Software Inventory: StacksWare and Microsoft SCCM

In our sales conversations, many enterprises ask us how our product compares to Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). In this short blog post, we'll discuss and compare the strengths of each product

Microsoft SCCM is a powerful product with a wide array of features, ranging from endpoint security to application deployment and patching. Among these features, Microsoft also markets software inventory as a provided feature.

That being said, while SCCM is great at deploying and managing applications, the product was never designed with software inventory in mind. As discussed in this blog post, while it is entirely possible to configure software inventory with SCCM, the product does not have functionality for analyzing this data.

Real-time Application Inventory

SCCM does not inventory applications in real-time. Rather, inventory information is updated on a scheduled interval that rarely exceeds a few times per day due to performance reasons.

StacksWare on the other hand is designed to act reactively to application changes. As a result, all application changes are pushed to our cloud service within 15 seconds of an application launch without causing any performance issues on the target machine. This allows enterprises to be proactive about their software environments.

Application rationalization and normalization

SCCM does not “clean” the raw process information that is sent to the management server. Ambiguous process names such as sqlserver.exe (SQL Server) or vmtoolsd.exe (VMware Tools) are not automatically associated with their corresponding applications and vendors. As a result, IT administrators using SCCM would still need to sift through the data and manually determine whether certain processes belong to an application like Microsoft Word or Excel.

With StacksWare, all meaningful processes and installed applications are mapped automatically to their corresponding vendor and application. Unknown or irrelevant applications are immediately hidden from view. This allows IT administrators to effortlessly canvas their software environments and perform business analyses, such as discovering and eliminating unused software licenses.

Other StacksWare product workflows that SCCM does not provide

15 minute agentless installation
Tight integration with VDI deployments
Native integration with FlexLM License Server
Native integration with XenServer
Tracking Microsoft SPLA software entitlements
Real-time application notifications
Determining IT Chargeback

Our recommendation

Overall, both products excel in different areas. Our recommendation is to deploy your applications with SCCM and use StacksWare to track how those applications are utilized to cut license costs and defend against potential audits.

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