Using a Single Inventory Beacon

FlexNet Manager Suite 2020 R1 (On-Premises)

There are some scenarios where you may want to force a set of target inventory devices to get policy updates from, and upload discovery and inventory files to, a specific inventory beacon. This is contrary to the design of FlexNet Manager Suite, which provides for each policy-driven, self-managing device to choose the optimum path in current conditions for its downloads and uploads. If a preferred inventory beacon is overloaded, or even completely unavailable, the FlexNet inventory agent is able to find the current best fit to ensure uninterrupted operations.

Nevertheless, if your situation genuinely demands a different set of guiding principles, you can use the available preferences to bend the system to suit. Locking a target inventory device into a specific inventory beacon requires three main changes:
  • Configuring an upload location and download location for the device to use, in such a way that the settings are no longer updated by downloaded device policy
  • Setting a fixed, top priority for the inventory beacon the device is to use
  • Changing the algorithm used for selecting inventory beacons, so as to prevent failover to any server other than the specified inventory beacon.

Keep in mind that, in deciding to defeat automated failover to the best available inventory beacon, you are taking responsibility for manually managing connectivity for your inventory devices. If, for example, you move an inventory beacon or take it out of service for a period of maintenance, you risk loss of inventory from all devices reporting to this inventory beacon, with potential negative impacts on your reported license position as your data decays over time. For these reasons, the following approach should be used only when truly necessary.

You will also need your own method of deploying settings for the registry on Windows target devices, or deploying a customized config.ini file to devices with UNIX-like operating systems, as discussed in Saving the Configuration. The values in this package are unique for each inventory beacon, so you may need a range of packages to suit the number of inventory beacons that are to be individually targeted. For example, if you are specifying an inventory beacon per region to manage inventory devices within that region, then each region needs is own custom package of registry settings.

To prepare registry settings for locked-down inventory devices:

  1. Configure SelectorAlgorithm to prevent failover to any inventory beacons downloaded in policy.
    Policy downloaded to the inventory device lists a pool of inventory beacons that it may prioritize for failover. The following setting makes every one of these downloaded inventory beacons invalid for prioritization:
    This algorithm matches the first 20 characters of the host name of the inventory beacon with the name of the local inventory device. There is no limit set on the number of inventory beacons that will be tested; and every inventory beacon which fails the name comparison has its priority set to invalid, so that it is excluded from the failover list. Effectively, this disables the entire downloaded failover list.
    Tip: Normally, the default value for SelectorAlgorithm is set at installation of the FlexNet inventory agent, and is not subject to updates by device policy. This means that your new custom setting will not be updated by future policy updates to each target device.
  2. Define custom settings for the upload and download locations used by the inventory device(s).
    Do not modify the upload/download settings already registered for the inventory beacons in the failover list, as these are updated as required with each device policy update. Instead, copy a pair of settings (or create new ones) with a custom name for the inventory beacon instead of the GUIDs used within the failover lists. Since each inventory device tests all the inventory beacons listed in these upload/download registry keys, your new instance is evaluated (and, given the previous step, is the only one that can be used). For more information, see DownloadSettings and UploadSettings. Notice that:
    • The Host value may be the host name, the fully-qualified domain name, or the IPv4 or IPv6 address
    • If you wish to use Windows Authentication (user name and password values), the Password value must be encrypted: copy the existing encrypted password already saved for the intended inventory beacon, and paste into the settings for distribution. (The example shown below is for anonymous authentication.)
    Define keys in the following manner, using your custom values rather than the placeholders shown here:
          Name=BeaconFriendlyName Download Location
          Name=BeaconFriendlyName Reporting Location
    Tip: Naturally, you could repeat this process to identify additional inventory beacons to make a set that the inventory device can choose between. Keep in mind that:
    • AutoPriority must be set to false, to prevent the selector algorithm making any of your approved inventory beacons invalid for upload/download
    • Priority must then be set manually to the order in which you want the target inventory device to attempt communications with the inventory beacons in your set.
  3. Use your preferred administrative tool to deploy registry settings to target Windows devices, or to deploy a customized config.ini to UNIX-like devices.
After installation of the custom settings in the platform-appropriate manner, the affected inventory devices access only the inventory beacon(s) you specified in the special settings package. Do remember that any network changes that affects devices and their inventory beacons must now be manually managed. If you wish to revert to standard, self-managing behavior for some or all inventory devices, simply remove their custom values for UploadSettings and DownloadSettings, and restore the default value for the SelectorAlgorithm.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2020 R1