Understanding Dynamic Scan Groups

Software scans—like those performed with ILMT—are familiar to just about anybody working in Software Asset Management (SAM). They keep you compliant, help ensure there won’t be any surprises during a software audit, and are critical for giving you important details about your software inventory.

But the problem with software scans is that they require a huge amount of processing power—so much that they can overload your server and compromise the ability of your host to function properly. Dynamic scan groups were created to solve this problem.

What does a dynamic scan group do?

Because software scans require so much processing power, you need to balance your CPU resources to avoid server problems. That means creating a dynamic scan group, which will randomly distribute the processing power associated with the software scan across different groups. This keeps the software scan from trying to perform the entire function on all the virtual servers at once, which is something your host likely can’t handle.

It’s the same principle as if you were deploying patches or distributing software—you can’t run twenty thousand endpoints at the same time without expecting to cripple your servers.

What happens when servers overload?

Overloaded servers are bad news and can cause all sorts of problems. Probably the most common is that they’ll be slow—and can be crippled entirely, which will disconnect users. This can lead to all sorts of problems, including data loss and the loss of critical functions like backup capabilities.

What kind of business uses dynamic scan groups?

As companies grow larger, more sophisticated, and more globalized, load balancing is becoming a bigger problem—and dynamic scan groups are becoming more important. Generally speaking, if you have a large business with ten thousand endpoints or more, you should be using dynamic scan groups when implementing software scans, deploying patches, or application updates/rollouts. They probably aren’t as necessary for small- or medium-sized businesses.

Are there other uses for dynamic scan groups?

Dynamic scan groups can be useful for testing purposes, in addition to helping with load distribution. Say, for example, you use a dynamic scan group to randomly distribute new software throughout your company. This is useful because if the random distribution works, you can expand the rollout process with peace of mind, knowing that it’s been tested across a variety of operating systems, hardware platforms, application servers, etc. 

How can my company start implementing dynamic scan groups?

If your business routinely does software scans and needs help setting up dynamic scan groups, our team at CleanSlate can help. We understand how to integrate them into your software scan process so that your load distribution won’t affect server performance—and your business and servers will keep running full force. Contact us today to learn more.

Four IBM software solutions we love.

Four IBM software solutions we love.

Managing hundreds or even thousands of computers across a network can get complicated quickly. You’ve got software distribution, patches, licensing issues, security threats—it’s easy to see how things can get overwhelming without the right systems management tools.

Luckily, there’s IBM BigFix—a platform that uses many different applications working together to assist businesses with systems management and security. It simplifies processes and gives users efficient endpoint management solutions that lead to better reporting and higher productivity.

While BigFix can help with many systems management tasks, these four solutions are especially important:

Patch Management. If your organization needs to implement a software update, you can’t just shut down your network to deploy the patches all at once. You need to do it according to a schedule to keep your operations up and running. This is exactly what BigFix allows you to do, and you can do it remotely from one console instead of going to each computer individually. Another great feature is that BigFix supports third-party products—so if you need to patch Adobe products, Java, Google Chrome, or other third-party software, you can do it with ease.

Software Distribution. Rolling out new software used to mean manual installation for every computer—something that can take weeks or even months. That’s not the case with BigFix. It can automate the software distribution process and execute the rollout over time, which optimizes productivity while drastically reducing the administrative manpower needed to install new software. BigFix also offers a self-service portal that allows users to directly install software themselves.

Inventory. If you’re managing a network of 10,000 computers, your users are inevitably working with lots of different types of software. Some people might use Program A all the time, and rarely use Program B. So it’s important to know exactly how your business is using its software to keep your licenses compliant and to maintain a clear understanding of what you’re paying for. BigFix provides detailed reporting to make sure you’re getting the most out of your inventory, and not wasting money on software you don’t use.

QRadar Integration. QRadar is IBM’s security intelligence platform designed to check your network for vulnerabilities, provide risk analysis, and categorize threats to keep your company safe. BigFix works together seamlessly with QRadar, providing a dashboard tool within the platform that shows your most important security risks. By working together with QRadar, BigFix can give you the updates you need to fix these vulnerabilities in just a few clicks.

Our team at CleanSlate relies on BigFix all the time to help our clients optimize their software and systems management. It’s a platform full of intuitive solutions that help make our clients better—which is why we love it.

Want to learn more about BigFix and how it can help improve your business? Contact us today.