Lead Image © Sebastian Duda, 123RF.com

Lead Image © Sebastian Duda, 123RF.com

Ralph, the open asset management tool


Article from ADMIN 37/2017
As IT infrastructure grows more complex, IT asset management tools become essential. They track an IT asset's life cycle from the purchase order, through practical usage, to disposal or reuse. One promising newcomer is Ralph, the open source specialist tool.

Networks are dynamic entities that change quickly depending on the company and field of application. Often only individual systems are added, at other times whole departments are equipped with new systems, or critical systems are refurbished or replaced by others.

In complex environments, it is not enough to enter IT components' commissioning data in a static asset accounting tool and then simply forget about your legally compliant records. There is another problem: The tools used as the interface between business and IT are often not sufficiently granular to be able to give IT the right answers to different questions.

A simple example illustrates the problem: Desktop PCs in particular are often purchased and deployed in bulk. In asset accounting, they appear as a single item and are written off there as a lump sum. But network and IT administrators gain very little knowledge from this lump-sum information. Admins need to learn about the lifecycle of a single asset and be able to track it.

Benefits of Asset Management

Many companies are unaware of the benefits that professional asset management can offer IT departments, which also explains why this field is so little explored. Companies can benefit across all levels of decision making from reliable and up-to-date asset information. If decision makers and IT professionals have access to accurate inventory and requirement figures for IT hardware components, this simplifies planning and future procurement actions. Accurate inventory figures are also necessary to conclude or optimize maintenance, service, and leasing contracts.

These figures are important for IT security, because it is easier to define and meet appropriate security arrangements if you have precise documentation on how the IT components are used. In conjunction with human resources management, IT departments can ensure that sufficient IT resources are in

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