Five Keys to Software Audit Protection for the Data Center (Part 1)

Procrastination is something I have struggled with my entire life. Sometimes I make a task list so that I can have a visual view of all the projects I need to complete. It occurred to me that projects requiring a lot of time, or projects that are expensive, tend to be pushed down my task list. Why? It’s not easy to start a project that is hard or expensive, so for many people like myself, it is a temptation to put other less expensive and less time-consuming projects at the top of the list.

Avoid Software License Optimization Procrastination

It seems that procrastination is an epidemic across many organizations with regards to implementing a solid Software License Optimization solution for the datacenter. The reason this tends to be a problem is because it is a project that does not show direct revenue, and it will probably be expensive to initiate. For that reason, many organizations suffer from software license optimization procrastination which means, it is a project on their road map, but not yet funded. Be advised that software audits are on the rise which increases the chances that your organization will face a software audit in the near future.

In a gated Gartner report titled Surviving a Software Audit, “Gartner is increasingly seeing the threat of audit being used as a sales tool by account teams applying pressure to get contracts signed to make their internal deadlines and reach sales targets.”

Unfortunately, procrastinating software license management projects is like procrastinating the purchase of your car insurance. Sure, you might save some money driving a car without insurance but one day, that insurance could save you a lot more money. Many people who drive without insurance explain to officials that they intended to get insurance, but typically, they don’t realize how important it is until it’s too late.

Don’t procrastinate software license optimization. Start with these five keys to build and manage a software licensing solution in the data center so that your organization can avoid unexpected costs as a result of a software audit.

  • Implement Efficient Discovery Tools
  • Acquire Software License Optimization Software
  • Partner with Software License Experts
  • Create Accurate Software Asset Reports
  • Incorporate Change Management Processes

1. Implement Efficient Discovery Tools

Discovery tools need to be able to discover all software in the data center and the end points connected to the network. Without accurate discovery data, it will be impossible to calculate software entitlement licenses. The challenge many organizations struggle with is properly discovering the data in the data center.

For effective License Positions across multiple vendors such as IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft, it is important to have discovery tools in the data center with the following capabilities:

  • Ability to collect hardware and software records from any data center environment including but not limited to:
    • Windows
    • Unix
    • Linux
    • HPUX,
    • AIX
    • Solaris
    • All Hypervisors and servers in the cloud
  • Ability to accurately interpret Hypervisor processor and core usage in all environments
  • Ability to map servers from Cluster – Host – Hypervisor to create a full relationship view of the estate
  • Ability to map dependencies of servers and services across all software

2. Acquire Software License Optimization Software

Software license optimization tools manage and monitor metrics over a diverse product range. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to manually manage their software licenses in the data center. Although the initial costs that are required to setup a software optimization tool might seem expensive, it is much less expensive than the costs of penalties resulting from a software audit.

Gartner says “Optimizing complex licenses manually is labor-intensive; it requires specialized knowledge and does not scale. Larger enterprises will need a SAM tool. A SAM tool can automate, accelerate, and improve manual processes. It can pay dividends over manual alternatives, and can often pay for itself.”

Efficient software optimization tools will be able to navigate complex software bundling suites against software licensing policies and rules. Be sure to choose software optimization tools with the ability to calculate software licenses by:

  • Processor
  • Named User
  • Core Factor Table (A core or CPU is not a Processor!)
  • Business Objects (CPU licensing)

Software optimization tools need to be able to apply all current and legacy metrics, in addition to working with the following configurations and environments:

  • Partitioning & virtualization configurations
  • Database recovery environments
  • VDI solutions

Additional features to look for when choosing a software optimization solution can include:

  • Data center optimization, using all current and legacy metrics and rules
  • Accurate Office 365 licensing per user
  • Accurate MSDN licensing
  • Full license mobility
  • SAP Support
  • Product “Engines,” multitude of “User” licenses & levels
  • Specific rule calculation capabilities such as Indirect Use
  • LAW and USMM data analysis and reporting
  • Contract specific license optimization
  • Direct and Indirect application access normalization

Part 2

In the next installment of this two part series, I will cover the importance of partnering with software license experts in addition to the importance of maintaining current and accurate software asset reports. Furthermore, I will discuss how enforcing change management processes will protect your organization against falling out of compliance with your software license agreements.