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Review: HP Asset Manager for SAM

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This independent review of HP Asset Manager from HP is part of our 2012 SAM Tools Review. See all participants and terms of the review here.

Executive Summary

Elevator Pitch Strong Enterprise SAM Contender with dated interface
Strengths Flexible and intelligent ‘software counters’ methodology, complex license management features
Weaknesses Dated interface, labour intensive customization compared to web gui competitors
Primary Market Focus Large Enterprise SAM

Commercial Summary

Vendor HP
Product HP Asset Manager, HP Universal Discovery
Version reviewed AM: 9.31, DDMI: 9.3.0
Date of version release April 2012, April 2011
Year founded 1939
Customers 1,100 customers under maintenance, 50% of the Fortune 500
End points managed Not disclosed
Pricing

Priced per named user. Indicative costs: Portfolio Named User $2,000 per user, Contract Named User $3,000 per user, Software Asset Manager $3,000 per named user.

HPIntroduction

My review of the Software Asset Management (SAM) capabilities of HP focuses primarily on ‘HP Asset Manager’. However HP also has two complimentary products in the portfolio to support the work of Software Asset Managers in large enterprises:

  • ‘HP Universal CMDB’ or ‘UCMDB’ and
  • ‘HP Universal Discovery’

UCMDB is for configuration data and relationship mapping and HP Universal Discovery is the new name for the merger of the DDMI and DDMA products (We published a review of HP DDMI in November 2011 here).

As well as SAM features HP Asset Manager also includes Financial Management, Contracts and Procurement.

Configuration – Toolkits versus Applications

In the Enterprise Software market there are ‘Applications’ designed for a specific purpose and there are ‘Toolkits’ which customers can manipulate to achieve a variety of tasks based on a specific competency. HP Asset Manager definitely falls into the latter category.

Generally speaking, out-of-the-box (OOTB) applications are popular with smaller companies who sacrifice versatility in exchange for lower running costs. On the flip side, generally speaking, larger enterprises choose more versatile products to allow them enterprise wide integration and bespoke customizations.

HP Asset Manager and HP Universal Discovery are definitely versatile. If you like your super tanker to turn left at traffic lights and stop on a dime – this is the product for you. Customers can lift up the hood and tweak to their hearts desire. Unfortunately this versatility comes at a cost – the resource and intelligence required to run it.

Competitors to HP Asset Manager are trending towards a hybrid of OOTB Apps and Toolkits with the ability for ‘codeless configuration’ in a 100% web based environment.

Software Counters

Reconciling the disparate worlds of technical configuration data and financial procurement history is based on the principle of ‘Software Counters’; this is a real strength of HP Asset Manager.  Software counters allow Software Asset Managers to build the logic to interpret any conceivable metric.

A wizard allows users to configure software counters to determine how license entitlement will be calculated. Over 200 counters come pre-configured with Asset Manager covering 700 software titles or administrators can build their own. This logic protects the solution against any possible license metric dreamt up in the future (assuming the data to support the metrics can be recorded).

Software counters have inbuilt logic to manage upgrade and downgrade paths and allow users to quickly determine the cost of compliance and prioritize risk.

Inbuilt software counters cover popular titles such as Microsoft Windows, SQL server Enterprise Edition by CPU, Microsoft desktop products, Oracle CPU core factor, IBM PVU including sub-capacity, ESX server, Adobe desktop, Autodesk, Symantec, SAP and so on.

HP admit they are late to the party in adding SKUs but in my opinion this still places them ahead of quite a few SAM competitors. HP Asset Manager currently has around 5,000 SKU titles, several hundred thousand more are planned for summer 2013. Vendor dashboards provide a round up of the federated compliance position for specific publishers and SAM administrators can drill down into software usage information to take action on redundant applications (not used within 90 days).

If the reconciliation of a software counter generates a negative balance, a wizard or automated script can be initiated to create a removal request or new license purchase. Automating these events is key to winning with SAM.

HP claim Asset Manager is ‘ISO 19770-1’ certified on their slide ware. Which is misleading and disappointing to hear from a vendor of this size. A SAM function within a business might be audited and certified against the standard but no such certification exists for tools.

Enterprise SAM Contender

HP Asset Manager won’t win any awards for aesthetics but large enterprises with a SAM requirement should consider shortlisting this technology for further investigation. I consider HP a contender in the Enterprise SAM space but not a leader in comparison to more agile competitors.

At face value HP appear committed to developing the platform and building important features; for example the license liability analyser is very cool and HP have recently been verified by Oracle LMS for Oracle databases (To put this in perspective CA, IBM, and BMC can’t offer this).

8 Minute Video Introduction

HP Asset Manager Customers

From the HP Asset Manager Brochure:

“HP Asset Manager serves as the foundation for IT organizations to measure and communicate the value IT provides to the businesses it supports. To do this requires a thorough understanding of the physical, virtual, financial, operational, and contractual relationships of assets to allow the organization to increase return on its IT investment.

Asset Manager covers the following ITAM processes:

  • IT Asset Life Cycle Management
  • Procurement
  • Contract Management
  • Software Asset Management
  • Financial Management

The HP Asset Manager Software Asset Management (SAM) module enables a standardized and proactive method of managing software license compliance. Using the information provided by the Contract Management module, SAM associates software purchase invoices with software license agreements and can help manage software license compliance. More than 200 out of the box compliance counters are provided with Asset Manager, covering more than 700 titles and versions. Customized compliance reports can also be created.

HP Asset Manager Software Asset Management automatically tracks license counts and detailed software installation information using data returned through automated discovery tools, such as HP Universal Discovery or other discovery software. Licenses can be reconciled against actual installations, reflecting the licensing rules of the publishers and including usage. The cost information is fully reported. Once licenses are defined, HP AM Software Asset Management enables the process of determining who is entitled to use a software application, and who is actually using software assets. Entitlements can be defined by job title, function, system, or organizational placement. By tracking entitlements and utilization of installed software, you can re-deploy unused licenses without compromising compliance requirements.”

Screenshots

Further Information

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Martin Thompson

Martin is an independent software industry analyst, SAM consultant and founder of The ITAM Review and The ITSM Review. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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