Data Center Asset Management is challenging and highly complex
Whilst your initial focus for SAM may be on the desktop it has been estimated that 80% of software spend now takes place within the data center, so the need to manage and optimize license spend there is critical. However, the complexities of various vendor licensing programs, different metrics and associated stipulations around installation, usage, virtualization etc. make optimization easier said than done. This means that not only is your data center software licensing prone to non-compliance, but you are probably wasting money on unnecessary licenses.
Oracle licensing rules are notoriously complex and through their License Management Services Division they will rigorously ensure compliance. This business practice means that Oracle is routinely within the top 5 vendors likely to audit, so it makes sense to pro-actively manage their software in order to drive the best possible value.
If organizations are found to be using unauthorized or unlicensed Oracle software, it may result in a breach of contract and/or violation of intellectual property rights. This could lead to financial penalties and risk of significant un-budgeted spend.
This complexity means that it can be easier than you think for organizations to unintentionally break their contractual agreements with Oracle – it is difficult to manage Oracle licenses and hard to control utilization. This is true for Oracle software across even small estates.
Oracle is not just about databases. There is a number of additional solutions which organizations have to manage, including Middleware and E-Business Suite, all of which add their own complexities to Oracle licensing. Key factors which need to be considered include:
- Oracle License Agreements
- Order Documents
- Terms and Conditions
- Metric Definitions
- Core Factors
- Product minimums
As always, the biggest risk is change: when something changes within the Oracle landscape all of these factors need to be assessed to quantify the potential impact.
IBM licensing, with its component, product and bundle elements, is intensely complicated. For their most popular license metric, PVU, IBM’s licensing terms and conditions (International Passport Advantage Agreement Section 1.14) state that end users are required to utilize ILMT, TAD4D or Bigfix to capture inventory data which is then used for evaluating licensing requirements. However, ILMT is notoriously difficult to manage and maintain from a resource, skills, time and cost perspective. Also, ILMT has certain limitations all of which probably leaves you feeling as though your hands are tied.
Microsoft in the Data Center
With new licensing rules introduced for Windows Server 2016, many organizations face a confusing period whilst they upgrade and transition their existing server software to the new agreements. From differing virtualization rights between different editions to moving from processor-based licensing to one based on cores, the changes need to be understood to ensure you do not unwittingly become non-compliant.
As it is likely that these rules will be adopted by all future Microsoft server products, it is vital that you have a full understanding of exactly what software you have installed and also the type of hardware it is running on.
Complex Named User and Package license metrics make the management of SAP licensing notoriously challenging, difficult to measure and time-consuming. The costs of getting it wrong can easily run into millions of dollars. SAP licensing terms and conditions stipulate that end-users have to submit at least an annual measurement which is subsequently analyzed against entitlement to calculate any licensing shortfall. Like many organizations, you may rely solely on SLAW (SAP License Administration Workbench) for license management and reporting purposes. However, SLAW does not provide you with everything you need to produce an optimized license position. What happens when you need the correct license position immediately to respond to an identified problem or prepare for an upcoming event?
What if one of the following applies to you?
- Are you rolling out more SAP and need to buy more licenses but feel you already have shelfware?
- Have you been given notice of an audit and do not feel confident about your position?
- Do you have an annual measurement coming up and know that you are not in good shape?
- Have you received a bill from SAP that you do not believe to be correct?
- Do you want to move to the Cloud and need to understand the licensing implications?
- Are you going through a merger and acquisition process or divestment and need to ensure the correct number of licenses are available, but do not want to over license and increase maintenance unnecessarily?
- Are you standardizing ERP on SAP across the business and need more licenses?
- Have you been notified by SAP that you have Indirect Access or are you concerned that you do?
- Have you received an unexpected bill for more licenses post-SLAW run?
- Are you approaching contract renegotiation and need all the facts regarding usage of SAP?
SLAW is set up to work in SAP’s favor and is not as detailed as an SAP license optimization and management solution. It is not set up to capture instances of severe over-licensing or identify opportunities for optimization. Problems encountered include: incorrectly assigned licenses, insufficient information on which to build licensing optimization, and allocation of high value license types default.
From a risk perspective, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and its European equivalent, places clear responsibilities on companies establishing and testing procedures and internal controls for financial reporting. A key part of this is understanding and managing risk, particularly where it relates to the use of computer systems. With regard to your SAP system there are two main areas that need to be considered in this context. Segregation of duties: users with a combination of access that can lead to financial loss; and critical access: users that have a single level of access that is deemed critical.
Finally, it is better to be on the front foot regarding indirect access, to know where you stand and to have had time to discover the financial impact where indirect access applies and to have had a chance to optimize the position wherever possible.
Whatever Your Data Center Asset Management Challenge, Certero Has It Covered
Certero is able to deliver exactly the same compliance, cost and utilization improvements for licensing in the data center as for the desktop, including managing all the complexities associated with Data Center Asset Management. The highest levels of automation come as standard, improving accuracy and efficiency.
Oracle Software Asset Management
Certero for Oracle is one of a few solutions covering Database, Middleware and E-Business Suite. Certero for Oracle is able to accurately capture entitlement, reduce the risk of surprises by robust discovery of the Oracle estate, automatically capture a complete and thorough inventory (with associated consideration of virtualization technology, partitioning etc.), culminating in the establishment of an optimized Effective License Position (ELP).
In the increasingly likely event of an Oracle audit, Certero for Oracle automates compliance; evidence can be substantiated in one click, instantly removing ambiguity. Out-dated, inaccurate and manually-intensive methods, calling on the skills of scarce, highly knowledgeable Oracle licensing consultants, are a thing of the past. Once you have Certero for Oracle in your corner, you will never lose an argument with Oracle again.
IBM Software Asset Management
With Certero for IBM, Certero is one of only a few vendors able to provide detailed discovery and inventory of IBM software coupled with highly automated optimized license management and compliance.
With a unique automated approach, which eliminates over-reliance on time-consuming and error-strewn manual process, Certero for IBM overcomes all these shortcomings.
Passport Advantage data is easily imported and sophisticated automation is utilized to streamline the process, reduce error and generate accurate entitlement. Certero for IBM will recognize the product and understand its upgrade, downgrade, virtual environment and general product usage rights. This intelligence is built into the solution for literally thousands of IBM products and will even form a view of which products can be part of bundles.
Once the component-to-product-to-bundle relationships have been established, entitlement is automatically reconciled against inventoried deployment and usage data to create sub-capacity consumption reports. Relevant product use rights are fully considered and help ensure a clear effective license position. This can be used independently of ILMT, or in conjunction to provide a comparable report, supporting verification and quality assurance processes.
The reporting capabilities of Certero for IBM are second to none. Sub-capacity license reports can be generated, either on-screen allowing drill-downs and various product views, or as a detailed report that can be used for further assessment. Both are sufficient to allow informed business decisions to be made on IBM software product usage and strategy across the infrastructure.
Microsoft in the Data Center
Certero offers a specific solution to manage Microsoft licensing and the hardware it is running on. Understand what, where and how your data center software is being used.
SAP Software Asset Management
Certero for SAP Applications is an easy-to-use, highly automated, SAP solution that gives you control to proactively manage your SAP estate and optimize usage. Through Certero for SAP Applications you can be safe in the knowledge that, when the time comes to formally submit your annual measurement, there will not be any nasty surprises. It does this by removing complexity and reducing the manual effort required to assess the license position, by performing a deeper and more relevant analysis of Named Users, Packages and Indirect Access.
Certero for SAP Applications is designed to work in your favor and has a flexible rule builder that enables Named User and Package Licenses to be easily defined, analyzed and measured. If you license by role, Certero provides market leading analysis of roles and authorizations across your SAP systems, also taking into account actual usage.
Certero for SAP Applications is a finely-tuned, high-performance, highly automated solution built on the latest technology and essentially eliminates key tasks which previously had to be carried out by SAP licensing consultants.
Certero for SAP Applications runs offline in a Windows environment; data from SAP is captured through a connector, so at no time is there any threat of disruption to your business-critical operations.
The rich information captured by Certero’s solution enables the generation of a fully optimized compliance report including the following:
- the ‘current’ or baseline view as reported in SLAW
- the optimized view achieved by analyzing roles and allocations and actual usage information. The associated monetary value for each license type is also generated; so as changes are made, you are able to instantly see the impact and demonstrate the value of using the solution
Although not directly related to software asset management, Certero for SAP Applications has Risk Analysis and Control Reporting which helps address financial and security control challenges by providing information on users and roles that have the potential to perform and carry out actions associated to risks. Rule sets enable the analysis of risks in one or more SAP systems. Owners can be defined and associated to a risk or critical action. Roles and authorizations can be analyzed and assigned to help identify and address potential conflicts of interest. Role and transaction data for a particular user can be captured and analyzed to identify where risks may have been realized. The system can be set up to provide notification of violations allowing action or mitigation to be undertaken. This facilitates an understanding of the scope of sensitive functionalities and segregation of duty conflicts behind key business processes, as well as enabling the identification and mitigation of any conflicts among the SAP user population.
Certero’s Data Center Asset Management solutions remove the mystery of complex licensing program, putting you in control, optimizing utilization, minimizing cost and assuring compliance
All Certero’s Data Center Asset Management solutions (covering Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP) are designed to run independently or together holistically and optimally with all Certero products via the Certero Management Platform, comprising one single data source, one UI and one UX. This means administrators can reach operational competency quickly and with minimal training overheads, whilst on-going support is simplified and overall costs reduced
Certero’s highly automated Data Center Asset Management solutions minimize the need for manual intervention, improving accuracy and reducing any reliance on ineffective tools which cannot deliver, or expensive licensing consultants
Parameter driven BI reporting, via Acquaintia, transforms all your raw data into useful knowledge, allowing you to manage all your software assets across your entire IT estate efficiently, effectively and dynamically
With Certero in your corner, you will never lose an argument with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or SAP again