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Device42 adds intelligence to IT discovery, asset management

Device42 plans to release on May 30 Insights+ to provide customers with an in-product tool for aggregating, analyzing and visualizing stored IT data.

Device42 has built a business intelligence layer on top of its IT discovery, inventory and asset management database to provide customers with a tool for extracting customized information from the data center and cloud environments.

Device42 calls the new technology Insights+ and plans to release it to customers on May 30. The product is an attempt to do more with the company's stored data to differentiate it from competitors.

"We started to really worry that potentially discovery was becoming somewhat commoditized," said Andrew Wharton, chief product officer at Device42.

Device42's concerns are justified. Many vendors offer IT asset discovery within larger platforms. Examples include network device monitoring suppliers SolarWinds, Broadcom and ManageEngine.

"Specialists like Device42 do need to find new ways to differentiate," said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. "In the past, Device42 has differentiated by discovering as wide a variety of devices and software as possible. Eventually, other vendors will catch up to them, or at least cover the discovery of things that most IT organizations care about."

Device42 believes Insights+ is that differentiator. It replaces Microsoft Power BI, which the company's customers use to aggregate, analyze and visualize stored data, with Apache Superset. The latter is a lightweight data query and visualization tool that connects to any SQL-based data source.

Device42 uses Superset to provide the same core Power BI features within its product, Wharton said. As a result, the company progressed from simple data charting and reporting inside its product to new functionality "that we hope will carry us into the future," he said.

Device42 offers IT infrastructure discovery and application dependency mapping for the cloud and data center. The company expects Insights+ and the mapping feature to be particularly useful for customers migrating business applications to the cloud.

Customers also could find Insights+ and Device42's software discovery feature helpful in ensuring compliance with Microsoft or Oracle licensing before the vendors perform audits. Insights+ includes a feature called Data Building Blocks (DBB). Device42 customers can use the collection of prebuilt queries as is or modify them to meet specific reporting requirements.

DBBs use an open database connectivity API to access Device42's database and provide a view of aggregated data. From there, a user can perform queries on the information.

Device42 will initially make compute and security DBBs available. The compute DBBs will provide lists of compute devices, device count by type or service level and virtual machine devices.

Examples of security DBBs include lists of devices that are accessed by external IPs, use commonly exploited ports or have an operating system but no software.

An area not covered extensively in Device42's latest product announcement is reporting, a time-consuming task for many IT operations.

"If Device42 can add value on top of its discovery and asset management platform with a powerful reporting engine, that could be compelling to IT organizations that need to simplify reporting," McGillicuddy said.

Antone Gonsalves is news director for TechTarget's Networking Media Group. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida.

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