Discovering what is on your network, both hardware and software, is always an activity fraught with uncertainty. You may be using Microsoft AD and SCCM to produce your inventory of your Microsoft estate, but this leaves gaps. For example, AD Group Policy does not pick up things like Linux/UNIX boxes, DMZ, Macs or anything in a workgroup or other domains. So depending on this for your inventory gives you an incomplete picture. The ideal would be to utilize a comprehensive discovery tool, but you may be put off by the expected cost. But, look at this way. You may be happy accepting 90% or 95% accuracy for your inventory using AD and SCCM. But, if you have say 5000 devices on your network, this means you are effectively missing between 250 and 500 of these.
If you consider the average cost of a laptop is around $300, then between $75,000 and $150,000 worth of hardware is missing. In many cases the software on these devices can cost considerably more. So as an accurate figure we probably need to double those amounts.
When compared against these losses, the costs of a good discovery tool suddenly seems a lot more attractive!
Key attributes of a good discovery tool
Having made the decision to invest in one, what are the attributes of a good discovery tool? What you should be considering is the following:
- Auto-discovery – this is vital as it is where you will close the gap of missing devices and enable you justify paying for the tool without any other functionality.
- Scope – Where do you want to discover your assets? Is it just limited to the desktop? What about virtual environments, the datacentre or the cloud? Also, what about mobile devices which are increasing in every organization now?
- Agent or agent-less – your tool should be able to support both as some assets will only be discovered by one of these methods.
- Usage monitoring – not necessarily a part of discovery but an important consideration if you are looking moving beyond just finding what’s out there and are aiming to optimize your software licenses to deliver significant cost savings going forward..
Complete visibility of your entire IT estate
There are a large number of tools out there that offer some, but not all of these attributes. So, if you are keen on moving beyond basic ITAM and into SAM and SLO, you need to make sure that all are met.
Fortunately, the AssetStudio SAM suite products on the Certero platform meet these criteria. From comprehensive auto discovery – agent or agent-less, through detailed usage monitoring to covering everything from mobile devices, desktops, the datacentre and the cloud, they deliver a total solution for SAM and SLO.
Developed from the ground up as a single platform (not a collection of bought-in products with disparate data feeds, databases and UIs) they offer integrated reporting via a common database and GUI to give complete visibility of your entire IT estate.
Find out more about the AssetStudio for Enterprise SAM,