Common: Ensuring Distinct Inventory

FlexNet Manager Suite 2021 R1 (On-Premises)
While the issue identified here applies to all inventory gathered by FlexNet inventory agent, the solution applies only to:
  • Adopted case, where the FlexNet inventory agent is locally installed and managed by policy
  • Agent third-party deployment, which results in the same policy-based local agent
  • Zero-footprint for UNIX-like platforms, where the ndtrack.ini configuration file can be co-located on the inventory beacon with the script
  • FlexNet Inventory Scanner case for UNIX-like platforms, where (once again) the ndtrack.ini configuration file can be co-located with the script.
On a Windows device, the last two cases are supportable if your infrastructure allows you to run a custom command line for the inventory component (ndtrack).

All device inventory gathered through the FlexNet inventory agent is identified in either of the following ways depending on the version of the FlexNet inventory agent being used:

  • If the version is 2019 R2 or later, the device inventory is identified by a unique Agent ID that is created on the device by the FlexNet inventory agent.
  • For versions prior to 2019 R2, the device inventory is identified by the computer name and domain name of the device.
In the scenario where the computer name and domain name of the device are used to identify the device inventory, this is normally enough to uniquely identify machines, but there are scenarios where these keys can become non-unique. For example:
  • You have a disaster recovery or failover environment within your enterprise which hosts machines with the same computer and domain names as are used in your production environment.
  • You have virtual machines or public cloud computer instances (for example, AWS EC2 instances) which are spun up on demand from a primary image (Amazon Machine Image, or AMI). These machines only exist for a limited time to perform some compute-intensive task, and so do not normally require distinct computer names. Therefore each instance automatically adopts its computer name from the default base image: that is, each instance adopts the same computer name. Since they commonly also report the same domain name, the records appear as duplicates.
To distinguish these machines as unique computers, FlexNet inventory agent allows you to customize the computer name and domain name reported in inventory. This is controlled by the following preferences for FlexNet inventory agent:
  • ComputerDomain for the domain name of the device (see ComputerDomain)
  • MachineID for the name of the device (see MachineID).

Overriding these settings is only possible either through
  • Configuration for FlexNet inventory agent:
    • In the registry for Windows platforms
    • In the config.ini pseudo-registry for UNIX-like platforms with the locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent (Adopted or Agent third-party deployment cases)
    • In the equivalent ndtrack.ini configuration file for UNIX-like platforms (Zero-footprint or FlexNet Inventory Scanner cases)
  • The command line, where the situation allows for a custom command line that can include, for example:
    -o MachineID=UniqueDeviceName
Note: Downgrading the version of the FlexNet inventory agent to a version prior to 2019 R2 may result in additional inventory device records being created as inventory from older FlexNet inventory agent versions will not be matched with inventory devices that have an Agent ID.
Tip: When the FlexNet inventory agent or FlexNet Inventory Scanner are deployed as part of a base virtual machine, or within a public cloud compute image from which instances are dynamically instantiated, ensure that the VM or image start-up scripts appropriately configure these preferences to give a unique device identification.

See the individual preference topics for further details.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2021 R1