Are SAM tools oversold?

SAM or more accurately, License Management, tooling is quite prevalent in larger IT organizations yet audits continue at a far greater pace – why?

The truth is that installation of SAM tooling without adequate human understanding of its meaning and output actually attracts an audit. The large accounting firms, spurred on by their zealous vendors actually target known installs of even the best SAM tooling if its not supported by people with real vendor expertise.

Ever since the software buying bubble burst in 2008, vendors have targeted audits at the lowest hanging fruit. That has been virtualized or sub capacity environments where unwitting customers have installed on single cores and the machine has access to many more.

Cloud based systems have been particular targets as failure to install the vendor discovery tooling often means you owe the license for the entire cloud. That’s quite a sum if you run on AWS!

But customers have gotten smarter in the last few years and good tooling like Flexera Software and SNOW has meant the large audit firms have to do a little work and dig deeper to return the investment in their healthy fees.

Vendors such as Microsoft are well behaved and they openly disclose their new metrics but others are complex and secretive, their metrics are often undiscovered, even by the best tooling or study of publicly announced function.

So if you have installed a SAM tool there will usually be a large vendors audit firm out there looking at the metrics the tool cannot scan and planning an audit of this product leaving the low hanging fruit alone.

Be especially aware of metrics that are outside the traditional, CPU, core and user based types. If an auditor knows you have these installed then you will more than likely be asked for highly confidential internal reporting such as the products log file to establish high water mark concurrency.

But for an expert trained in the vendors software offerings, tools such as Flexera and SNOW can be augmented by manual scans of new metrics performed by a competent SAM such as examination of data from log files.

Put simply, even the best tooling is GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) and every SAM toolset needs to be bolstered with strong vendor trained but independent experience.

Needless to say, Fisher Australia has been formulated to offer meaningful audit defense by making the major tool sets work. We offer personnel not only certified in the tool set but with years of vendor trained experience designed to defeat even the most searching of audits.


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