Cloud Conundrum for Asset Management

Last weeks International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) was a reminder that although many of the tools have come a long way – there is still a long way to go.  During my 2 sessions on iSpeak Cloud: Crossing the Cloud Chasm – it became very apparent that many Asset Managers are struggling to keep their head above water even prior to making the preverbal leap to understand the complexities of tracking assets across Hybrid Cloud environments.

Although some of the licensing structures such as Microsoft Office 365 ™ have nailed the requirements for licensing across the on premise/off premise world – the question still remains in how Asset and License Managers track and continue to enforce compliance.  Just because you can put workloads in the cloud doesn’t always mean that you should. License compliance is often an afterthought in the race to the cloud to get solutions that are faster, cheaper, and considered better by not only IT but also the business. The uncontrolled growth of shadow IT combined with the limited ability to calculate true usage across hybrid environments – often leaves a significant gap and risk from license compliance.
How can companies curb the cost and risk of License Compliance in the Cloud?

  1. Adopt SWID (Software ID Tags) and insist that your ISVs do the same.  Software ID Tags are finally gaining traction and hold the promise of reducing some of the ambiguity issues that have plagued IT for nearly two decades.  Learn more about them at Tagvault.org.
  2. Insure Asset Managers have a “seat at the table” in the Cloud strategy conversation.  More often than not Asset Managers are informed of the strategy but not part of the discussion.  This is a fatal mistake as more often than not the Asset Management team will know the critical license terms that can make or break your cloud strategy.
  3. Insist on visibility reports from ISVs until tagging is available.  Ideally software solutions providers should provide a monthly usage report that aggregates login across users.  It is important that license usage is tracked and aggregated acres Business Units.  Obtain reports from tools like the AWS Calculator from Avnet to to understand where the virtual environments are and who to call to find out additional details on licensing processes and procedures followed.
  4. Create a culture of accountability and responsible Cloud usage.  Many cloud solutions can provide chargeback/showback.  Metering is one of the primary business cases for cloud – so not charging back or providing an overview of the implementation related issues can derail solution sets.  It is important that companies drive a culture of accountability when signing up for or bursting resources into the cloud.  Instituting a Use IT or Lose IT policy with an ongoing maintenance and audit process will help companies maintain compliance.
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