Sign up for 1E's newsletter:

AppClarity–What’s in it for the Administrator!?

Manager to The ConfigManager Admin:”We are being audited as part of our annual true-up meeting with Adobe in two weeks. I need you to get me a report with a count of all our installed Adobe software products prior to this meeting so I have an accurate picture of our licensing exposure and what we have installed. Oh, and I’m only concerned with the products we pay maintenance on.”

ConfigManager Admin to Manager: “Will do, boss!”…and then the Admin walks back to his or her desk thinking “There goes my next two weeks trying to pull this mess together!”

Ever been there? I know I certainly have. It was an annual exercise, multiplied by as many vendors as you have licensed products. It is typically a nightmare, having to run all sorts of reports, or custom queries directly against the database, and spending days in a complex Excel worksheet, trying to remember how to do pivot tables and other arcane techniques to try and munge a ton of data down into something manageable that you can hand to the boss as a usable (and hopefully) accurate report. Oh yeah, the boss also tossed in a wrinkle about only caring about the stuff we pay maintenance on. How do I factor that element into this mess in Excel?

This particular and painful scenario is one of my absolute favorite features of 1E AppClarity. Imagine installing a simple app onto a server with SQL and IIS…open the console; create a “connector” to the ConfigManager Central site server, or the CAS in the 2012 world (in SQL-speak, it’s actually a Linked Server instance); then hit the “Synchronize” button and sit back and wait for the magic to happen! In a matter of minutes to a few hours (depending on the size of the ConfigManager inventory database), the AppClarity console is fully populated with all your software information, and fully normalized as well!

About now you’re thinking “Big Whoop! I already have all that data in ConfigManager”. Yeah, but actually you don’t… at least not like this. Look what we did right off the bat. We immediately filter out the “junk” titles. These are all of those line items from each software publisher that do not require any licensing consideration. Don’t you just love how many different ways a title from a publisher can be listed? How many ways can you spell A-D-O-B-E, for example? Here we placed into the JUNK folder all of those Adobe items we believe are not worthy of consideration for any licensing discussion. We can clearly see what the line item is called; what its version is, how many instances are installed in the estate, who the (normalized) publisher is (“it’s just ADOBE”), what parent product the line item appears to be related to and its version, and why we believe it is “junk”. If you don’t agree, simply r-click the line item and add it to the catalog of products, or “Exclude” the line item and drop it into the EXCLUDE folder and remove it from this folder entirely

image

The above is pretty obvious and straightforward. What happens when we’re not sure if an item should be license-managed or not? Simple. Check out the UNIDENTIFIED folder. For those publishers and/or products we don’t recognize, we add them here. Now you can browse through this list and make your own decision about managing it or not. You can then add it  to the catalog of products to manage, or exclude them entirely as we did with the junk line items.

image

OK, so this weeding out process is pretty slick, but here is where things get seriously interesting. Let’s take a look at the meat of the system, the actual PRODUCTS  catalog. Remember, this is showing only the licensable stuff he Boss is really interested in. We see this immediately after that first “synch”, listing every software product, from every vendor, from every client in the entire estate. We took all those various incarnations of the publisher ADOBE and normalized them into a single publisher “Adobe”. We then took every product of interest, and all the various permutations of the product title, and normalized them into a single line item (Acrobat Professional, in my highlighted example). We provide a filter to suppress the products that don’t require a license (LICENSEABLE filters out Adobe Reader, for example). We indicate the existence of any purchasing data (LICENSE MANAGED) in AppClarity (that is the subject of a different discussion). We show the actual installed count from the ConfigManager data (1.396 in this example). Next, we see how many copies of the product we actually own (1,280) listed in the ENTITLEMENT column.

Houston, we have a problem (we’re short 116 licenses).

image

Let’s look at the lower portion of the console for a bit in the image above. There’s some really odd looking information down there as well. Not only are we breaking out and displaying the installed count of each version of Acrobat Professional here, but we are also showing the actual usage of the product as well. How did that get in there?!?! I don’t have any Software Metering rules defined for this stuff!

 The fact is AppClarity doesn’t need any SWM rules to determine this information,  it’s all part of the 1E Secret Sauce that lurks under the hood. Now you’ve got some seriously good and actionable information for The Boss’ audit or true-up meeting, because we clearly show that yes, we have a deficit of licenses here, but we see a huge percentage of that total install count that aren’t even being used, and we have an automated means to uninstall them. In this scenario we can harvest 740 totally unused copies.

Lastly we can record how we intend to resolve the discrepancy between installed and owned. This is done with a simple r-click on the product line, and selecting the desired action. Compliance Resolution allows us to initiate an automatic uninstall (also a topic for another day…); or simply pay up via a true-up purchase for our 116 additional licenses. We also allow flagging the app as Business Critical (white-list; never uninstall), or add it to the list of Prohibited apps (black-list; always uninstall wherever found, regardless of usage)

image

Now that we’ve gone through just one aspect of AppClarity, hopefully you can begin to see that the next time The Boss has that dreaded conversation, and you say “Yes Boss…” you will simply smile to yourself, walk away, punch up the AppClarity console, and run the appropriate report, like the Vendor Compliance Report for Adobe, attach the resulting XPS-formatted report to an email and send him or her the bad news:

Then go for a coffee.

Ed Aldrich | Solutions Engineer

You can follow 1E and wider-industry news and events via FacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it with your contacts using the social media buttons to the left.

Press Esc to close


Ed Aldrich

About Ed Aldrich

Ed is an 8-yr employee at 1E, working in the pre-sales role as a Solutions Engineer, and is also an 11 year Microsoft Configuration Manager MVP, multiple Industry Expert speaker at the Microsoft Management Summit series, and was a User Group founder and leader for many years. He is also a founding member of, and Advisory Committee member still supporting, the myITForum Systems Management community. He was also known to spend some time behind the wheel of his 475bhp 2010 Camaro, cruising at or below the posted speed limit at all times of course!


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box





Press Esc to close

Copyright © 1E 2014 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy