If you've got vendors suddenly eager to audit software licenses, you might find the timing of BigFix's release of its new asset management solution inspired. "A lot of customers are reducing costs and want to see what they own," says BigFix director of product management Jeff Spitulnik. BigFix Decision Support System - Software Asset Management offers a real-time look at software assets across platforms. It provides an analytics and reporting tool that leverages the data aggregated by the BigFix server, with role-based access so IT can give accounts to purchasing and procurement departments as well.

"Customers used to spend hours truing up licenses," Spitulnik says. With BigFix DSS-SAM, he says, organizations can cut that time down to minutes.

The BigFix DSS-SAM agent runs as a service, with a small footprint, low load, and no scanning. A heartbeat reports down to the BigFix server in response to policies precisely customized to the company's needs or in response to preset policy packages relating to common requirements such as HIPPA compliance. The agent can inspect over 800 properties of every computer across platforms. The system also can segment large networks, using relays to cache policies rather than having to go all the way out to the server for policies.

After the agents and server are deployed, Spitulnik says, "Tracks are laid for systems lifecycle management and more." Which, not surprisingly, BigFix offers. "Some buy \[the solution\] first for patch management, then later buy more solutions—it's just a matter of turning it on."

The product Spitulnik says is quick to deploy: "Hundreds of thousands of computers in a few days." The sweet spot is 30,000 to 50,000 endpoints, he says, but even companies with just a couple thousand endpoints can find the product helpful, especially for vendor consolidation. Data is put in an inventory database, which includes a software ID catalog that verifies the identity of software installed. Customers can also edit and add custom software to the catalog list. The solution is also designed to integrate with third party apps—useful, Spitulnik says, if you already have an asset management project or service desk project underway.

BigFix DSS-SAM starts at $10 per endpoint; $20 with the BigFix systems lifecycle management solution. See the BigFix website for more information.