Voted Best Answer
Jul 31, 2017 - 06:23 AM
How do you ensure the breadth of hardware records is accurate? e.g. How do you ensure you are recording everything. If you have 1,000 devices, how do you know there are not actually 1,100?
--> Our goal is 100% and we hope we are there but one never really knows if you have a large, dispersed organization. We try to broaden our field of vision by tracking purchases of hardware. We get a feed from our corporate eProcurement system, IF the purchaser chooses a correct General Ledger code. For example, our midrange hardware needs to be purchased using an 04/35 combination. If the purchaser selects something like "office supplies" to buy a router, we'll most likeky not know about it for a while. Once purchased we also try to us autodiscovery tools in place for other purposes but which can as a by-product tell us if we have all physical assets. Again, for example, our IP endpoint management software can be mined for devices and then we can cross-reference our asset database. With our large ESX virtual environments, reports of "running" servers can be matched to our database. My advice, use other sources to help validate your data, especially if decommissioning assets isn't well controlled.
How do you ensure the accuracy of hardware records e.g. If a device has 1GB of memory how do you ensure that record is accurate?
--> Well, we don't really worry so much about memory but we do care a lot about CPU! Since software management really is dependent on CPU counts, we track them from the beginning. We use hooks into our deployment process to start with a good base and then require requests for change tickets when the CPU value goes up or down. We try to validate using other sources as well. Tools such as SCCM for Windows servers.
What financial reporting on HAM is of interest to your senior management team?
--> Biggest aspects are depreciation and maintenance.
What are the key processes that underpin HAM at your company?
--> change management throughout the lifecycle
Planning and Forecasting, Acquisition, Stock keeping, Issue / Acceptable Use, Maintenance, Lease, Dealing with outsourcers, VM creation, device monitoring, dealing with exceptions (records not showing what they should)
--> is the question how do we deal with all of those? That's a lot of process!
--> Acquisition: we try to force all acquisition through our eProcurement system. And that's not just HAM, it's Finance asking to so as to maintain the G/L.
--> Stock keeping is mostly manual updates to our inventory tool
--> Maintenance: for contracts that are not "four walls", i.e. everything you have from us, we reconcile our inventory lists serial number but serial number with the vendors contracts.
--> VM Creation has been automated for the most part and there are hooks, i.e. API's, into our asset repository. Same with VM decommission.
What challenges are you key challenges in managing devices?
--> DISCIPLINE in following the defined policies and procedures. Folks who go outside of the eProcurement system to purchase hardware. Mavericks who install or remove hardware without RFC's. Updating assets in the field without updating the repository, such as name changes. Assiging owners to assets and keeping that ownership current given the constant change in staff roles.
What are the highest profile risks in managing hardware?
--> Getting out of synch with reality. Getting everyone to trust our data as the "system of truth" for hardware assets means we need to keep their trust by maintaining our quality at the highest level. Once people begin to question just how "true" your "system of truth" is, you start to lose their trust. If they don't trust you, they don't work with you to maintain that quality. And cooperation across all towers of work responsibility is crucial. HAM alone cannot maintain asset data quality. It takes IT Operations, DevOps, Applications, Network, etc. to get to 100% and stay at 100%.
Has upcoming GDPR legislation changed your thinking around hardware management?
--> Yes and No.
--> Yes in that we now must ensure that our business practices used in the USA to be compliant are adapted to GDPR standards. We have strengthend our inventory processes in any EU data center that we work with.
--> No in that we've always striven to be compliant with all requirements and best practices.
What asset fields are important and why?
--> Serial number, which gets messy when the device is re-branded and the appliance maker gives it a second serial number, different from the manufacturer's serial number.
--> location, down to the room, rack, rack unit elevation. We do rack capacity management using # of rack units occupied. Also important during an outage.
--> purchase PO, so that we can track device back to our corporate Fixed Assets system and General Ledger
--> type and # of CPU, cores, for software license management
--> amount of memory
--> owner/beneficiary, primarily a chargeback requirement but also used for impact when there's an issue
--> O/S, software management and reporting, upgrade planning, etc.