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Move to the cloud for scalability's sake
Ken Hess: Software Asset Management (SAM) must move to the Cloud for scalability's sake. Now that mobile devices are part of the overall bucket of software use platforms, we must have a way to track licenses, deploy software, manage patches, meter usage and provide application security on a large scale. No longer can enterprises depend on isolated SAM infrastructure to do everything required of these tasks. Cloud is the only answer available.
Sure, for smaller environments with a few dozen servers, a couple hundred desktops and a couple hundred mobile devices, you can manage software assets effectively with a traditional set of software backed by a database. But when you go beyond small or begin to look at more than a handful of key applications, the number of data points grows exponentially. A traditional software solution can't handle it.
The answer has been to grow the software solution's SAM infrastructure along with demand but more software vendors demand license accounting than ever before. There is a point at which it makes financial sense to use cloud infrastructure to manage your software assets rather than traditional software. That point is different for each company but the variables are same for any size company: number of devices and number of applications.
Network bandwidth can be another variable for companies that manage large numbers of devices. Think about the bandwidth drain for large patches, application rollouts and new or updated OS deployments. Cloud-based software management can ease network this bottleneck by leveraging the public Internet user's personal broadband connections for delivery. And user devices don't have to wait until they enter the corporate walls or connect via VPN to check-in with a cloud management setup.
Cloud-based software asset management solves a lot of problems for companies who have a lot of applications to monitor, a lot of devices to manage and a geographically disparate or mostly mobile workforce.
Hassles, downsides, and even risks
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Software asset management is a necessary evil for most organizations, and helps to manage software throughout its lifecycle – from purchase all the way through to disposal – and also helps to limit costs and reduce the legal risks by operating within the bounds of complex compliance regulations.
As with most things nowadays, there's been a move to put software asset management tools in the cloud. The idea is that the cloud is better, faster, and cheaper than an on-site solution. After all, if your email, calendar, and apps are all in the cloud, why not do the same with your software asset management tools?
While there can be no doubt that cloud computing offers companies a great way to buy in the right amount of power and resources they need to carry out a task, not everything is ideally suited to being deployed to the cloud, and there are hassles, downsides, and even risks associated with putting your software asset management tools into the cloud which you should consider.