NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Launches Cost Efficiency Program using Open iT

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  • Need for sophisticated solution including usage alerts, graphs, and customized reports
  • Integration with Excel and Active Directory was critical
  • Provided an opportunity to link license usage to projects
  • Consolidation of licenses and servers allowed agency to share resources and costs


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was founded in 1958 and operates as an independent agency of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government. It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. The Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is a major NASA space research laboratory and the organization’s first space flight center. The center uses cutting edge technology to study the Earth, sun, solar system, and universe.

The extensive research and exploration, Goddard Space Flight Center requires the use of high-end computing programs. As a government-funded entity, the organization operates on a limited, and often scrutinized, budget. The rising cost of engineering software prompted GSFC to search for a solution that would allow them to determine whether software licenses were being used effectively, and identify cost saving opportunities. GSFC also needed a way to create customized reports on the fly to meet internal demands. Approximately 50 engineers regularly use MATLAB, a popular multi-paradigm numerical computing program, but some users were receiving denials when trying to access the toolbox. The organization needed two additional toolboxes to ensure engineers had access to the MATLAB licenses when needed.

Michelle Longo, Software License Manager at Goddard Space Flight Center, also needed a solution that would fully integrate with Active Directory and Microsoft Excel to tie staff information to end user data and create visual dashboards with real-time usage data. GSFC began using FlexNet, but quickly discovered it lacked some of the critical capabilities the organization needed including integration with Excel, the ability to create custom dashboards, and ease of use. FlexNet, also charged by vendor daemon, which was not cost effective for GSFC.

After further research of available solutions, GSFC found that Open iT’s proven software license monitoring solution fits all their criteria including cost effectiveness, user-friendly dashboards, license monitoring and personalized support. They selected Base Enterprise, which uses an industry standard multidimensional database that fully integrates with systems such as Active Directory. Usage data can be accessed via a preferred variety of reporting tools, including Excel, to build custom dashboards. This solution enabled GSFC to connect to live data, build ad-hoc reports, refresh data, and view charts and activity heat maps. GSFC also selected LicenseAnalyzer™ to monitor software use by person, place, and project.

SystemAnalyzer™ was implemented to generate IT audit reports to assign the cost of system resources to groups, projects or business units.  The combined use of Open iT’s solutions has given GSFC greater insights into who, where, and when applications are being used to facilitate cost savings across the organization.

Within the first year of implementation, GSFC has created customized license usage reports to optimize resources, negotiate vendor contracts, share resources, and consolidate licenses and servers. Open iT’s subscription-based pricing provided an additional cost savings and allowed GSFC to track all licenses for a fixed cost. With Open iT solutions in place, GSFC gained the ability to track system usage, analyze trends, improve system performance, and create custom reports, including usage charts and heat maps.

Using information from Active Directory, they can now back charge projects by users down to the minute – something they were previously unable to accomplish. The reports are used to support decision making, negotiate software agreements, and improve user efficiency.

GSFC has also benefited from the personalized support and training their team has received during the implementation. Open iT has worked closely with NASA’s GSFC team to troubleshoot issues and incorporate reporting features needed to achieve their goals.

Moving forward with the implementation of a centralized program to help other centers achieve savings, Goddard Space Flight Center is currently exploring the metering capabilities of ApplicationTracker, a software asset management solution that monitors activity levels of all applications and provides advanced reporting functions.  The potential cost savings from expanding the use of Open iT solutions will help GSFC maximize the federal and private funding it receives, making way for additional resources to expand existing programs.

“Open iT provided a viable, sustainable solution that has helped us achieve greater levels of efficiency without inhibiting the critical work we are undertaking,” said Michelle Longo, GSFC Software License Manager. “The level of customer service and training we have received has helped the implementation run smoothly. We look forward to the possibility of expanding our use of Open iT in the future.”

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