Flexera Software: Product Overview and Insight

Flexera Software makes on-premises and cloud-based solutions that define, structure, manage and automate assets and services for enterprise operations.

Flexera.PO

eWEEK is establishing a new IT products and services section that encompasses most of the categories that we cover on our site. In it, we will spotlight the leaders in each sector, which include enterprise software, hardware, security, on-premises-based systems and cloud services. We also will add promising new companies as they come into the market.

Today: Flexera (IT Asset Management software)

Company description:  Flexera Software is a global leader in Software Asset Management and Software License Optimization solutions, enabling enterprises to gain visibility and control of IT assets, reduce ongoing software costs and maintain continuous license compliance. These capabilities are delivered as a comprehensive suite of enterprise software asset management and license compliance solutions that optimize the management of software assets throughout the software lifecycle.

The company maintains its headquarters in Itaska, Ill., and is privately held (TA Associates, private equity). It employs about 1,200 people.

The company used to be the Rovi Corp.'s software division (at the time Rovi was still named Macrovision). On April 1, 2008, Macrovision sold its Acresso software division to the Thoma Bravo investment fund. In October 2009, Acresso Software, Inc. became Flexera Software.

Flexera claims that its next-generation software licensing, compliance and installation solutions are can ensure continuous licensing compliance, optimized software investments and future-proofed businesses against the risks and costs of constantly changing technology. The company, which has been in business for 31 years (since 1987), has more than 80,000 customers.

International Operations:  Flexera is a global company with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

Key Markets: Flexera’s key markets are North America and Europe.

Product descriptions: Flexera offers products in seven categories: application readiness, data platform, installation, software composition analysis, software license optimization, software monetization and software vulnerability management. The company’s most important solutions include:

  • Flexera AdminStudio: Serves as a control board for updates, new releases, new apps, Windows 10 migrations and virtualization projects; Flexera claims its frontline management application platform makes short work of these and other application deployment chores.
  • Flexera Corporate Software Inspector:  This core product continuously identifies vulnerable applications and applies security patches. It is used verified vulnerability intelligence to assess more than 20,000 applications.
  • FlexNet Publisher (formerly known as FLEXlm) is a software license manager that implements license management and is intended to be used in corporate environments to provide floating licenses to multiple end users of computer software.
  • Flexera App Risk Module for AdminStudio: When applications are under attack, 90 percent of cyberattacks target their vulnerabilities. Users can fend off most app attacks with preemptive actions; this module keeps users aware of application vulnerabilities from packaging to deployment.
  • Flexera Lifecycle Application Packaging and Application Readiness, which follows an application from creation, development, testing, QA and delivery and keeps tabs on changes and patch management throughout its lifecycle.
  • Flexera IT Service Management, which enables users to streamline operations, maintenance tasks, and automate and standardize processes;
  • Flexera Workflow Manager:  Standardizes, streamlines, automates and coordinates application management through the entire asset lifecycle.
  • Flexera Asset Lifecycle Manager:  Allows users to manage IT and business processes with consolidated asset configuration;
  • Flexera also offers professional training and customer support services. The company’s software and services help IT teams to automate and manage desktops, servers and mobile devices.

Key top-line business benefits of all Flexera products: 

  • Desktop transformation
  • Windows desktop and server migrations
  • Application virtualization
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
  • Mobile application management (MAM)
  • Remediation of application vulnerabilities

Insight and Analysis:  

High-level: Flexera's core product, Corporate Software Inspector, continuously identifies vulnerable applications and applies security patches. It uses verified vulnerability intelligence to assess more than 20,000 applications, drives patch prioritization based on criticality of vulnerabilities and security policies, provides tested patch packages for non-Microsoft applications, and integrates with management tools for patch deployment. Its main features include vulnerability advisories, patch assessment for Windows, Mac OS and Linux (Red Hat), patch prioritization, prepackaged patches, packaging wizard, patch automation, third-party patching for windows and integration with WSUS and SCCM, workflow and compliance orchestration and reporting. Patch management capabilities are offered as an independent product, as well as part of a larger platform to manage software vulnerabilities.

Pro: Flexera claims to be the only vendor with software vulnerability assessment and patching capabilities in a single platform. Flexera can handle large enterprise deployments; it is used to discover, verify, validate and document vulnerabilities in more than 55,000 products.

Pro: Flexera uses Vulnerability Intelligence by Secunia Research. Advisories are sent out for all vulnerabilities, signatures for new threats are added to assessment tools, and the product tests and repackages patches for the most common desktop applications. It also has customizable reports and dashboards for analytics.

Pro: Overall, it’s significant to note that Gartner Peer Insights gave Flexera Flexnet Software Asset Manager five stars (highest rating) in November 2017. Overall comment: “FlexNet covers a broad range of software license types, applications and publishers. The product connects to wide range of discovery tools and allows customization of license measurements and software models. Good ARL & PURL. Good agent range to plug inventory gaps. Strong scalability. Good range of connectors. FNMP installation is a little awkward. Too many scripts to complete tasks i.e. setup the database. This should all be part of the installation GUI. One installer is required.”

Con: Users in the past sometimes criticized the software being slow to use and not being able to tell how long it took to see if was actually working. Most of those complaints have faded away as the company improved its code over the years, users say.

Con:  Flexera tends to be on the pricey side at $14K for a basic installation.

List of current customers:

Flexera customers include Seibel Systems, Maersk, Adobe, Autodesk, Boeing, BP, CA, Citi, Dell, Ericsson, Ford, GM, HP, Honeywell, Hitachi and a list of others.

Value-Added Feature Set:

  • Discovers application virtualization, streaming, and virtual desktop usage;
  • Handles license consumption calculations for virtual applications, virtual desktops (VDI), virtual machines (VM), hard partitions, and sub-capacity licensing;
  • Identifies processor, VM and hard-partition characteristics for major hardware and virtualization vendors;
  • Monitors software product use rights and application usage for all license models and all vendors;
  • Tracks usage in a product-specific way that aligns with how the software usage is monetized.

Implementation:

  • Deployment: Several options: Software as a service, virtual appliance, cloud-based, on-premises installation.
  • Delivery:  Several options: email, download, software as a service, cloud-based, on-premises installation.
  • Agents:  Agents are used to determine the patch status of installed programs, and agentless assessment is also available. Agents can be deployed as packages for installation, or distributed as files through third-party systems such as SCCM and executed via command line.

Other key players in this market:

BMC Remedy

HP Enterprise Asset Manager

IBM Tivoli

ServiceNow

Ivanti

Microsoft SCCM

CA IT Asset Manager

Manage Engine

Samanage

Scalable Software

Snow Software

Vector Networks

Sources:

Gartner Research

eWEEK

ITAM Review

eSecurity Planet

Contact information for potential customers: 

Flexera website

Contact for sales information

Sales information: 1-800-374-4353 

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he...