Given how easy it is to provide new cloud services, there is a chance that a business might not sign up to the right service, or that an employee could sign up to services without proper approval – potentially bypassing the usual SAM checks and balances.
Using cloud-based services also means a different way of looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) which include issues such as service costs, additional software licensing costs because of using software in the cloud, and minimum commitments that are more than an organisation needs. Being aware of other technology trends, such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), is also critical in ensuring that you maximise your cloud opportunity and adapt your SAM approach accordingly.
There are ways that you can use cloud services – it’s all about how much you want to be responsible for and how much you’re happy to leave in the hands of the vendor.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a subscription service most commonly accessed via a web browser.
When using SaaS, there are several ways SAM can help get the most from your subscription, including:
To understand IaaS and PaaS, it is first important to understand what virtualisation is, and the role it plays.
All non-SaaS cloud technologies are based on – and enabled by – virtualisation technology.
Virtualisation involves the deployment of a virtual (rather than physical) version of an IT asset, such as hardware or storage.
What this means is that a machine – the host – may have several virtual machines installed on it, all of which are separate from each other. By creating multiple resources from a single machine, businesses can scale, and run larger workloads, with less infrastructure costs and maintenance.
Traditionally, each piece of software was licensed to a specific machine. However, multiple virtual machines may be running on one physical machine, this can become challenging from a SAM perspective.
Because of the fast moving and flexible nature of virtualisation, software publishers are constantly attempting to update their licensing policies. That’s why you need a robust SAM programme to work with publishers, making sure you know what’s coming up and acting accordingly.
In non-SaaS deployment models – IaaS and PaaS – some software is provided by the cloud service provider (CSP), while other software is provided by the business. Examples include Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure and IBM SmartCloud.
When procuring cloud services, it is important to consider service providers. It is possible to procure cloud services directly from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), such as IBM, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as from third-party providers who are licensed by CSPs to make the CSPs’ services available to the public.
It is also important to ensure that if you are using the third party to provide you with cloud services that they have the necessary contracts in place with the relevant CSPs to provide you with genuine cloud services.
This means adapting your SAM programme for the cloud, with a focus on:
It’s clear that the fast-moving environment of cloud computing requires an adjustment in the way businesses approach software asset management.
Because of the nuances, you need to take a case-by-case look at your software licensing when you come to the cloud. However, there are a few general steps that can be taken right away to move you in the right direction.