5 Hidden Azure Cost Optimizations: How to Save on Azure

The more resources you spend on your business, the better it gets. With Azure’s increased variety and efficiency boosters like machine learning tools for data analysis or IoT connectivity options, there are no limits to what can be achieved. But be aware, Azure cost management can also be very challenging. 

 

Understanding where your company’s money is coming from might be complex, given that firms frequently own dozens of Azure-related services for which they must make monthly payments. Shifting more assets to the cloud and cloud expenses also comprise a sizable portion of IT expenditures. 

 

So, do you want to know how to reduce IT budgets?

 

There are various Azure cost optimization secrets that can assist you in visualizing and controlling costs. You can use these to cut down on waste and maximize already-existing resources.

 

Here are some insights on practices and tools that can assist you in optimizing your Azure costs. 

1. Efficient Use of VMs

Azure provides a diverse range of virtual machines (VMs) with various hardware and functionality options. To determine which offers maximum throughput or efficiency while being cost-efficient, experiment with different VMs for the same job. You can auto-scale to adopt the number of VMs for actual workloads and continue with the VMs that perform best. 

 

Keep in mind that 100% utilization of all VMs will result in the lowest cost. By utilizing Azure Monitor to analyze your metrics alongside techniques, such as auto-scaling, to update the number of machines based on utilization, aim to reach as close to this target as possible.

 

2. Utilizing B-series VMs

Another way to ensure Azure cost optimization is through B-series VMs. The B-Series virtual machines provided by Azure are intended for programs that are normally inactive but occasionally see spikes in consumption. If the job is manageable, you can earn credits with low levels of computational resources. The CPU power is increased with abrupt spikes in consumption, and you can use the credits to cover the cost of capacity addition. The machine returns to its default CPU power when credits have been used up. 

 

B-Series VMs offer reductions from 15-55% compared to other VMs. Determine which tasks must be available but only seldom require high throughput or performance, and migrate them to B-Series virtual machines.

 

 

3. Shifting Workloads to Containers

Containers weigh less compared to VMs. You can run up to hundreds of containers on a single host machine, with each running a different containerized program. By repackaging your programs as containers, you can significantly lower VM utilization and your expenditures. Consider moving workloads to a container service like Azure Kubernetes Service from conventional Azure VMs (AKS). 

4. Using Storage Tiering

Most continuing costs for Azure setups are often related to memory. With decreasing costs per each storage tier of Azure Blob Storage, several redundancy choices are also available (less redundancy means less storage cost). Consider researching Azure storage pricing to find out how much each storage service costs. 

 

Shifting less critical or infrequently accessed data to a cheaper tier or a lower redundancy option will help you save money. You can further build tiering storage management into your software to ensure that data is routinely migrated to a lower-cost tier when it is no longer required.

5. Utilizing Cost Optimization Tools

The Azure consumption tools, such as SLIM 360 for Azure, are highly beneficial if you are interested in controlling your budget reports and improving Azure cost optimization. SLIM 360 is one of these tools and is solely designed to uncover your potential for cost savings, helping you carefully examine your data to identify superfluous expenses so they can be reinvested into your business.

 

Working with the information generated by the Azure portal can be challenging. The overwhelming volume of data that Azure customers receive frequently leaves them unable to make sense of it. Solutions like SLIM 360 Azure Reporting streamline and simplify the process of analyzing results by compiling them into plain-language graphs and charts, enabling greater use of your Azure Portal invoices.

 

MetrixData 360: Here to Help

 

If you attempt to break down your costs using the receipts in your Azure portal, you will probably be met with a headache from complex data spreadsheets. However, MetrixData 360’s Azure Usage Tool is specially designed to comprehend Azure’s detailed pricing and simplify it into information that is easy to understand and use. Our tool categorizes your current Azure charges for storage, VMs, SQL databases, and more. The total cost for each category is then shown, along with the list price and any discounts used. 

If you’re looking for how to reduce IT budgets, visit our website to book a demo to see how much you can save.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: What’s The Difference?

Sometimes Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion about what each represents. If you’ve wondered about the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365 and which one is the better option for you, you’ve come to the right place. Although they are frequently substituted for one another, they are significantly different. The term “Microsoft 365” describes a broader range of software and services, including Office 365.  

Let’s explore the differences between Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Once you are aware of the differences (and similarities), you can better distinguish between them and recognize their main characteristics. This knowledge can help you conquer the uphill battle of choosing the most cost-optimized Microsoft solution.

The Office 365 Suite

The Office 365 suite components are referred to as “Microsoft Office 365.” Microsoft launched the Office 365 package as a collection of teamwork tools to facilitate productivity. These include Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Excel. Each of these instruments is designed to function with the others.  But just because they were built to run on top of Windows doesn’t mean they have to. One of its greatest benefits is that most contemporary suites are cloud-based and readily available online. They can also be accessible on various platforms, including Mac and Linux laptops, iOS and Android mobile devices, and desktop computers. The Office 365 suite has effectively been expanded so that it is now essentially platform-neutral. Therefore, Windows-based machines are no longer exclusively used with the Office 365 package, which is significant for the larger “Microsoft 365” framework. While one of the top creative and collaboration suites for most organizations is still Office 365, Microsoft Teams allows staff members to collaborate on software like Microsoft Word and Excel from anywhere in the world. The Office 365 suite must also be carefully controlled to maintain communication efficiency and data protection.

The Microsoft 365 Suite

The Office 365 collaboration toolset and the larger Microsoft 365 environment are collectively known as “Microsoft 365”, comprising both the Enterprise Mobility Suite and the Microsoft Windows operating system. The operating system, mobility suites, and collaboration architecture have all seen significant improvements thanks to Microsoft – something that has become essential in a world where more employees work remotely. While operating the Office 365 suite from the cloud is an option, Windows also improves the simplicity of switching fluidly between desktop and cloud-based tasks.

Organizations that desire higher levels of flexibility and privacy are supported by Microsoft 365. The Office 365 suite can be utilized on various systems, but it mostly connects with the Microsoft 365 environment. This infrastructure was designed to assist and surround the Office 365 product line.

Another benefit of adopting a Windows system is its versatility. Windows computers have significantly boosted security and manageability support, provided regularly-updated security fixes, and offered more capabilities for remote work and collaboration

The Comparison: Microsoft 365 and Office 365

When you purchase Microsoft 365 (M365), Office 365 is included in the M365 package. So, what’s the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365 if Microsoft 365 also includes Office 365? In truth, both Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are essentially Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. But Microsoft 365 has more services bundled together, which can be particularly useful for enterprise-sized organizations.

Along with O365, Microsoft 365 also consists of the Windows operating system and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Because it contains the operating system and the EMS, two platforms with considerable capabilities, Microsoft 365 truly isn’t the same as Office 365. With additional services included, M365 offers a single, secure package for organizations to use for enhancing operations and collaboration.

While it may appear like semantics, it’s not. When researching systems, diagnosing them, or learning more about updating, optimizing, and managing them, it’s critical to be aware of the distinctions. It’s also significant from a developmental and architectural perspective. Would you like to spend money on the complete Microsoft 365 infrastructure? Or are you just thinking about Office 365? The distinctions (and similarities) between products like Office 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E3 can considerably contribute to well-informed purchase decisions.

MetrixData 360: Here to Help

It isn’t necessary to spend significant time and effort finding hard savings in Office 365 subscriptions. You can start recognizing savings within six months with our support. You’ll be able to identify the areas where money is mismanaged and which individuals have excessive, insufficient or no licenses, helping to make your regulatory shortcomings and value gaps in your purchases more evident. 

If you’re interested in software asset management, then visit our website to learn more about our Office 365 Licensing Bootcamp.

Interested in Office 365 Cost Avoidance?

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5 Ways You Are Over-Spending on Microsoft 365 Licensing

Do you feel like you are likely giving Microsoft more money than you need to for your Office 365 or Microsoft 365 licenses? Feeling confused about how they bundle products and what features and functions that your users are actually using? Imagine if you had the data to find a way to reduce your Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscriptions by 12% and 35%. How impactful would that be on your IT Budget?

If you have Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscriptions, you are likely spending more than you need to be. Utilizing our proprietary SLIM 360 tool, we have analyzed over 2 million users of Office 365 and the results are that the average company is spending anywhere between 12% and 35% more than they need to.

Here are the top areas that we find companies are paying for subscriptions that they should not be:

Paying for Blocked Users in Office 365

When someone leaves your company, you need to stop them from accessing your Office 365 data. The process for this is to put them into blocked user status. This means their data (Exchange mailbox, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc.) is still there but that they can no longer get access to it. Users in blocked status still consume their Office 365 subscriptions, so when their replacement is hired you end up purchasing another license (unnecessarily). Most organizations believe they have a process to identify these blocked users, but we see anywhere between 3-6% of subscriptions that can be reclaimed when the right analysis is done.

Office 365 Service Accounts

There are a few technical reasons why Service Accounts (non-humans) require an Office 365 subscription to be assigned to them (e.g., you need Office Pro to be signed in at all times in order for an application to work on a server). However, the PowerShell scripts or on-boarding of Office 365 subscriptions is an imperfect process, and when an analysis is done of Service Accounts that have been assigned subscriptions, we are finding between 2-5% over-subscribed licenses.

Users with Multiple Subscriptions

As mentioned above the on-boarding process of Office 365 is far from perfect. Just think, this process often relies on Active Directory and most organizations know that this is not ideal. This means that employees often end up being tied to multiple subscriptions. The impact is between 1-2% of your subscriptions can be reclaimed when this is analyzed.

Group Mailboxes with Subscriptions

Group mailboxes should be free unless they are bigger than 50GB. It is very common for us to see E1 or E3 licenses assigned to them. These unnecessary licenses cost anywhere between 1% and 4% of your overall Office 365 costs.

Users with the Wrong Subscription Types

This category may be the hardest to identify. Each of the ones above if you like data you can find them by looking through and downloading several reports out of the Office 365 Tenant – though it isn’t very easy. Users with the wrong subscription type not so easy, however.

Most organizations believe all their users need E1s, E3s, or E5s. Some have optimized their task-based workers (those that do not have their own computer and instead used shared devices or kiosks). Our data suggests that the average organization is actually using less than 40% of the functionality they pay for. Think about it: an E5 has over 50 products included in it and the average organization is only using 20 of those. We know this is caused by how Microsoft bundles and prices their subscriptions. There are things that can be done to reduce your subscription costs through right-sizing that can save you between 5-20% of your Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription costs.

Bonus: Unused Visio and Project Subscriptions

If you wanted to look to see if users that were assigned a Project or Visio Online were using them, you would not find this data anywhere in your Office 365 Tenant. It’s no surprise to us. When we analyze this data, we find that anywhere between 30-50% of these subscriptions are not activated or have not been used in the last 90 days.

Adding Up the Savings in Your Office 365

Just think about how much all this waste could mean to your IT Budget if you had the ability to identify it and reclaim those licenses. If your Office 365 costs just $500,000 a year that is anywhere between $60,000 and $175,000 that you could get back. If you want to have a discussion about how you can take back control of your Microsoft spend, please click the link below and book a 30-minute call with one of our specialists.

Give Your Microsoft 365 Licensing a Health Check

Book a meeting with MetrixData 360 today and see how much you could be saving on your Microsoft 365.

 

Why You’re Failing Your Microsoft Audit

Does it ever feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to your Microsoft software audits? You try your best to keep up with the auditor’s demands, collecting data and checking licensing details, but it all amounts to you owing far more than you feel could be possible? This is a very common situation, as we have helped clients who despite their best efforts to work with the auditors, have found themselves being forced to pay out millions more than they need to. At MetrixData 360, we have Microsoft’s software audits down to a science and we have seen patterns in the common mistakes people make before we are called onto the job. So here are the most common mistakes companies make in a Microsoft software audit and what you can do to avoid them.

Common Microsoft Audit Mistake #1: You’re Trusting Microsoft’s Audit Team Too Much

Microsoft will often bring on a third-party auditing firm like Deloitte and KPMG, and it’s tempting to fall into the mindset that they are the professionals in this situation — that they know best. We have often seen companies that go along with the auditor’s every demand and who take the software auditor’s findings as though they were set in stone.

Solution: Remember Who the Software Auditors are working for

Microsoft hired these auditors and Microsoft may even pay them based on how large a compliance gap they can find. It’s not to say that the auditors won’t do their job properly, but they have no incentive to investigate grey areas or ambiguous findings when they could instead just assume that the most expensive case is the scenario and call it a day. These expensive assumptions can greatly over-inflate your compliance gap while lining the pockets of Microsoft and their team.

When the software auditor’s hand over your Estimated License Position at the end of their investigation, the important thing to remember is that it is, in fact, an estimate. It’s not a receipt like the kind you would get in the restaurant, think of it instead as the beginning point of your negotiations and it is important to challenge any findings you don’t agree with.

Common Microsoft Audit Mistake #2: You’re Handing Over Everything Without Question

Microsoft’s auditors can be an intimidating bunch and having Microsoft ticked off at you is not a good feeling. So, there can be a knee-jerk reaction to play nice, do damage control by complying with demands, and exposing your entire software environment to the auditors as a sign of good faith, to show you have nothing to hide. However, we have often seen how this can backfire on many well-meaning companies since not everything that the software auditors will ask for will be relevant to the software audit. One client that we helped through a software audit was asked for information that wasn’t relevant to the audit and would be used in a later case against them.

Solution: Ask Questions

You can and should ask for justification on any data requests, especially if you think they are outside of the scope of the audit. We did that for a client, and it resulted in the audit being brought to a standstill which lasted months, with the auditors going silent. Our client received valuable time to prepare their own defense and carry on with their business. There are some requests that you can push back against and some which you will have to comply with. Knowing which request is which will greatly benefit you during a software audit against Microsoft.

Common Microsoft Audit Mistake #3: You Have no Single Point of Contact

Who are the software auditors talking to? Where do they go when they want something? And who is tailoring a response for them? This is often a simple question that for many companies goes unanswered during their Microsoft audit to produce devastating results. If just anyone is talking to the software vendor, including people who may not have the best information to answer the question completely, then the end result is that you do not know what Microsoft knows, where the software vendor is getting these assumptions from and, therefore, having no way to correct or challenge any misplaced information.

It also makes it quite difficult to structure a proper defense for yourself if you do not know what the vendor could possibly use in their own argument, making you essentially blind during the software negotiation process at the end of the software audit.

Solution: Establish a Single Point of Contact as Soon as You Received Your Audit Notification

Establishing a single person or team who will be in charge of interacting with the software auditors should be one of the first things you do when you receive your software audit notification. This Single Point of Contact (SPC) will review all data before it is passed onto the software auditor in order to maintain a clear understanding of your company’s stance with the vendor. The SPC will also review any data requests that the software auditor provides in order to ensure it is relevant to the scope of the audit.

In the event that an employee is interviewed by the software auditor, the SPC will prep the employee to ensure that the employee is ready to address the questions with a full understanding of the answer.

Common Microsoft Audit Mistake #4: You Trust your Microsoft Sale’s Rep Too Much

Microsoft sales reps are often friendly in nature and may come across as though they have your company’s best interest at heart. Due to this seemingly friendly nature, many companies will trust their sales reps to understand their business needs and their compliance requirements. This trust has resulted in companies wasting time and energy purchasing licenses they don’t need while remaining exposed to compliance risks during their next software audit.

Solution: Know What You Want

Don’t let the sales rep tell you what to do because it is important to remember that at the end of the day, Microsoft’s sales reps have the main goal of selling you more licenses regardless of whether it is of any advantage to you. This is why it is so important that you have a good understanding of what you want and how many licenses you need in order to remain compliant and get your company to where you want to go from a software perspective. This type of visibility into your software environment is typically only achieved through software asset management if your software environment is large enough.

Common Microsoft Audit Mistake #5: You have no SAM Tool or Software Asset Management Strategy in Place

Software asset management is perhaps one of the best defenses you can deploy when it comes to protecting yourself against the heavy fines of a software audit. However, very few companies have a software asset management strategy in place and only consider employing SAM in their software environment after they have received their audit notice. To ensure the strongest defense, however, SAM should be a year-round endeavor, to ensure you don’t fall back into the SAM bad habits that opened you up to compliance risks in the first place.

Solution: Have a Strong SAM Strategy Long Before

Implementing a strong software asset management strategy not just during the event of a software audit but for all year round comes with many benefits including but not limited to:

  • Realized Savings: Software asset management implemented in the long term can result in an estimated 20%-30% of your current software spending to be reclaimed and reinvested into your IT budget.
  • Long Term Software Audit Defense: Clients who have implemented our long-term SAM strategies have found that they can sleep easy at night knowing that they are well prepared for a software audit if ever one should occur (and it will happen because software audits are a matter of when, not if).
  • Improved Security: It isn’t often that SAM is thought of when considering IT Security but having a good understanding of your assets and making sure those assets are organized and not filled with noise can make the job of IT security that much easier. It’s also important to note that cybercriminals will often use old forgotten assets to enter your software environment and software asset management’s job is to hunt down such assets.

MetrixData 360: Microsoft Audit Specialists, Here to Help

At MetrixData 360, we have gone up against Microsoft on multiple occasions for close to a decade now. We have been tenacious in our approach to defend our client’s interest and our success can be found in the millions of dollars we have saved our clients over the years. We take a data-first approach, where we build a defense against the onslaught of auditors that allows us to beat Microsoft at their own game. If you’d like to learn more about our tireless defense of your business’s interests, you can contact us today and we can get started helping you through your next Microsoft Audit because MetrixData 360 has your back!

Book a Meeting with Your Audit Defense Today

Data Normalization and Software Asset Management

Software normalization and categorization sound like quite an intimidating process, the kind of thing you probably need a couple of bachelor’s degrees for. Since you’re never too old to stop learning, today we’re going to demystify some of the more intimidating elements of software normalization and categorization. At MetrixData 360, we are an independent software asset management consulting company specializing in data normalization, along with software contract negotiations, software audit defense, evaluation of license readiness for migration to the cloud, just to name a few of our many skills. If you want to learn more about what we do, you can check out our about us page. But for now, let’s get into the weeds of data normalization, what it is, how to do it, and how we can help.

Why Should You Care About Data Normalization?

Data normalization is an important process in software asset management that systematically cleans and identifies data, filtering out unneeded information and standardizing the data in a format that is easily readable. Some of the main benefits of data normalization include:

  • Speeding Up the Process of Data Collection: Imagine all the different formats your data could potentially be stored in. Reading your data accurately without a data normalization tool will require you to manually go in and input the data into a single platform. This could take weeks of work and leaves you open to human error.
  • Improves Visibility: Effective software asset management where you can ensure compliance and cost-effective measures begins with knowing what you have. If you are just beginning your software asset management journey, you can check out our article on how to get started.
  • Negotiation Advantage: Knowing exactly what you have and exactly what you need will give you an advantage in your next software negotiation with your vendor. Software vendors profit off of your uncertainty when it comes to the number of licenses; purchasing too many licenses means you are wasting money and purchasing too few means you are open to compliance risks which again means more money for the software vendors. Having a data normalization tool can level the playing field.
  • Discover Security Risks: Software asset management is often underappreciated for its uses in cybersecurity. However, data normalization involves painting an accurate picture of all the licenses that you have activated in your environment and this will give the cybersecurity team the ability to know what must be patched and updated. It is also important to note that cybercriminals will often use untracked and forgotten assets as an entry point into your software environment. Software asset management eliminates the risk of these forgotten legacy licenses.

What is Involved in the SAM Normalization Process?

Although complicated in practice, the concept of the process of gathering and normalizing software data is quite simple. During the normalization process, you have two goals in mind: collect deployment data and eliminating redundant data (such as instances where a license may be counted twice if it is found on two different tables) to ensure your table is referencing a finite number of applications. These two goals are achieved through matching software installation data to a central contact library comprised of recognized software, the process also adds things such as publisher, product, and version value to the discovered model. These discovery methods are used to connect installed software to entitlements related to that software model.

The process of data normalization can be quite simple or terribly complicated, depending on how you go about it. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re attempting to normalize your data:

Don’t Try to Do It Manually

I can’t stress this enough. The data is too complicated and too time-consuming to do by yourself. The exception for this is if you are a small company, with only a few desktops to keep track of. The more devices you have, the pricklier things can get and the data you pull by endlessly counting is unlikely to even be accurate as you try to keep track of everything in your software environment.

Data Normalization in SCCM

SCCM is an excellent tool at your disposal as you wrestle your data under control. It is an excellent way to monitor Microsoft tools and can be integrated neatly with a third-party tool.

If you are using SCCM, it is important that you ensure your data is of good quality by making sure your SCCM data isn’t stuck in silos but is instead accessible to those who would find it useful, including HR, procurement, and security.

SCCM can easily become overwhelming since it can collect hundreds of thoughts of pieces of data. Don’t get discouraged, however, since the next step is to clean up this data into something you can use.

Upload Your SCCM Data into Your SAM Tool

This is where things get a little difficult if you do not have a SAM tool properly installed since it is a SAM tool that can normalize your data in a manner that is easy to read and use. With the data your SAM tool produces, you can start rooting out compliance issues, find cybersecurity threats, and start developing a plan to minimize software costs. Ensuring that your SAM tool can produce trustworthy data is always a challenge, which is why it is important when you are picking your SAM tool to do your research or else you may be forced to resort to installing a secondary SAM tool or even picking up the slack through manual effort. That is why at MetrixData 360, we have a wide variety of resources available to help you come to an informed decision regarding your next SAM tool.

So, you can check out some of our resources, including: Best Software Asset Management Tools of 2020 and 5 Factors to Consider when Buying a Software Asset Management Tool.

How MetrixData 360 Can Help Get Your Software Under Control

As you can imagine, normalizing your data can be a daunting challenge if you are forced to go through it alone with just a notepad and pencil. Going about the task manually means you’ll be counting until you go blind, and there’s an uncomfortable chance you’ll get something wrong. This is why you’ll need your own SAM team who can own the project and someone who comes to the table with the skills and tools you need to get the job done quickly and accurately. Which is why MetrixData 360 has prepared a state-of-the-art Data Normalization strategy with proven results. If you’d like to know more about what we do and how we do it, you can reach out and contact us by clicking the link below and we will get to you in under 24 hours.

Microsoft Azure: The Pros and Cons

Hot on the heels of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) is Microsoft’s Azure. While not has large as AWS, Microsoft’s budding thought child serves as an ideal cloud solution to those completely addicted to Microsoft’s services. In 2017, Gartner named Microsoft Azure as a leader in the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service space. While Microsoft is quick to stroke its own ego, what are the real advantages and disadvantages of signing up for Microsoft Azure? At MetrixData 360, we want your experience in the cloud to be as pain-free as possible and we have helped many of our clients turn that goal into a reality, so in this article we’ll dive into a detailed picture of what it will actually be like to move to Azure.

Microsoft Azure Pros

High Availablility and Uptime

While Microsoft is not as large as AWS, Azure still is the second largest cloud platform in the industry today, with datacenters found in several different regions, making it ideal for international businesses. Although it should be noted that Azure is not available in every country, and although Azure will only store your data in regions where you permit it to be stored, you need to make sure that you pick a region where your data is allowed to be hosted. Azure also promises a 99.995% uptime rate — an impressive accomplishment in the Cloud Industry.

Flexibility

Moving to the cloud can be an expensive experience, so it is important for businesses to make the most of their cloud platform once they are there. This flexibility is important, as it will enable you to scale up your projects as your business continues to grow. Azure proves to be an easily scalable platform and barely a few clicks of a button will get you the additional licenses you may need. Imagine being able to scale down your software environment over the weekend or scaling up only for your busiest days of the year. Microsoft on-prem licensing can often prove quite difficult to remove licenses from, particularly the Enterprise Agreement (EA), which makes the easy adjustability of the Azure solutions a breath of fresh air, especially in this time of unpredictability.

Security

One of the most appealing features that Azure has to offer its clients is a state of the art security system following a ADADSC approach: Detect, Assess, Diagnose, Stabilize, and Close. They have proven to be the leading force in IaaS security and have received multiple compliance certifications for their high standards. Their security features are both reliable and user-friendly with protections like multi-factor authentication and password requirements.

Cons of Microsoft Azure

Complexity

As a SaaS platform, Azure can easily become an extremely complicated environment for larger companies. Before the cloud, there was an extremely rigorous process when it came to purchasing more licenses, usually in the form of a negotiation or a contract renewal. On the other hand, with the cloud it is easy to purchase new products; all you need is a company credit card and an afternoon. Many companies do not have any sort of processes to regulate the spending of employees when confronted with their cloud platform. It will require management and strict processes to make sure purchasing is controlled, environments are well managed, and projects are closed after they have reached their conclusion. For larger companies, it will be worth investigating a SaaS management solution, along with someone specially trained to manage your Azure platform.

Data Transfer

Azure services are all subject to data transfer fees that are often the cause of stacked hidden fees. This is not unique to Azure as all of the large cloud services like AWS and Google do this same gouging of their customer base. This separate fee for in and out data can prove quite costly for large companies, so you should be aware of this to avoid any surprises.

Support

Despite their high-quality products and global reach, Microsoft is not very good at dealing with the sheer volume of their customers and treating each customer as a unique individual. Anyone who has tried to get Microsoft’s attention would be able to tell you that. However, as a cloud service provider, that is one thing that Microsoft will have to do on a regular basis as companies run into technical issues and server problems that must be handled quickly. To answer this, Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) allows companies to experience better customer service.

Complicated Pricing

Controlling cost in Azure can be a daunting task that warrants its own book; however, touching briefly on the subject, Azure solutions are structured to encompass many stand-alone services. Each service also has complimentary services that are needed to run the services that you are after. For instance, simply wanting an application and a database will also require you to purchase some form of storage and networking. In addition, you must also consider additional fees such as transfer costs and backups which can act as sneaky hidden fees.

As such, building your unique Azure solution involves combining these multiple factors based on your preference, which means calculating your exact price can be difficult.

In an attempt to make things easier, Microsoft has a universal pricing metric based on the hourly rate, so estimating cost comes down to estimating how long you will be using each service. If you want to figure out cost, you should seek to understand the full scope of the services that you will consume in order to effectively calculate how much each service will cost. However, if you have multiple services running at once, each with their own pricing, it is easy to understand how such a task can quickly get away from you.

Getting Your Azure Spending Under Control

Moving to the Cloud can be a new and exciting time, and it is important that you have a strong understanding of what you need and how it will be used in order to create a unique solution that best suits the needs of your business. This will keep your cost at a minimum and your performance at its highest. At MetrixData 360, We specialize in assisting companies who wish to lower their cloud spending through license optimization practices. For more information on how MetrixData 360 as helps many of its clients successfully migrate to the cloud you can check out our cloud service page.

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Azure Active Directory

Taking your organization’s Active Directory to the Cloud can be an exciting and complicated event that businesses have had to do in some capacity over the past year in order to survive. Perhaps the initial transition was nothing but scaffolding, a hastily compiled structure that could accommodate your organization’s needs for the time being. But now that you are settled in your new Cloud space, you might want to make an important and permanent transition in hosting your Active Directory in the Cloud. It is obviously not as simple as copying and pasting your Active Directory’s data (if only it was!) but at MetrixData 360, we are here to help you with the transition, as we have helped many of our clients prepare for their move to the Cloud. So, what does a cloud-based Active Directory look like? How will it differ from your on-prem system as it currently exists? Keep reading and find out.

What is Active Directory

To know where you’re going, let’s look at where you’re coming from. At its most basic, your Active Directory is a directory service which allows for wide-reaching control over the desktops and users in your organization’s software infrastructure. The AD stores users, passwords, devices, and licensing entitlements, just to name a few. Since it is a single interface that stores a wealth of data, it is often extremely valuable for the IT department to deploy new technology, ensure compliance and optimization. As you might guess, the safety and accuracy of the data within the AD must be a top priority for organizations since the AD cannot deliver peak performance and results if the data it stores is not accurate and secure.

If you have spent any time on the Internet, you may have been asked to create a free online account by almost every website you’ve come across. The same is true when it comes to SaaS applications; in order to track users, every user needs an account for every application they will use, which means that every user may have dozens of usernames and passwords that the administration department will need to keep track of. For organizations with over a thousand employees, you can understand how quickly this could get away from you. This is where Azure Active Directory comes in. Azure AD provides users with a single username and password in order to access all the applications they have a license to use. In addition to keeping track of all the users in its system, Azure AD can also be used to:

  • Monitor access to applications
  • Provision Users
  • Enable federation between organizations
  • Extend existing on-prem AD implementations to your Azure AD

The Inherent Nature of the Cloud

Moving to the Cloud comes with Cloud related advantages and drawbacks and the Azure AD is no exception to this rule. As is the general nature of the Cloud, Azure AD’s main advantage is that the hardware and software needed for the operation of its service is hosted elsewhere, meaning you do not have to handle maintenance, deployment and security, your cloud solutions provider will take care of that. Pricing is much simpler being that you only pay month-to-month and pay only for what you are using, although Microsoft does still reward large upfront payments and yearlong commitments.

Main Benefits of Azure AD

  • Allows users to have a single log-in and password for every applicable SaaS application that your organization has on the Cloud.
  • Provide users with the ability to access these Cloud services from anywhere, allowing for secure remote access
  • Effectively manage your SaaS applications in a single location, increasing control, organization and security
  • Highly scalable at low costs compared to on-prem counterparts
  • High quality security at your fingertips

Azure AD Editions

There are a few options you can pick from when it comes to Azure AD, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Azure AD Free Edition

This version comes as a free edition available to every Azure subscription and offers a maximum 500,000 Directory Object creations. The only drawback with this edition is that it is not applicable with Microsoft paid services and applications like O365 and Intune.

  • Azure AD Basic

Allowing you to be both productive and cost-effective, Azure AD basic provides central cloud application access and self-service identity management solutions for the task worker who wants their infrastructure to exist exclusively in the Cloud. Basic also comes with many cost-reducing features like group-based access management, self-service password resets, and Azure AD Application Proxy.

  • Azure AD Premium P1

Premium P1 offers its customers a more empowered experience, with the ability to perform more demanding tasks in identification and access management. The P1 also comes with a wide variety of enterprise-level features to help improve identity management capabilities and allows hybrid users to access both on-prem and cloud services. Ideal for information workers, with the bonus of having Microsoft Identity Manager for on-prem identification and access management, P1 offers a full suite of options for security, identity management, and access management.

  • Azure Premium P2

    The Premium P2 encompasses all the features of the other editions plus some added features, including Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management, allowing top of the line security for your organization’s most sensitive data.

Integrating Azure AD with On-prem Active Directory

If you currently have an on-prem Active Directory Solution and are thinking about moving to the Cloud, there is no need to choose between Active Directory on-prem and Azure AD since you can potentially have both. The two systems can be blended seamlessly, for instance, if you are using Office 365, you can have the usernames and passwords of users managed by on-prem AD while Azure AD takes care of the network logons while synchronizing the two systems so that if details are changed both ADs are updated.

Getting Your Azure AD Solution Under Control

Microsoft Azure AD is a great way for your company to improve the organization of your infrastructure on the Cloud, but it won’t matter how organized you are if you are not compliant. At MetrixData 360, we help our clients ensure they can safely transfer their applications to the Cloud without running the risk of falling out of compliance. This will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing exactly what you have deployed in your environment and that you can use it. For more information on our services, you can check out our MetrixData 360 Cloud Services page.



Migrating SQL Server to the Cloud Like a Pro

Moving your SQL Server to the Cloud, that devilish concoction of riddles and frustration, might be a little harder than anticipated. There is a lot to figure out, such as providers, solutions, and options — so many options. At MetrixData 360, we often assist our customers in migrating to the Cloud successfully, primarily in making sure their transition is adhering to the rules of their software vendors and to make sure they are moving in the most cost-effective way possible.

So, in this article, we’ll be discussing how you can successfully move your SQL Server into the Cloud and some of those juicy options you have at your disposal.

Why Migrate Your SQL Server to the Cloud?

Before you go through all the trouble of moving your SQL Servers to the Cloud, it is important to ask why you would even want to do something like that when you already have a SQL Server on-prem that works just fine.

  • Future-proof your software infrastructure:
    • It is clear that the Cloud is where the business world is going, and the pandemic of 2020 has only sped up this transition. It is also clear that Microsoft’s goals are to operate and sell licenses exclusively in and for the Cloud, and on-prem products are being phased out of their lineup.

 

    • Scalability in the Cloud is so much easier: Your SQL Servers need to be as elastic as possible (especially in these times of uncertainty), and the Cloud typically allows you to adjust your Cloud sizing as you go along.

 

  • The Cloud is praised for having advanced security: Protecting your data is everything, and the top Cloud vendors are praised for having world-class security infrastructure.


Azure vs. AWS

While there are many cloud providers to pick from, there are basically two main Cloud providers that dominate the marketplace and serve as the only viable option for large international companies: Microsoft’s Azure and AWS from Amazon.

Both providers will allow you to move your SQL to their Cloud platform, and both offer your classic pay-as-you-go plan that is often found in the cloud, along with a variety of configuration types. So, let’s look at each platform’s SQL Server Migration Options and see if we can find one that is best for your business.

Related: How do the top three Cloud platforms stack up?
Check out our Comparison

Virtual Machine Configuration Types

Objective Description AWS Azure
General Purpose Balanced CPU-to-memory ratio. Ideal for testing and development, small to medium databases, and low to medium traffic web servers. T2, M3, M4 DSv2, Dv2, DS, D, Av2, A0-7
Compute Optimized High CPU-to-memory ratio. Good for medium traffic webservers, network applications, batch processes, and application servers. C3, C4 Fs, F
Memory Optimized High memory-to-core ratio. Great for relational database servers, medium to large caches, and in-memory analytics X1, R3, R4 GS, G, DSv2, DS
Storage Optimized High disk throughput and IO. Ideal for Big Data, SQL, and NoSQL databases I2, I3, D2 Ls
GPU Specialized virtual machines targeted for heavy graphic rendering and video editing. F1, G2, P2 NV, NC
High Performance Compute Fastest and most powerful CPU virtual machines P2, R3, R4, X1, C3 H, A 8-11

 

Recommended Virtual Machine Configuration Type(s) by SQL Server Edition

SQL Server Edition Virtual Machine Types (both AWS and Azure)
SQL Server Express General Purpose
SQL Server Web General Purpose / Compute Optimized
SQL Server Standard Memory Optimized / Storage Optimized
SQL Server Enterprise Memory Optimized / Storage Optimized / High Performance Computer

Azure in the Cloud

Microsoft’s Azure has currently three deployment options for putting your SQL Server Database in the Cloud:

Azure VMs

With Virtual Machines (VMs), you have access to the Server’s Operating System (OS) as if it were hosted in your infrastructure, allowing you the freedom to install all the software that you require, just so long as you have sufficient storage space. This solution offers the widest range of services, including backups, restoration, mirroring, detaching and attaching, log shipping, bulk loading, DMA/DMS, and replication. VMs are also excellent for almost every migration strategy and it is quite easy since it is the closest you can get to simply copying and pasting your old server into a new server. For this reason, it is the most popular option.

 

Azure Managed Instances

Manages Instances are a fully managed SQL Server Database hosted by Azure and are simply placed in your network. This means you do not have to worry about security, updates, or patches — all of which are handled by Microsoft. This solution is the next best option after VMs, since it has all of features listed above except for detaching and attaching, mirroring, and log shipping. It is fairly compatible with most strategies and a migration can expect few hiccups.

 

Azure SQL Server Database

Azure SQL Server Database is perhaps the most limited solution of the three, since this option doesn’t provide you with backups or restoration, detaching and attaching, mirroring or log shipping, it is also the solution where you are most likely going to run into issues. There are often issues surrounding security and infrastructure incompatibility which can halt the operation.

To assist in this migration, Microsoft has created the Data Migration Assistant, which is specifically designed to help you move your SQL to Azure by comparing feature parity and database compatibility, allowing you to better understand your unique deployment options.

SQL Server in AWS

Microsoft SQL Server is flexible enough that it can be moved to a host that is not owned by Microsoft, including AWS. There are a few advantages to picking AWS over Azure: AWS is larger, has more options, and it may already be the primary platform that your company is using, and keeping your operations on a single Cloud host will make your management of it that much easier.

AWS has two options when moving your SQL Server: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 allows you to maintain control over every aspect of your SQL environment and it will run very similar to when your SQL Server was on-prem. This means that you can have your own database administrators and set up your own architecture. Availability, configuration, and backups with the EC2 will be up to you since you will be setting up your own database. Despite the fact that, in general, the RDS is more attractive, the EC2’s main appeals come from its full control, its greater variety of features, and its ability to exceed the maximum database size and performance needs of the RDS.

Amazon RDS

Where the EC2 offers an experience as close to on-prem as possible, the RDS is much more akin to your typical Cloud services, with pre-configured parameters and settings that are best suited for the SQL Server edition and DB Instance you select upon installation. RDS also provides you with additional features such as CloudWatch and AWS Management Console to provide you better control over your compute, memory, and storage capacity utilization. RDS takes care of things like patching, backup, disaster recovery, and event notification to ensure you’re up to date and running at peak performance while enjoying a hands-off experience.

Virtual Machines
Features AWS Azure
Product Names EC2 – Elastic Compute Cloud – Virtual Machines Virtual Machines
Commitment Types Pay as you go (on demand),
Reserved Instances (1 or 3 year terms for discounted rates compared to On-Demand pricing)
Pay as you go
Instance Types Standard (no control over which physical server hosts VM, Dedicated Hosts Standard (no control over which physical server hosts VM)
Operating System Yes Yes

Managed SQL Server Database(s)
Feature AWS Azure
Product Name RDS – SQL Server SQL Database
Availability Single AZ (one server), Multi AZ (SQL Server mirror across multiple servers) Standard, Premium (High Availability)
Editions Express, Web, Standard, Enterprise
Versions 2008, R2, 2012, 2014, 2016
Max Databases Per Instance 30 Single – 1
Elastic Pool – 50-500 depending on level
Max Storage 4 TB Single – 2 GB to 4 TB depending on level
Elastic Pool – 156 GB to 4 TB depending on level
Ease of Importing Databases Difficult/Complicated
No access to underlying OS so accessing the database can be challenging
Requires AWS S3 or Azure Storage Container (cloud storage)
Relatively straight forward
No access to underlying OS
Features/Limitations Support for native capabilities of SQL Server Edition (seamless migration)
No support for SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, DQS, MDS. These require SQL Server in Virtual Machine
Not all native capabilities of SQL Server edition supported (may require code modification and/or loss of functionality)
No support for MDS, DQS, or SSIS. These require SQL Server in Virtual Machine
Benefits Over VM & SQL Server Approach No overhead management required (OS/SQL Server patched, service packs, maintenance all handled by provider)

What Type of Licenses Will You Need to Move Your SQL Server to the Cloud?

SQL Server Licensing
Features AWS Azure
Provided by Service Provider Yes Yes
Client Provided
(with SA)
Yes with SA using Licensing Mobility Yes with SA using License Mobility
Client Provided
without SA
Yes (EC2 Dedicated Hosts only) No

How Much Does SQL Server in the Cloud Cost?

The question on everyone’s mind always circles back to price and how much it will cost you. As pressing as this question is, it is also difficult to answer since there are so many factors to consider that will be unique to your individual environment. Luckily, both AWS and Azure have tools to help you come to an estimate:

Related: SQL Server is one of the Most Confusing Licensing Models out there.
Check out our SQL Server Licensing Guide for an Explanation that makes sense.

 

Need Help Moving to the Cloud?

SQL Servers can be such a headache that simply getting them to work properly on-prem and ensuring they are licensed accordingly can be a task and a half. So, moving to the Cloud can be an intimidating process to say the least. If you find yourself in this situation of wanting to move your SQL Servers to the Cloud, know that it is possible, and you don’t have to go through it alone. At MetrixData 360, we have helped many of our clients get ready for the Cloud by ensuring your licenses will permit you to move safely and in a manner that will ensure your transition is compliant and cost-effective. If you would like to learn more about our Cloud Services, you can click the link below.a

Software Auditing Firm vs. Software Asset Management Firm

At the beginning of a software audit, the software vendors will introduce you to your auditors. These people may be from an external auditing firm, like Deloitte or KMPG, or be part of an internal auditing team from the software vendor themselves. It might be tempting to assume that these auditors are the experts and will provide all the assistance you need to get through your software audit smoothly.

However, at MetrixData 360, we know firsthand how very little these auditing teams are invested in looking after your company’s interests or even represent your case accurately. We firmly believe that you will need a software audit defense team of your own to verify the auditor’s findings, and working with an external SAM team is an excellent way to create a strong defense.

But what exactly is the difference between blindly trusting the software auditors and getting your own team to defend you?

Software Auditors are hired by the Software Vendor

The first and most important thing to note when you are working with a software auditor vs. a SAM expert is that the software auditor has been hired by the software vendor and that will greatly affect their motivation during the audit. They may be paid based on how large a compliance gap they can find, and this will create a bias in their efforts.

If there are any grey areas or missing data, they will assume the most expensive scenario is the reality, and it is unlikely they will dig any deeper than that. Why would they? Further research will either present no effect or possibly negatively affect their final payment. 

SAM Experts are Neutral Third Parties

Software Asset Management Professionals, on the other hand, are people that your company hires, so they are here to represent your interests. Their goal is to keep things as legal, accurate, and cost-effective as possible. Where there are grey areas, they will seek out the answers — whatever those answers may be. At MetrixData 360, we always pride ourselves in defending the best interests of our clients and we usually charge based on a flat rate or on a contingency basis, and our approach has often led to whittling down seemingly huge compliance gaps to much more manageable levels (or even nothing!).

Software Auditors will Ask for Data Outside the Scope of Your Audit

We have often run up against software auditors who collect data that has nothing to do with the audit they have been hired to investigate. The reasons for this may vary: perhaps they aren’t finding the results they need within the scope of the audit and they are trying to spread their investigations elsewhere, or perhaps the software vendor is looking for data with a competitive edge that has everything to do with your next true-up and nothing to do with the audit you’re in right now. Blindly handing over data simply because it is what the software auditor asked for can easily put you at a disadvantage as you help the software auditors build a case against you!

SAM Experts Know What Data the Auditors Need and Which They Don’t

We recently helped our client drive their Oracle audit to a stalemate (a valuable thing, as it gave our client the time they needed to thoroughly prepare a defense for the audit that followed) simply because the software auditors asked for a piece of data, and we asked them to provide proof for how that data was relevant to the audit (hint: it wasn’t, and it would have been used against our client later).

SAM experts know how audits work. In fact, at MetrixData 360 we have it down to a science, and they know when a piece of data needs to be handed over and when the software auditors have taken too much liberty poking around your software environment. They can defend your best interests by keeping you from handing over documents the auditors don’t need to see.

Software Auditors will not Accept Data from Your SAM Tools

It doesn’t matter if your SAM tool is high powered or accurate, it might even be approved by the software vendor who is auditing you, but software auditors will usually refuse to accept data unless it is drawn by their own tools. There are a few reasons for this, but it is mainly because the auditors want consistent data that is arranged in a certain way to save themselves time.

However, this is a terrible situation for you, because you do not know what their SAM tool will pick up. It may not take into consideration the unique licensing metrics and complexities of your software environment, and it may come up with a wildly inaccurate number that will leave you blindsided and scrambling to disprove.

Your software architecture is delicate. What will happen if the auditor’s tool needs to be installed into your software environment and the tool damages it? Your first job during the software audit is to defend and prove the accuracy of your own tool.

SAM Experts Work with Your Tools and Come with Their Own

At MetrixData 360, we work with what you give us. If you have your own SAM tools, we can work with the data it provides us and supplements any missing data with our own tools. If you don’t have your own tools, we can use ours exclusively, so there’s nothing to worry about.

With a SAM expert on the team, you shouldn’t have to resort to throwing all the hard-earned data that you’ve gathered with your SAM tool in the trash just because the software auditors aren’t used to working with the format your data is presented in. We often advise advocating for the validity of your own SAM tool by asking your software auditors to use data samples to determine accuracy or agree to use the software auditor’s tools only to supplement for missing data.

Related: Interested in Learning more about SAM Tools? Check out our article:
What Are SAM Tools

Get Data Experts that Represent Your Interests!

Software audits are not everyone’s cup of tea, and the software auditors that attend them often do not make the matter easier. Between unreasonable requests, ELPs that claim you owe thousands more than you actually do, and aggressively short turnaround times, software auditors can make the challenge of defending yourself that much harder if you are left to rely only on their services.

It’s important that you have someone in your corner backing you, someone who knows the intricate and unique inner workings of your software environment and knows how to defend your interests so that you are paying only what you need. MetrixData 360 can give you that kind of support. We have helped many companies fight their way out of seemingly hopeless situations and saved them millions of dollars in the process. If you’d like to learn more about how MetrixData 360 can help you during your next software audit, you can check out our Audit Defense Service Page.

What is SCCM and How is it Used?

SCCM: what it is, what it does, and how it helps with your software asset management (SAM) solution

It is well known in the tech industry that Microsoft has created one of the most complicated software licensing schemes in the market; one only needs to take a look at Microsoft’s SQL Server licensing to see that much. Not only are their licenses hypercomplex, but they are also subject to change frequently. If you are a large organization, this means that a single change in licensing could affect thousands of products throughout your software environment. It can be a nightmare and a seemingly insurmountable task to manage this kind of complexity, which is why it is important to be aware of the tools that you have at your disposal to help you in this struggle, such as Microsoft’s very own SCCM.

At MetrixData 360, we are well versed with Microsoft’s products, including SCCM.

So, in this article, we will look at Microsoft’s SCCM; what it does, what it is good for, and how it can help you improve your software asset management solution within your company.

What is SCCM?

SCCM was originally published in 1992 under the name System Management Server (SMS); however, in 2007 it was renamed System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and may also be called ConfigMgr. SCCM can be described as a Microsoft management tool, meant to provide users with the ability to manage a large number of Windows-based computers.

Administrators using SCCM are given the ability to manage deployment and the security of devices and applications over a large and intricate enterprise software environment. Many administrators also use SCCM as an extra layer of security with the ability to create automatic patching. However, SCCM comes with many other features including remote-based control, patch management, operating system deployment, and network protection, just to name a few of its many features.

A free trial of SCCM is available for a short time; however, a license is required after the free trial has expired.

SCCM uses a single infrastructure to do its job, placing virtual machines, mobile devices, and physical machines under the same umbrella, giving the administration team control over a wide variety of tools and resources, either on the cloud or on sites. It allows the administrative team to discover service, desktops, and mobile devices connected to the network through the Active Directory and manage those deployments and updates on a device or group basis.

SCCM vs. SCOM

SCCM is often confused with Microsoft System Centre Operations Manager, SCOM. However, while they serve similar roles, these Microsoft products are not identical, SCOM allows administrators to monitor the health and performance of their IT environment, performing tasks such as deploying and managing operations, services, and applications within a software environment.

Both SCCM and SCOM exist as part of a larger family of products better designed to assist admin to manage applications and services, however, SCCM helps to primarily maintain the infrastructure security and make sure everything is up to date while SCOM monitors the services and devices and then shares that information in regards to your requirements.

What Can SCCM be Used for?

SCCM has a wide variety of uses including the ability to manage updates, provide a layer of protection against outside sources, deploy software, and can even protect you against compliance issues.

Since it provides you with such a wide variety of data, you can use SCCM to organize your software environment. You can also configure automatic alerts and automatic tasks to ensure you are updated on the status of objects and to ensure tasks are completed on time.

Using SCCM for Software Asset Management

While most organizations only use SCCM as an IT tool, it can also provide a wealth of information for software asset management. This is because SCCM will store inventory data that can be used to track assets.

One simply needs to ensure that SCCM is freed up using a web-based multi-tenant asset management system which will allow SCCM to be used for tasks beyond the IT Department, such as HR procurement and security. SCCM can provide you with the ability to plan and proactively dig down deep into the data of your software environment in order to ensure compliance and lower the risk of receiving a Software Audit, which can prove a costly and unbudgeted expense in these troubling times.

Related: Getting ready for a software audit? You can prepare by checking out our Software Audit Defense Procedure

Of course, there are limitations to SCCM since it can only provide you with so much information in a raw format. Often companies will use SCCM during the beginning stages of their software asset management solution in order to gain a footing before eventually migrating to a specialized SAM solution.

Getting a Handle on Your Software Asset Management Strategy

Software asset management is a difficult task for any organization with an intricate software environment. It is important therefore to ensure that you have every available tool at your disposal to help you achieve this goal. Not many companies consider SCCM as a valuable tool in their efforts to reach compliance and optimization.

At MetrixData 360, we often use our client’s SCCM tool to assist in our efforts to gather our data, which, in turn, ensures our customer’s compliance, optimization, and software licensing confidence. If you would like more details about how MetrixData 360’s approach can save you big on your software expenses, you can check out our SAM COMPASS service page by clicking the link below.