FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers

Hardware and Software Inventory, Identification and Normalization

Gain Visibility and Control of Your IT Estate

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers enables enterprises to gain visibility and control of their IT estate by providing a comprehensive inventory of deployed physical and virtual server hardware and associated software assets.

Thousands of enterprises use Flexera Software’s discovery, inventory and normalization technology as the critical first step in business processes that eliminate manual effort, improve software security, maintain license compliance and reduce software costs.

What Hardware is Deployed?

The first step in the Hardware Asset Management (HAM) and Software Asset Management (SAM) process is to understand what hardware is deployed in your IT environment. This is obviously critical for managing hardware throughout the asset lifecycle—you have to know what is deployed and where those devices are located. This visibility allows organizations to keep track of hardware devices and know when they are missing, which can pose a security risk. Accurate hardware data can also be used to update the Fixed Asset Register to help finance departments properly value and depreciate assets for tax purposes.

Accurate hardware inventory data is also critical to managing software assets, since many of today’s complex software licensing models are based on the underlying hardware characteristics, such as the number and type of processors or cores. And, when hardware assets are retired, a best practice software asset management process is to reclaim the licenses for the software running on those devices.

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers discovers and collects hardware data for physical and virtual servers throughout the enterprise.

FlexNet Normalized Inventory discovers and collects hardware data for desktops and laptops.

What Software is Deployed?

Today’s computing environments are continuously changing, and the modern enterprise has typically accumulated more applications than the business needs — applications that must be actively maintained and supported every day. Many companies know what hardware they own and can track it through its lifecycle. Accurately identifying and managing software is much more challenging for several reasons:

  • To determine what software is installed, you must gather and comb through reams of file, package, registry and other data
  • There are many complex software licensing models based on different metrics—device, user, processors, cores, server and CAL (Client Access License), etc.
  • The software lifecycle is very dynamic–software is upgraded, patched, and can sprawl throughout your environment, driving the need for an increasingly flexible and automated SAM process
  • Unused software or shelfware can quickly grow with a dynamic workforce
  • Today’s IT environments are complex, with virtualization, public and private cloud, and Software as a Service (SaaS) all being utilized

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers helps you understand which applications are deployed by processing the software inventory data with its massive Application Recognition Library to produce a consistently named or normalized list of applications per device.

Complete Software Recognition Commitment
We commit to add priority commercial software discovered on your network that is not immediately recognized, to the Application Recognition Library at no additional cost.

Having normalized inventory is a vital first step towards a complete Software Asset Management practice as well as many other business processes. Normalized software inventory can add value to your organization with:

  • Improved visibility and control of IT assets
  • Identification of unauthorized software (freeware, games, etc.) in the environment which could pose a security risk and impact productivity
  • A complete view of installed software that can drive rationalization and consolidation of the software portfolio to reduce management and support costs, and can also reduce security risk by reducing the attack surface for software vulnerabilities
  • Data to more efficiently manage mergers and acquisitions
  • Software installation and usage data to enable chargeback and showback processes to allocate costs internally.
  • Provide accurate data as an input into the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to enhance IT Service Management (ITSM) processes

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers is part of Flexera Software’s intelligent solutions for managing software. It delivers the single source of truth for normalized inventory data used by IT Operations, Finance, and Security. For information on discovery and inventory of client devices, please visit the FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Clients page.

Features

Discovery & Inventory

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers provides both agent-based and agentless technology to collect physical (Microsoft® Windows®, Linux®—including Ubuntu support, UNIX®, and MAC OS X® platforms) and virtual machine (VM) inventory of datacenter server hardware and software across the IT estate.

Flat File Inventory Import
The enhanced Flat File Inventory Import feature in FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers allows manually generated CSV and Excel inventory data files to be easily brought into the system using simple templates.

Microsoft SQL Server® Discovery and Inventory
The FlexNet Normalized Inventory agent brings back details about SQL Server components (e.g. Reporting Services), versions and editions—information not available from other tools.

Virtual Environment Discovery and Inventory
FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers supports collection of inventory for both VMware® (vSphere®/ESX Server®) and Microsoft (Hyper-V®) environments. 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 cluster inventory is supported in FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers. A cluster is a group a machines, physical or virtual, working together. VMware vSphere vMotion® clusters are automatically inventoried through the VMware ESX and vSphere inventory capability. Hyper-V clusters are also automatically inventoried through the Hyper-V inventory capability.

Support for Hardware Partitioning
Discovery and inventory of hardware partitions for IBM® AIX® LPAR, HP-UX® nPar, vPar and Oracle® Solaris Zones technologies is provided. The relationship between hardware partitions and their host is reported in the FlexNet Normalized Inventory 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.

Software Installation and Last Used Dates
FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers records the first time a software title was discovered on a device. This date can be used as an approximate installation date of the software. 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.

Import of Inventory and Usage Data from Third-Party Tools

FlexNet Normalized Inventory for Servers provides out-of-the-box integration to many existing IT systems, including configuration management, discovery and inventory tools.

Data can be collected from these 3rd party systems:

Software Identification and Normalization

The 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 190,000 software titles from 16,000 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 Microsoft 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.

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