Inventory Management: get a complete picture of your enterprise

Inventory management is probably one of the oldest processes in IT. It is responsible for gathering and tracking detailed hardware inventory information (some of it has been ingrained in IT since the first data centers). It is vital for every aspect of the enterprise. Let’s take a closer look at inventory management, but first we should look at where we have been.

 

In my first blog, “Are you succeeding with your New Year’s resolution to take firm control of your software assets?” I wrote about the challenges that complex licensing rules and vendor audits pose to IT. In my second blog, “Find money in your software licenses”, I discussed the challenges of “over-compliance” when organizations over-spend on software licenses. As I already discussed in these blogs, the solution for software asset management entails four-core processes and the tools which automate them.

 

The importance of discovery and inventory for your software

In software asset management, the purpose of discovery and inventory is to obtain data from the hardware and software and understand the relationship between them. This is the essential foundation for computing and it helps you gain an understanding of the required licenses—and ultimately for compliance status. The inventory data is also the basis for resource optimization, cost and risk reduction. You need to know what software has been deployed and on which hardware, by whom and how often the software is used. Discovery needs to provide details such as hardware characteristics that could influence license consumption and the quantity of processors or the number of cores per processor. The inventory discovery output needs to be meaningful.  A composite application can consist of tens of components and hundreds or thousands of files, which needs to be summarized in single application information. The discovery of an application does not tell us anything about required licenses; this is defined in the application license contracts. For example, it may require a single license for everyone or it can require a license for each user accessing it.

 

How do you examine your licenses?

The automated license discovery process counts the licenses installed usually through the discovery of SKU (stock keeping unit) numbers. These SKUs will be used later, in compliance management process, to map the discovered product to usage rights and enable automated compliance and license optimization.

Corporate governance and policies define what software can be used to adhere to organizational technical standards. Here as well, the inventory process helps detect software installed against the company’s standards or software installed by unauthorized users.  The inventory process acts as an organizational system with prevention and defense capabilities.

One of the most important use cases of discovery and inventory management is found by measuring software usage. This is important when the application is licensed per named users. By measuring software usage you can find out if it is actually worth the expense involved. Just remember, the needs of many users can often be satisfied by less expensive software versions. This can be proved by measuring how often employees as a whole (or singularly) use the applications and what particular functionality they use.

 

Examine the numbers to find your best solution

Even if your organization has an ELA (enterprise license agreement) with a vendor that allows you to follow the software by every user in the organization (which is very rare case), it is still very beneficial to precisely measure the usage. You may discover that only 30 percent of your users use one application, and 70 percent use a second application from the ELA package. If you see trends like this, you will need to calculate different options for your situation. It may turn out that it is not worth renewing the ELA with the vendor, but instead purchase the second application for only 70 percent of your employees.

It is also important to detect any offline devices which potentially might have been retired, but the licenses were not re-allocated.  The failure to re-use licenses from decommissioned machines, (when this is allowed) represents waste of money for an organization. Even when the license keys are tied to hardware, it is possible to work with the vendor and trade the used license from retired machine for new license keys to be used on a new machine. I recommend working with your vendor’s to see if there is a possible solution.

 

HP offers a software product for automated inventory discovery and dependency mapping, Universal Discovery (UD). HP UD is used to continuously discover all installed software, while HP Service Anywhere (SAM) software performs the business slicing and dicing of the discovered data. It gives you the insight you need for entitlements, actual usage, costs and compliance. HP Universal Discovery for Oracle License Management Implementation software (UD for Oracle Licensin... is verified by Oracle. This tool can discover Oracle databases, database options, management packs and hardware information using Oracle LMS methodologies and meeting Oracle’s exacting standards. The results delivered using HP UD for Oracle Licensing are accepted by Oracle, as if collected by their own LMS engagement team. You can read more about HP UD for Oracle Licensing here.

HP SAM solution can leverage out-of-the-box inventory data from many other products, such as Microsoft SCCM, LANDesk Inventory Manager, Altiris Inventory solution, etc.

In my next post, I will look into SAM’s second process, License management.

 

For more information about HP Software Asset Management please visit www.hp.com/go/assetmanagementsoftware

 

Vesna Soraic

Comments
Pasol | ‎02-26-2013 12:10 AM

How could data be imported from UD to AM? Nowhere can find detailed information about it.

nrousseau | ‎03-19-2013 04:00 PM

Hello,

 

The UCMDb push adaptor is now what imports the data into Asset Manager.

Once you have UCMDB, you will have the documentations, particularly the datta flow management that ypu can find on: http://support.openview.hp.com/selfsolve/document/KM1413079/binary/UCMDB10.00_DataFlow_MgmtGuide.pdf...

 

The help button in the AM adaptor will open the related documentation.

I hope it helps,

 

Best regards,

 

Nicolas

 

UCMDB Doc.png

nrousseau | ‎03-19-2013 06:22 PM

I got confirmation of the precise place: UCMDB integration guide, p89...

Pasol | ‎03-29-2013 12:30 AM

Thnks Nicolas,

I have tested out-of-box connector, yet. It work, in general.

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About the Author
Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marke...


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