FlexNet Manager Platform: Features

Hardware Asset Management, Software Asset Management and Desktop Software License Optimization

Features

Product Use Rights Library for Desktop Applications

FlexNet Platform includes a Product Use Rights Library for vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and IBM that enables it to determine an accurate license position and optimize license consumption for desktop applications. Product Use Rights vary depending on the type of software license agreement used to buy the software (e.g. Adobe Cumulative License Program) and even depend on the specific software product in some cases. These rights include:

  • Upgrade—the right to use the latest version of the software as soon as it becomes available. (Typically a maintenance and support program benefit).
  • Downgrade—the right to use an older version of the software than the version purchased.
  • Right of second use (aka portable use)—the right to use the software on both a desktop and a laptop with the same owner and only consume one license.
  • Multiple versions—the right to have multiple versions of the same application installed on one device and only consume one license.
  • Virtual environment use rights and rules—the rights associated with running the software on a virtual machine, virtual desktop or as a virtualized application.
  • Roaming Use Rights—these rights define how users can remotely access server based virtual desktops from third party devices, or run the software in a virtual OS environment on a third party device.

Intuitive User Interface

The Web-based User Interface, available in both On-premises and Cloud delivery models, provides Hardware Asset Management (HAM), Software Asset Management (SAM), license compliance, areas of potential cost savings, contract, user and vendor management along with custom reporting to give complete visibility and control of your IT estate.

Connectivity

FlexNet Manager Platform provides a connection layer to 3rd party inventory, HR, financial, service desk, ERP, and procurement systems to allow collection of computer and software inventory, user, purchase order, contract, organizational, and other data.

FlexNet Manager Platform provides out-of-the-box integration with:

Connectivity with Third Parties

* ILMT and TADd integration and inventory data import requires FlexNet Manager for IBM. FlexNet Manager for IBM is accepted by IBM for sub-capacity reporting in lieu of ILMT.
** Oracle database introspection and inventory data collection requires FlexNet Manager for Oracle. FlexNet Manager for Oracle is an Oracle LMS Verified solution for Database Discovery & Inventory.

Discovery & Inventory

FlexNet Manager Platform provides both agent-based and agentless technology to collect physical (Windows, Linux—including Ubuntu support, UNIX, and MAC OS platforms) and virtual machine (VM) inventory of hardware and software across the IT estate. Application usage data may also be collected. The Platform provides specialized inventory and discovery capabilities not found in any other tool, including Oracle Discovery and Inventory, Microsoft SQL Server Discovery and Inventory, and Virtual Environment Discovery and Inventory.

Flat File Inventory Import
The enhanced Flat File Inventory Import feature in FlexNet Manager Platform allows the import of inventory data from any third party inventory tool using simple templates.

Microsoft SQL Server Discovery and Inventory
The Platform’s inventory agent brings back details about SQL Server components (e.g. Reporting Services), versions and editions.

Virtual Environment Discovery and Inventory
The Platform supports collection of inventory for VMware® (vSphere®/ESX® Server), Microsoft (Hyper-V®) and Oracle VM on x86 devices. It correlates virtual machines (VM) to physical hosts and collects information on allocation of hardware resources to VMs to enable accurate license management of processor/core based license models.

Server Cluster Support
Server clusters are represented in FlexNet Manager Platform. A cluster is a group a machines, physical or virtual, working together. VMware vMotion clusters are automatically inventoried through the VMware ESX and vSphere inventory capability in the Platform. Hyper-V clusters are also automatically inventoried through the Hyper-V inventory capability in the Platform.

Support for Hardware Partitioning
Discovery and inventory of hardware partitions for AIX LPAR, HP-UX nPar, vPar and Solaris Zones technologies is provided. The relationship between hardware partitions and their host is reported in the FlexNet Manager Platform console. The calculation of an accurate license position requires, in some circumstances, the clear identification of these environments and the specific license properties associated with them. The Oracle Processor license model for instance, supports hardware partitioning but has specific rules in these environments.

Application Discovery / Last Used Dates
FlexNet Manager Platform records the first time an application was discovered on a device. This data is either provided by the inventory tool itself or is set by the Platform to the date it first recognized the application installation. This date can be used as an approximate installation date of the application. The ‘last used date’ tracks the date the application was last used on a device. It is based on software usage data. This date can be used to identify potential candidates for license reharvesting.

Stale Inventory Removal
In some circumstances multiple external systems may report inventory data for the same device. This enhancement allows users to set up rules to discard old inventory in favor of a newer one or to merge multiple inventory data sources together.

Adapter Studios

Two applications, the Inventory Adapter Studio and the Business Adapter Studio are delivered with the Platform facilitating the creation and modification of new or existing adapters to make it easy to connect to third party systems.

Hardware Asset Management

Each hardware asset can have an extensive set of properties that are tracked in the FlexNet Manager Platform repository including: identification, purchasing, user allocation, financial, technical, and contractual information. Individual hardware assets (cell phones, printers, routers, etc.) are tracked differently from computers. An unlimited number of hardware assets can be managed in FlexNet Manager Platform, which is licensed based on the number of 'active' computers.

For example, FlexNet Manager Platform allows (but is not limited to):

  • Hardware Asset Inventory Management:
    • Identification: serial number, asset tag, part number, manufacturer, model, parent/child relationship with other assets
    • Purchasing data: purchase order number, purchase order date, price, vendor, acquisition mode (purchased, leased, loaned, rented, etc.), delivery date…
    • Financial Data: warranty, depreciation (current/residual values, depreciation method…), chargeback (monthly charge)…
    • User/group allocation: location, cost center, business unit, user assigned to the asset…
    • Technical: any relevant technical details to the asset…
    • Contractual: relationship with contracts, vendors and payment schedules…
    • Asset status: Assets can be purchased, installed, in stock, disposed, retired…
    • Other: documents, inventory (electronic, physical), comments, retirement data: date, resale price, reason (donated, lost, disposed…), recipient, written off value…
  • Baseline tracking of assets: identify changes for each asset over time; computers missing or changed are flagged. (IMAC—Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes)
  • Easy integration with service desk and other tools through web services. This is particularly important to keep the repository up to date during IMAC processes.
  • Financial Management: reconcile with fixed assets, invoice reconciliation, asset allocation and chargeback

Application Recognition Library

The Application Recognition Library is used to scrub raw inventory data and provide a normalized list of installed software per device. It contains recognition rules to identify software— including publisher, title, version, and edition—for more than 181,927 software titles from 18,333 publishers. Applications with no evidence are also highlighted in the product. Customers can easily detect them to add their own recognition rules if available.

ISO 19770-2 provides a standard for software identification tags that contain authoritative identifying information for installed software. The Flexera Software Windows agent automatically scans for software tags on each device. In compliance with the standard, the digital signatures in any discovered software ID tags are verified to confirm that tags have not been tampered with. Tags are supported by the Application Recognition Library and used to identify software installations. Reports have been added to expose the inventoried tag data.

SKU Library and Purchased Versus Installed License Reconciliation

The Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Library contains more than 1,014,464 software SKUs and is used to determine exactly what was purchased and automatically link license purchases to software installations. It helps automate the 'purchased versus installed' license reconciliation process.

Purchase Order Automation

  • Purchase orders (‘POs’) can be automatically imported from your procurement or ERP system. POs can be attached to and used to update existing or new license records in the FlexNet Manager Platform repository. SKUs in our SKU Library identify exactly what software title, version and edition has been purchased.
  • This automation can be controlled per vendor and limited to new software license purchases, upgrades, or maintenance renewals. Settings enable upgrades to be attached only to entitlements within the same enterprise group(s).
  • The PO processing user interface has been rebuilt, allowing better visibility into ongoing and past operations. It exposes the automation steps performed by the system. Through this interface, recommendations are presented to the operator for approval.
  • All operations performed on POs can now be rolled back.

Maintenance SKU Management

  • A wizard is available to manage maintenance SKUs. The program automatically tries to find existing licenses or contracts related to purchase order maintenance line items and guides the operators through multiple steps in order to accurately update the repository.
  • Maintenance SKUs usually impact product upgrade rights that provide free access to new releases. Keeping the upgrade rights up to date helps optimize the license position as existing licenses can be used for new software product releases.

Entitlement Audit Trail

  • FlexNet Manger Platform records a ‘transaction’ when associating a purchase order to a software license. The transaction history constitutes the entitlement audit trail for licenses. It enables customers to demonstrate how the current entitlement was obtained from previous software acquisitions.
  • This audit trail is also available from the PO perspective, exposing how each PO has been consumed by licenses.
  • Out of the box reports have been added for the audit trail. For instance, a report displays the entitlement audit trail across a product family and exposes how purchase orders relate to different releases of the same product over time.

Microsoft License Statement Import

To help quickly establish a Microsoft license position, FlexNet Manager Platform includes the ability to import Microsoft License Statements (MLS). This is a faster alternative to processing purchase order data and can be used to establish a baseline that is sufficient for many organizations. Also, procesing of purchase orders can coexist with MLS data. Newer MLS statements that can be imported to stay current with the latest entitlements.

Identification of installations not requiring a license

Software installations can be manually flagged as not requiring a license and the specific reason indicated (backup/ disaster recovery, trial or evaluation, fail-over, second use, test…). The accuracy of the license compliance calculation is improved as some installations can be discarded. Reports are available in the event of an audit.

Enterprise Group Assignment

Licenses can be assigned to enterprise groups (cost centers, business units or locations). The feature allows licenses to be consumed based on group ownership and enable roll-up of quantities at a specific level in the organizational hierarchy.

Contract Management

FlexNet Manager Platform provides robust contract management capabilities that can be used to manage any type of contract, not just software. A Contract Management web portal is provided for easy access through your browser.

The Contract Management capabilities of the Platform include:

  • Business reporting dashboard with alerts for upcoming contract renewals, expired contracts, upcoming payments, contract reviews, contract specific action items, and more
  • Associate contracts with your purchase orders, hardware assets, software licenses, and more
  • Schedule payments, both actual and estimated
  • Attach documents or store links to documents
  • Search through contents of attached documents
  • Management of projects, tasks, and relationship to contracts
  • Define custom terms and conditions specific to your contracts
  • For software contracts, define product use rights that are applied to all licenses under the contract
  • Per-contract security for precise control of access and modifications to sensitive contract data

License Management for Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and Microsoft App-V Virtual Environments

FlexNet Manager Platform offers unprecedented license management coverage across many technologies used to access software products—from local installations to application virtualization (XenApp and App-V) and virtual desktops (XenDesktop). The Platform also supports license management of App-V virtual applications running in Citrix XenDesktop environments (application virtualization within desktop virtualization).

Enhanced System Monitoring

FlexNet Manager Platform has improved system monitoring capabilities that allow operators to see all the details of background processes for the purpose of data traceability and to demonstrate the accuracy of the results. Tasks that can be monitored include: discovery and inventory, inventory data import, license reconciliation, and more. This capability helps ensure that data is imported into the system correctly and that the organization maintains an accurate license position.

License Exemption by Device Role

The process of creating device exemptions, based on the role of the device (production, test, backup/DR/failover, training, etc.) is now automated by using product use rights supplied by the Product Use Rights Library and assigning a role to each inventory device. When an inventory device is assigned to a role that is exempted in the product use rights for the license, meaning that the device (e.g. server) does not require a separate license for that role, the exemption is automatically applied during license reconciliation. For example, a cold backup server typically does not require a separate license. This reduces the number of licenses consumed which can reduce your ongoing costs for software.

Software Bundles

The management of bundled software, groups of individually licensable software products sold together under a single license, is now a standard feature of the product. The main challenges with bundles are to understand the exact list of software products and associated product use rights included in each bundle, and to distinguish standalone software installations from those that are part of a bundle. If not handled properly, software bundles may contribute to over or under licensed situations. FlexNet Manager Platform now has the ability to automatically detect software bundles and determine an accurate software license position when bundles have been purchased. A software bundle library defining the bundle content and their associated product use rights is delivered for desktop software (MSDN licenses are a common example) as part of FlexNet Manager Platform.

Subscription and Maintenance

Subscription licenses are becoming much more prevalent, driven in no small part by the ongoing trend toward Cloud/SaaS delivery models, making it imperative to manage them efficiently. With multiple subscription licenses and/or maintenance contracts able to be associated to a single software product, the prospect of managing these individual licenses manually is daunting and time consuming.

FlexNet Manager Platform consolidates all associated maintenance contracts and subscriptions into a single license record, making a complex relationship structure much easier to view and manage. The Management Dashboard shows pending renewal and expiration dates, further easing the workload of license administrators and procurement managers. Flexible options enable renewal of only a portion of the software maintenance giving license managers the ability to more easily discontinue unneeded maintenance coverage and reduce maintenance costs. And by keeping track of resulting changes in the software product use rights (ie upgrade rights disappear when maintenance ends), the solution ensures an accurate and optimized license position.

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