specific client requirement through adaptations, the alternative is to alter the content of the Base Component. These changes are called "Customizations". They are not the preferred method and they are not supported by CA Suppport.

Adaptations have MAJOR ADVANTAGES over customizations.

  1. Adaptations are easier to identify and locate because they reside in specific areas of the database and the product.

  2. When an upgrade is made to the Base Component, the Adaptations will still be there in the product because the Adaptations Area is preserved during the upgrade process. Customizations, on the other hand, are often likely to be lost.

  3. It is relatively easy to safely and reliably migrate adaptations from one instance of CA SDM (e.g., a development or QA environment) to another (e.g., production environment).

  4. Customizations done by non-CA employees may have to be removed from the application before the product can be supported and for CA Support to perform troubleshooting in a given environment

  5. When a specific Adaptation is removed from the Adaptations Area, CA SDM reverts to whatever the base component has in its place.

  6. When a service patch is installed in the product, there is always a risk the patch will wipe out a customization, but adaptations are spared due to the awareness of them within the product itself

Examples of Adaptations/Configurations:

  1. Anything we do through the Web Client

  2. Anything we do using our tools such as pdm_edit to configure Secondary Servers

  3. Direct modification using a text editor to a "cfg" or "tpl" file such as text_api.cfg, web.cfg, as directed by any documentation or by CA Support

  4. Any changes to the Schema such as adding new fields and Tables using our tools such as Web Screen Painter and Schema Designer.

  5. Any modification to Objects or Attributes using our tools such as Web Screen Painter and Schema Designer.

Examples of Customizations:

  1. The creation of any SPEL code, MAGIC code or any scripts that add or change the out-of-the-box delivered functionality of the product

  2. The creation of scripts, web services, or other programing,; common examples are integrations with client systems.

  3. Any changes or additions to Objects, Forms, Scripts, Style Sheets, or Attributes, done outside of the provided tools such as Web Screen Painter and Schema Designer

**NOTE: Any changes made to a form by editing the form in the "source" tab in Web Screen Painter are considered to be customizations. We do NOT support changes to forms that are not made within the "design" tab in the form designer.