By Matt Fisher, Director, FrontRange Solutions

With organisations increasingly investing in virtualisation, asset management is no longer confined to physical machines and applications. However basic challenges still exist, as in simple terms, it’s difficult to manage what you don’t have physical sight of, meaning that many fail to realise expected cost savings and efficiency gains. Lack of full visibility of a company’s network can lead to a sprawl of hardware devices and can even result in serious software license infringements. Take for example, the recent clamp down by the Business Software Alliance — dishing out hefty fines to establishments for being in possession of unlicensed software. In addition, without knowledge of all IT assets, IT managers simply can not optimise their availability, manage costs or reduce risks as effectively as possible.

So what can be done to ease this licensing headache and ensure virtualization meets the IT department’s objectives and budget restrictions?

Tools are available which give a basic audit of PCs on demand — but few have the ability to identify new assets being added to the network — or to go beyond the physical infrastructure to identify and track virtualised hardware and software. However, there are more advanced discovery solutions available, which allow you to find, audit and continually track every computer and server, network printer, switch, every operating system and application on the network. What’s more, using the next generation of auditing technologies, these same solutions can also provide complete visibility of the virtual network. This allows IT managers to build a comprehensive and dynamically-updated catalog of the complete IT inventory — regardless of platform or location, physical or virtual.

In turn, this inventory is critical to optimising all areas of IT operations, from IT Service Management to Software Asset Management, IT Governance to IT Asset Management.

By deploying discovery tools across the network, IT executives and teams can improve IT planning, budgeting and service delivery — providing the foundation for effective IT governance. Furthermore, accurate inventory information is critical to successful client management, whether it’s provisioning new PCs, deploying new software, re-applying user profiles or installing patches.

With up-to-date inventory records, department migrations and other complex IT projects can be scoped accurately, planned completely, and executed successfully.

As the trend towards virtualization continues — IT managers must seriously consider how they track their physical and virtual assets so they can remain software license compliant, keep costs under control and ensure limited IT resource is strategically deployed.

FrontRange is currently offering a free 30-day trial to Discovery 9, a solution for tracking physical and virtual assets. For more information visit: http://www.frontrange.com//discovery