Get Clarity into Windows-Based Endpoints via IBM Tivoli

Want to drive up ROI? Manage your IT assets more effectively.

Tivoli Beat - A weekly IBM service management perspective.If you're looking to maximize IT return on investment, asset management solutions are a great place to start. Among other key benefits they deliver:

Software utilization is key to effective IT asset management

“Understanding how software has been deployed, and how that compares to the actual number of licensed copies an organization owns, is critical. Equally important: understanding when software copies are actually creating value and when they are going largely unused.”This last category, software tracking, is particularly important since, unlike physical assets, new iterations of software can be, and are, continually created in most infrastructures.

Understanding how software has been deployed, and how that compares to the actual number of licensed copies an organization owns, is critical. Equally important: understanding when software copies are actually creating value and when they are going largely unused.

Naturally, different organizations have different infrastructures; this implies different asset management needs as well. For instance, some organizations may have standardized on Linux; others, on Windows; others may have a mix of these platforms. Similarly, not all organizations will require asset management capabilities spanning the complete software lifecycle. For many, basic features will suffice.

Fortunately, IBM offers a portfolio of best-in-class IT asset management solutions to address all of these different needs and capabilities. IBM clients can simply select from that portfolio the solutions that best fit their contexts, thus achieving a custom fit.

IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT (TAMIT), for instance, provides full asset lifecycle management support for both hardware and software license management and all platforms. This is an enterprise-level solution delivering exceptionally deep analysis and cross-domain integration potential.

IBM Tivoli Asset Discovery for Distributed (TADd), on the other hand, specifically targets UNIX/Linux-based systems, illustrating how different applications are distributed throughout them and providing detailed insight in any given case.

IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis: Get detailed insight

Most organizations, however, have deployed Windows as the most common endpoint OS. They therefore require an IT asset management solution specifically designed for this type of infrastructure.

Given this very familiar scenario, IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis (TEM SUA) is an ideal match. It delivers the capabilities IT managers need—software discovery, tracking over time, and others—specifically for Windows-based assets, both systems and end-user devices.

And because it also integrates with TAMIT, this solution also gives organizations a way to pursue phased asset management over time. They can begin with TEM SUA, and then, as their infrastructures and requirements grow, implement TAMIT as well—which will then treat TEM SUA as another information source, leveraging its data in new ways to create new business value.

How does it work? Like all members of the Tivoli Endpoint Manager family, TEM SUA capitalizes on an exceptionally efficient architecture: a single, intelligent endpoint agent that, once installed on endpoints, reports information back to a centralized server or conducts management operations on the endpoint.

This agent is so optimized that it requires on average only 2% of the computational power of its host. As a result, its actions are transparent—in the case of systems, the agent creates no significant impact on business services, and in the case of user devices such as laptops/desktops, users shouldn’t even notice the agent is installed.

The net effect of this is to distribute the load of asset management functions across the infrastructure, instead of burdening one or more management servers. In fact, a single TEM server can often handle as many as a quarter-million endpoints—truly consolidated asset management that also requires very little new infrastructure for itself.

Many benefits emerge from an elegant design and architecture

And for organizations with very large numbers of Windows-driven endpoints—that is, most enterprises today—the asset management capabilities TEM SUA provides will generate a wide range of powerful business benefits.

To begin with, consider discovery and simplified compliance. TEM SUA gives IT managers a swift, easy way to establish exactly how many copies of software have actually been deployed on both Windows systems and Windows user devices. Armed with that data, they can then compare it to the number of licenses they own and determine how many more copies they can distribute on demand—or how many more copies they'll need to buy, in order to comply with copyright regulations and avoid inadvertent piracy.

That means more accurate budgeting and forecasting as well. Given specific information about future purchasing requirements, organizations can reduce waste and ensure that the software they have is a close match to real-world requirements. Overall IT costs fall, and resources intended for software that turns out not to be needed can instead be reallocated to higher-priority areas, such as the creation and management of innovative, revenue-generating services.

TEM SUA also delivers more specific details that can improve software ROI even further. For instance, it reports not just the software installed, but also its version number in each case. Since older versions may be a poor match for newer operating systems or middleware, new versions may be needed for that reason alone. The same argument applies to security; newer versions will likely include improved security to diminish the odds of a potentially devastating breach. User productivity, too, will often climb with new software because of the new features it includes.

Getting all of these capabilities is an easy matter with TEM SUA, thanks to a straightforward deployment process and easy management thereafter. Whatever IT managers need to know to make decisions, they can quickly obtain via custom searches, filters, configurable sorting functions, and statistics—all of which apply either to entire infrastructures or various levels of granularity.

TEM SUA, in short, empowers organizations to tune and prune their software portfolios and software distribution policies to create as much business value as possible, while simultaneously driving down waste and driving up compliance.

Pursue a phased asset management strategy for best results

And, of course, TEM SUA is only one example of IBM's larger IT asset management value proposition—as well as only one possible phase for an organization's long-term asset management strategy.

Organizations looking to obtain higher ROI for Windows-based endpoints of all kinds can achieve that via TEM SUA, and then, over time, augment it with other members of the IBM portfolio in accordance with their changing needs. Should they wish to achieve similar capabilities for UNIX/Linux systems and endpoints, TADd would be an excellent fit.

And should they wish to achieve even deeper analytical and cross-domain capabilities that span the complete asset lifecycle, both of those solutions will in turn integrate with TAMIT—multiplying the value of their information by leveraging it in more ways across the entire organization.

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