High upfront cost often discourages companies from using network asset management software. But savings in network management staff time, hardware and software costs, reduction of security risks and reduction of user downtime offset its initial cost, making network asset management software something you might want to consider.
Network asset management software products are available from a variety of vendors. They typically consist of an embedded software agent installed on each client workstation plus a management application that collects, organizes and displays information from each workstation.
Network asset management products collect information on users, hardware and software. For each workstation, the software records asset tag number, when the unit was purchased and the user to whom it is assigned. It also records the user’s name, organizational unit, e-mail address and phone number.
These products collect information on virtually every aspect of a workstation’s hardware and software configuration. They collect model number, CPU type and revision level, BIOS, firmware revision levels, amount of memory, hard drive vendor and size of hard drive, network interface type and network vendor. They also collect the number of I/O slots, how many are in use and what is plugged into the slots. Software information includes revision level of the operating system and the name and revision level of each installed application.
The management application enables network management staff to sort the collected information on virtually any of the types of collected information. You can find all the candidates for hardware upgrades by sorting to find the units with the slowest CPUs or the smallest amount of memory. When a firmware update becomes available, you can sort on firmware revision levels to find all of the candidates for the upgrade.
Network asset management packages also automate the work of distributing and updating applications. You specify which clients are to be updated and when, and the package takes care of distributing and installing the upgrade.