Inventory Review Index
Numara have a solid offering for inventory and discovery. This is the strongest inventory tool for Mid-Market customers in this review. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of functionality with visibility of assets, reporting and analytics, ease of use, and most importantly the ability to take action.
Many of the technologies assessed in this review are data generators for analysis or feeding other systems. However the Numara FootPrints Inventory Manager and Compliance Manager offering is designed with action in mind;allow me to define a policy, allow me to benchmark my estate against that policy, show me desired versus actual assets, and allow me to take corrective action, all from within one console and one agent.
It does everything you would want a modern inventory tool to do, at an aggressive price. Numara’s traditional core market has been small to medium companies but I suspect they will continue to irritate large enterprise competitors with this solution.
Infrastructure and Methodology
Numara use an agent / server infrastructure to deliver their inventory with other hybrid agent-less and auto-discovery options when required. Access to the main console is either via traditional on premise installation or java-based browser access, a cloud offering follows soon.
Every agent deployed can also be configured to operate as a local ‘relay’ to reduce workload. The relay works as a local Lieutenant and conduit to the main inventory server and coordinates all the other agents in that local vicinity. Individual agents can be configured to respond to the local Lieutenant, the central server or via the web depending on administrator preferences.
Once deployed this same single super agent can also be used for all other systems management tasks such as patch, deployment and vulnerability assessment. The result is a smart, scalable, dynamic picture of your estate.
Visual Mapping of Assets
The visual relationship mapping is impressive. Relationship mapping technology is usually dependent on one central data model with all subsequent reports stemming from this central theme – i.e. show me the services reliant on a configuration item or show me the ports hanging from a switch. With Numara the administrator defines the territory. Visual maps can be built from dynamic custom-built queries, for a handful of devices or hundreds. The screenshots provided with this review don’t really do it justice, if you want an instant mind-map of issues at hand it’s worth a look.
The IT Management Swiss Army Knife
What has struck me most about this offering is that it is designed for action and management by exception over analytics.
Administrators can define new builds or desired states and not only benchmark the estate against these goals but also monitor them until they are complete from an inventory and compliance perspective. For example I want standardize on a certain version of Internet Explorer; allow me to build a dynamic query showing all devices that deviate from that policy, assign that dynamic query to the deployment team to rectify and allow me to watch as the project is completed.
The industry norm is at best, incomplete integrations between different tools, and at worst printed job sheets or csv exports with lists of devices to be changed. The fact that project batons can be passed between different teams without losing accuracy and relevance, whilst catering for the different needs and priorities of teams, is very powerful. Other tools in this review offer this functionality – but not with one tool, one agent and the deployment and reporting infrastructure to give you confidence that the results are accurate and exhaustive. In this respect, Numara are definitely pulling away from the rest of the market.
One criticism of the Swiss-Army Knife approach to IT Management is that technology suites become jack-of-all-trades and master of none in comparison to best of breed niche tools. Numara have taken steps to address this with strategic partnerships with other enterprise software leaders such as Shavlik for vulnerability information and Express Metrix for software recognition.
|Product||Numara FootPrints Inventory Manager and Compliance Manager|
|Version||V11 (November 2011)|
|Methodology||Agent or Agentless Inventory and network governance|
|In a nutshell||IT Management Swiss Army Knife|
|Primary Market Focus|
|Pricing Model||Volume pricing per seat (Indicative pricing for 1,000 seats Inventory Manager $13.50 per seat, Compliance Manager $9.00 per seat).|
From the brochure:
“Numara FootPrints Inventory Manager and Numara FootPrints Compliance Manager are part of a modular yet fully integrated solution for IT Lifecycle and IT Service Management.
FootPrints Inventory Manager automates complex inventory tracking providing accurate, current and complete asset intelligence to help guide investment decisions reduce manual processes and maintain compliance.
From the desktop, FootPrints Inventory Manager will automate the entire data-gathering process for your fixed and mobile IT assets whether they’re Windows, MacOS, Linux/VMware Workstations, servers, laptops or mobile/peripheral devices. After the initial audit, you will have a complete view of your IT assets, including their current hardware and software configurations.
From the console you’ll be able to manage configuration changes across the network or enforce change-control policies. It will also maintain a detailed inventory history and update this through scheduled automated audits or its ‘audit now’ feature when you need your asset data in near real-time.
FootPrints Compliance Manager allows you to define policies based on vendors’ licensing agreements and other regulatory standards to quickly assess your compliance levels. With essential tools, reports and templates for ISO 27001, ISO 27002, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Microsoft® hardening guides, you’ll be ready for your next audit with the minimum amount of disruption.
FootPrints Compliance Manager integrates tightly with FootPrints Inventory Manager to give non-intrusive, agent-less scans of your network that will detect any potential compliance issues. The dynamic grouping options allow you to quickly identify, group and take action against any devices that do not meet your defined compliance policies. Numara FootPrints has achived PinkVerify 3.1 Ten Process Accreditation.”