Which is Better for SAM – Agent or Agent-less Discovery?

Jan 2, 2017

Is agent-based discovery best for SAM? Or is agent-less discovery the better option?


If you are implementing a Software Asset Management program in your organization and are looking at purchasing a solution to help you, you will need to consider whether you wish to utilize agent or agent-less discovery technologies. Some solutions offer only an agent approach for discovery, whilst others do the opposite.

So, which is the best for you? Well, the answer really depends on your particular circumstances, what you are looking to achieve from your SAM program and how you want to manage your IT estate.


Discovery: Find Everything on your Networks

Before you can start to manage anything on your network you need to know, firstly what is there and secondly what exactly it is. This may sound obvious but some solutions seem to ignore this basic fact. For example, how can you deploy an agent to something you do not know exists or say like a switch, cannot have an agent installed?

The simple fact is you can’t. So, although an agent only approach provides more real-time information there are some situations when it falls down. Similarly, an agent-less only approach has its shortfalls, for example if you have remote workers who rarely connect to the corporate network, you will have intermittent and out-of-date information on what is on their device, which is not good for SAM.

Both discovery approaches can have positive and negatives dependent on your organization.


Coping with Changing Environments

By now, you can probably see the answer to the question posed in the title of this article – both. Unless you have a discovery tool that you can rely on to find 100% of your IT estate, you will initially need agent-less technology. This will discover not just the PCs, laptops and servers on your network, but also switches, printers and other connected things like IoT devices.

The latter particularly is becoming more of an issue as a lot of IoT devices are now being connected to the corporate network and many of them have poor security. If these are used without a BYOD policy and are undiscovered, they pose a serious threat to the security of your corporate network.

Once you know, with 100% certainty, exactly what is out there, you can plan and deploy your agents to devices where an agent can be installed, to ensure you are getting a full inventory of all the software installed across which devices.


Uniting Agent and Agent-less Discovery

You may not need or want to deploy agents to all machines, with examples where this may not work, including:

  • Servers are usually never switched off and are always connected to the network.
  • You may not be allowed to put agents on hardware in your datacentre.

Therefore, a hybrid approach of agent and agent-less discovery is required. This will ensure you can get all the up-to-date and detailed inventory and usage information you need for SAM purposes, as well as allowing you to easily install updates and patches.


Certero: Support Agent and Agent-less Discovery

Fortunately, the Certero SAM solutions offer such a hybrid approach. With multi-layered discovery to find all devices, it allows you to implement an agent and agent-less strategy across your organization enabling you to get full and detailed information on all your IT estate.

If you want to find out how you can implement agent or agent-less discovery, please contact Certero.

Follow us on Linkedin for more Cloud


Read more like this from

Ready to Speak to the Team that Makes Our Customers So Happy?

Certero's [software-as-a-service] Solution

Certero help organizations transform their outdated operations and technologies in days and weeks not years. All of Certero’s solutions can be delivered as SaaS with no loss of functionality. 

Certero Unified Platform
Learn more about Certero’s truly unique ‘unified’ platform.

Digital Transformation Edition
Transform in days and weeks, not months and years, start your journey now.

Verified Oracle LMS/GLAS Solution
Verified LMS (License Management Services), now GLAS (Global Licensing & Advisory Services) solution.

Cloud Management
Manage Visibility, Cost and Governance of your Cloud Resources 

Enterprise Standard Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
Default solution to manage ITAM/SAM for a Wintel environment. 

Enterprise Premium Edition - ITAM / SAM for Wintel
All you need in one place to manage your ITAM/SAM for a Wintel & Citrix environment. 

Stand-a-lone or holistic solutions for IBM, SAP and Oracle.

Software License Compliance
One Stop Shop, products and services for any solution – all in one

Business Intelligence Solution
See how to turn DATA into INFORMATION then transform into KNOWLEDGE, all in a few clicks. 

IT Asset Visibility
Find out: What do I own? Where is it located? Who is using it?

ITSM & CMDB Integration 
Populating the CMDB with ‘Quality’ asset information is more critical than ever

SaaS Subscription Management
Discover, manage and optimize your SaaS investments.

Everything in One place, True Unification

IT Hardware, Software, SaaS and Cloud Asset Management products that can run ‘stand-a-lone’ or ‘holistically’ and optimally together as a single solution, no dependencies. True unification across all asset and platforms and all delivered as SaaS. All of Certero’s products have the best TTV (Time to Value) by some distance.

Certero for Enterprise ITAM
Networks, printers, routers, Wintel, Mac, Linux, zLinux, Unix, all virtualizations and much more....

Certero for Enterprise SAM
Focused on Wintel software vendors, including automated solutions for Microsoft, Adobe and much more...

Certero App Centre 
Enterprise ‘Application Portal’ for Self-Service application provisioning.

Certero for Mobile
Go beyond standard MDM and deliver full management and security for your mobile workforce.

Certero SRDB (Software Recognition)
Transform raw software inventory data into actionable intelligence about application usage and licensing.

Certero for Oracle 
Optimize your Oracle Database, Middleware and E-Business Suite applications.

Certero for IBM
Discover and manage all IBM software & entitlements across the network. Dual Inventory, ILMT and Certero.

Certero for SAP Applications
Managing and automating the analysis of complex SAP named user and engine licenses across your estate. 

An intuitive self-service password reset solution that can reduce service desk calls by 30%. 

PC Power Management solution. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice

Rated #1 for SAM Customer Satisfaction year after year, after year

For the latest in ITAM, SAM, Cloud and SaaS Asset Management

White Papers and eBooks 
Download the latest white papers and eBooks for key insights and guides.

Read the latest news from Certero and the industry.

Events and Webinars
Keep up to date with Certero's latest webinars and events.


View our range of product videos, webinars and customer case studies. 

Data Sheets
Download our datasheets which highlight the key benefits and features of our world class products and services. 

Case Studies 
See how organization around the globe change they way they [Do IT].

We think [and do] IT Differently

We don’t believe in claiming to be something we’re not. We will not do mediocre, average, indifferent, or outdated. We are different and will do it differently.

About Us
Get to know us more

Our Story
See how our approach is different

Our Journey
A timeline of events

Our Vision, Mission and Purpose
Mission, Purpose and Values

Browse our current roles

Find our nearest location