The ITAM Review

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Snow Software License Manager for Microsoft License Management

Snow-LogoThis is an independent review of technology for managing Microsoft licensing and agreements.

Also participating in this review:

A full comparison and Group Test results can be found here: https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2014/10/02/microsoft-license-management/

Executive Summary

Elevator pitch A key player in the Software Asset Management market, Snow offers a great breadth of coverage of Microsoft license types and devices delivered via an intuitive and easy to use interface.
Strengths
  • Intuitive and easy to understand interface
  • Breadth of coverage in Microsoft license types, products and devices
  • VDI, Virtual and Datacentre coverage
  • Microsoft Product use rights and automatic optimization
Weaknesses
  • Reporting weaker than competitors in this review – especially providing recommended actions for Software Asset Managers rather than just data.
  • Contracts and financial management elements weaker than competitors in this review.
Primary Market Focus
  • Size: small to large enterprises
  • Use:  License Management for organizations of all sizes.
  • Environment: desktop, datacentre and virtual

Commercial Summary

Vendor Snow Software
Product License Manager
Version Reviewed 7.0
Date of version release March 2014
Year founded 1997
Customers 3,200
Pricing structure By Device

Rating

Microsoft License Management Features

Rating

General features that aid Microsoft license management

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Microsoft software recognition

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Microsoft product family and suite recognition

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Management of Microsoft licensing types

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Efficient Microsoft spend (low risk, low waste)

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Microsoft contracts management

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 Key to Ratings

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Strong

Market leader

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Good

Well executed and competitive offering

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OK

Adequate, meets requirements

[icon name=”star”][icon name=”star”]

Weak

Poorly or partially executed

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Absent

Missing key requirements

Independent Review

Snow Software has a popular solution for managing Microsoft licensing and agreements called License Manager.

The ITAM Review considers Snow Software a key player in the Software Asset Management market. It has good market share in the desktop SAM space and has made significant inroads into datacentre SAM. We reviewed Snow Software in depth here:

https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2014/05/26/snow-sap/

There is a convergence in the market between the fields of Hardware Asset Management and Software Asset Management. So much hardware and configuration detail is required to satisfy the requirements of modern SAM that organizations can’t do SAM without HAM.

License Manager aggregates an exhaustive list of hardware and configuration detail on operating systems, devices and virtualization either via it’s own inventory client or via integration with other systems.  By using the Snow Software inventory client as well as License Manager for managing Microsoft licensing estates organizations can also benefit from detailed software usage metering, the ability to monitor Terminal Service environments, the Datacentre, Virtual machines and HyperV (if not already covered by their in-house inventory systems).

Such is the level of detail collected by Snow to satisfy the audit requirements of publishers such as Microsoft – that it is only a skip, hop and a jump from being a fully blown ITAM tool. However we found the contracts and financial management capabilities typically found in Asset Registers to be lacking and weaker than competitors in this review. Reporting and presentation of data could also be more action oriented compared to competitors in this review; rather than simply being presented data it would be good to receive recommendations on what actions to take.

The key competitive differentiator for Snow License Manager is the Software Recognition Service. The recognition capabilities include:

  • Identifying whether software discovered needs a license
  • The software publisher Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
  • Product Use Rights such as Upgrade and Downgrade Rights
  • Product family and product suite recognition

We were particularly impressed by the automatic calculation of primary user of devices in order to calculate second use rights out of the box.

Other SAM tools in the market offer software recognition, but Snow offers it against a service level policy, aiming to identify commercial products discovered in customer environments within 30 days. This is in stark contract to the industry norm, which places the onus on the customer to manually administer any unidentified applications or wait for the next update from the SAM tool manufacturer that is usually provided on a ‘best endeavour’ basis.

Snow Software’s License Manager also includes automated MLS import and the ability to pinpoint unused Microsoft software for re-harvesting.

Overall The ITAM Review considers License Manager to be a solid offering for Software Asset Managers and is ideal for organizations struggling with run of the mill inventory systems that are not fit for purpose for SAM such as Microsoft SCCM, Altiris and LANDesk.

Screenshots

In their own words

“Snow License Manager is designed out-of-the-box to help organizations optimize their Microsoft licensing position, from desktop applications, through to enterprise server software and virtualized assets.  Snow License Manager 7 features the ability to single-click import an entire Microsoft License Statement (MLS), automatically checking all transaction data against Snow’s unique Software Recognition Service, which associates the appropriate usage terms with all Microsoft software purchased by the organization.

For difficult-to-manage licenses schemes such as secondary use rights and Virtual Desktop Access (VDA), Snow License Manager makes it easy for organizations to determine the actual software usage and corresponding license requirement.  This can then be instantly compared against the entitlements in the intelligent repository.

The Snow Recognition Service not only automatically recognizes the vast majority of Microsoft applications (including the ability to accurately identify the specific ‘editions’ of server software such as SQL and Exchange), it also provides intelligence such as upgrade and downgrade rights.  Value-add information such as product release dates make it simple to calculate whether installed versions of applications and suites are covered by existing or past volume license agreements such as Software Assurance (SA).

A simple one-page management overview ‘Snowboard’ allows authorized users from across the organization to instantly check the Microsoft licensing situation, identify opportunities to optimize licensing as well as spot potential compliance issues.”

Further Reading

Customers

  • Arup
  • Betfair
  • Endsleigh Insurance
  • Kingifsher plc

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

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