Author: Keiren Tilbrook
Flexera One is a SaaS solution – an enterprise-grade IT asset management and cloud management platform. Flexera One (including its predecessor FNMS Cloud) has been available since 2014, but there has been no migration path for FNMS on-premise users to the cloud. However, in 2022, Flexera began migrating customers and now have a documented, proven methodology for migrating from on-premise to the cloud. For ANZ customers, the business case just got stronger. Flexera will have an Australian shard in place by the end of 2022, ready for customers in January 2023. In addition, the hosting of Flexera One in Australia removes concerns around data sovereignty. This article looks at the pros and cons of migrating and some things to consider when planning the move.
The most significant benefits of moving to Flexera One are the same as for most on-premise to cloud migrations:
- Less on-premise infrastructure, reducing both capital and operational costs.
- Always on – Enterprise-grade, highly available and performant SaaS environment
- Maintenance – Faster access to new features through automatic, monthly vendor-managed updates
- Pricing model – Pay for what you use. Flexera One moves your existing perpetual plus maintenance licensing to the subscription model.[i]
Clients will continue to require some on-premise infrastructure, including existing FNMS beacons and agents. The agents remain as-is while the beacons are ‘re-homed’ to Flexera One. Where there are multiple beacons, TMG can optionally reconfigure the beacons into a parent-child configuration if clients prefer to streamline uploads to the cloud.
Are both platforms functionally equivalent?
Flexera has committed to maintaining the same ITAM capabilities for FNMS on-premise and Flexera One for the foreseeable future.
- All customers share the same code and runtime
- Non -production instance is available – A UAT environment is automatically provisioned with Flexera One
- In Flexera One ITAM:
- Integrations must be done through APIs (no direct “database access”) – Requires an API first approach.
- Flexera operates the software
- The software is updated continuously
- A policy engine is included – Policies to automate internal and external orchestration, send notifications, email reports etc.
- FlexNet Manager for SAP in included (is a licensable extra in FNMS)
- SaaS Manager is included – extends management of existing vendors such as Microsoft and Adobe and incorporates SaaS-only vendors such as Salesforce and ServiceNow.
- App Broker Cloud is included – a self-service portal to request & reclaim applications
So what is the downside? First, application costs will rise; clients will pay extra for the hosting and access to additional functionality (SaaS Manager, SAP module & AppBroker). These added costs will be somewhat offset by reducing your on-premise footprint and annual upgrade projects.
The primary functional consideration is that moving to a SaaS model means you can no longer touch the database directly (integrations must be done through APIs). Elements such as custom fields and local applications are maintained, so this will be no big deal for many organisations. Still, it is essential to note if you have processes such as business adapters that interact directly with database tables, these will need to be reviewed. Our take is that enforced standardisation may be no bad thing; often, these customised elements have ‘crept in’ over time and may or may not still be providing business value. If there are things you can’t do without, then talk to TMG, as we have been working with FNMS Cloud for years and can help with (almost) any integration requirement.
The planning for migrating from FlexNet Manager on premise to Flexera One is relatively simple and can occur well before the actual migration, significantly reducing the risk.
- Review existing integrations/processes for direct database interaction
- Clean up user accounts
- Remove old/stale accounts
- Ensure all user accounts have an email address
TMG can assist in this planning phase, reviewing your existing business and inventory adapters, reports and stored procedures for cloud compatibility. In addition, TMG will provide remediation options for any problematic customisations that are still deemed necessary (this can be done in advance and used in the existing FNMS on-prem instance until migration).
At this point Flexera takes over. Flexera has a documented migration process utilised extensively around the globe. First, there is a planning workshop to examine the abovementioned issues and prerequisites. Next, a dry run is conducted to pick up any pre-flight issues before the local databases are backed up and copied to the Flexera One AWS S3 environment. From there, Flexera will restore the databases and prepare your Flexera One tenant for use. The beacons are then cut over to the cloud, and you are ready for testing and going live. We believe the whole process (not including remediation) should take a week, and the old environment can be decommissioned whenever you are ready.
In summary, the migration path to Flexera One is much clearer, and the advent of the Australian shard mitigates data sovereignty issues. It may not make sense for all customers, but Flexera One has several advantages over FNMS on-premise. Flexera One comes standard with additional features enabling the management of SaaS applications and automation options worthy of exploration. As always, the devil is in the detail, so if you have questions, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] All new Flexera license purchases are subscription-based; clients with existing perpetual licenses can continue to renew their maintenance. If clients need to make any additional purchases (i.e. additional devices), these are now only offered under a subscription licensing model.