Sleep Easy with DSS SAM

By Matthew Sarrel  |  Posted 2009-01-23 Print this article Print


If you have recurring nightmares about which non-IT approved applications your employees are running, then DSS SAM will provide more comfort than counting sheep. Within 30 minutes of launching the server, configuring the console, installing the clients and turning on analyses, I knew everything about the applications running on the endpoints on my network. Add to that the enormous amount of information BES itself collected, stored and analyzed, and it is easy to see that this is a powerful and helpful solution for any IT function ranging from endpoint configuration management to technical support.

Leaving the BES Console behind and relying almost exclusively on the DSS SAM Web application, I fired up FireFox 3.0 with the Flash plug-in installed and browsed over to the server. The first time I did this, a helpful Overview page appeared that guided me through connecting to a data source. I then set up Computer Groups so I could sort and filter analyses and reports.

Browsing to the Software Catalog tab enabled me to see the thousands of applications/publishers already added to the catalog, and I could easily add more with a few clicks. Then it was off to the Contracts tab to enter licensing parameters such as software title and version, cost per unit, license count, and license period. An interesting feature is that software licenses can be tracked by computer group, so you can administer licenses more closely-for example, to allow everyone in accounting to have an Excel license but only management in other departments. From here, thorough reporting that will help you measure license utilization can be located under the Contract Reports tab.

Reporting is a strong suit of the solution, and in some ways this is tightly integrated with the excellent Web GUI because you can always sort, print and export (CSV, PDF) anything on screen. I easily created a variety of users, such as "IT support" and "purchasing agents" and "auditor," who automatically received privileges to different reports and functionality in the Web GUI. Accounts can be created as "administrator," "view all," "edit catalog," "edit contracts," and "edit groups." This is important because different people involved with SAM will want to see different information based on what they need to know, and BigFix DSS SAM collects a huge amount of information, so being able to get to what you need right away is very powerful.

Overall, BigFix DSS SAM is a powerful addition to an existing BES deployment where software license management is an important responsibility of the IT department. In addition, in this day and age where saving some bucks on cutting licenses for unused apps, that's money in the bank.

Pricing, bundled with BigFix Systems Lifecycle Management pack (patch management, power management, remote desktop for Windows, software distribution, software inventory, software usage monitoring, and asset discovery):

$20 per desktop

$52 per Windows server

$84 per Linux/Mac/Unix server

a la carte for $10 per endpoint

add-on to previous BigFix installation for $4 per endpoint

Matthew D. Sarrel is executive director of Sarrel Group, an IT test lab, editorial services and consulting firm in New York City.

Matthew Sarrel Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is a network security,product development, and technical marketingconsultant based in New York City. He is also a gamereviewer and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse and for more general information on Matt, please see

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