Introduction to Oracle Discovery and Inventory

FlexNet Manager Suite 2022 R1 (On-Premises)

The term Oracle discovery and inventory refers to the process of examining a network to find and collect hardware and software inventory for every device with one or more Oracle applications installed on it. FlexNet Manager Suite performs software license compliance calculations on the collected inventory data to provide information about what software you have licensed against what software you have installed.

Oracle discovery and inventory collection, and the resulting license consumption calculations, include the following main activities:
  1. Discovery: Identifying the devices on the network that have Oracle software installed. (Discovery is not needed for devices that meet one of these conditions:
    • They already have the FlexNet inventory agent locally installed on them
    • They are identified in a tnsnames.ora file used by an inventory beacon to directly gather software inventory for the Oracle database instances listed there
    • Their details of Oracle listeners and services have been manually entered in the discovered device properties
    • They have been identified by the Amazon connector as running Oracle Database in the Amazon Relational Database Service [RDS].)
  2. Inventory: Collecting specific Oracle Database inventory, together (wherever possible) with hardware and general software inventory
  3. Compliance calculations: Calculating of the number of license entitlements consumed, and comparing with the number of purchase licenses.
Tip: The Oracle discovery and inventory process is the same for both physical and virtual machines.
At the high level, there are two main ways to collect Oracle inventory in FlexNet Manager Suite:
  1. You can deploy the FlexNet inventory agent, and in particular its core inventory collection executable ndtrack. This is the optimal collection method, as it not only collects Oracle inventory, but also collects hardware and other software inventory at the same time. The hardware data is important for correct calculation of consumption for Oracle license types (for example, the Oracle Processor license type has specialized calculation methods used for inventory from Solaris zones, where the core and thread counts are mandatory — in fact, the absence of core and thread counts for the VM host prevents consumption from Oracle Processor licenses for software running in any guest VM on that host). Methods of deployment are fully discussed in the Gathering FlexNet Inventory PDF, available through the title page of online help. Relevant deployment methods for Oracle inventory include the following cases defined in that document:
    • The Adopted case, where the FlexNet inventory agent is deployed automatically through an inventory beacon directly onto the target Oracle server.
    • The Agent third-party deployment case, where you use a tool or process external to FlexNet Manager Suite to deploy (and perhaps also manage) the FlexNet inventory agent. One of these possibilities is to deploy the FlexNet inventory agent to a shared network folder, and set up a process to execute it on target Oracle servers.
    • The FlexNet Inventory Scanner case, where the lightweight FlexNet Inventory Scanner is used instead of the full agent.
    • The Zero-footprint case, where an inventory beacon temporarily downloads the FlexNet inventory agent to the target device, executes it there, and subsequently removes it again (leaving no permanent footprint).
  2. You can use FlexNet Beacon on any conveniently-located inventory beacon to connect directly to the listener service for an Oracle database instance and collect inventory information through it. This method, called 'direct' inventory gathering, may be helpful, but it has the following limitations:
    • It does not gather hardware inventory. Hardware details are needed for calculating Oracle license positions; so gathering direct database inventory alone is not sufficient for Oracle license management. If you take this path, you must augment the direct database inventory with additional hardware inventory information (which may come from third-party inventory tools).
      Tip: In the special case of Oracle Database running in Amazon RDS, the inventory collected by direct connection is augmented by details gathered by the Amazon connector, and the combination allows for a count of Threads (which Oracle takes as vCPUs) in the inventory device record, so that license consumption calculations can proceed.
    • It cannot collect any inventory from the standby database instance in an Active Data Guard configuration (although, of course, the active database instance is inventoried as usual).
    • It does not gather inventory for other Oracle applications like Oracle WebLogic that may be installed on the same server; you may plan to collect this inventory with third-party tools as well.
    • Direct inventory gathering combined with a network scanning discovery method cannot operate with Oracle 12c and beyond (as explained in Direct Collection of Oracle Inventory).
    For all these reasons, the recommendation is to choose your preferred method to deploy the FlexNet inventory agent, as listed above.

While FlexNet Manager Suite can also import inventory data using .xlsx or .csv file uploads, these are not normally convenient for regular updates about Oracle software. They are available as a method of last resort when simpler approaches are not possible in your environment. For details about importing data through spreadsheets, see the Importing Inventory Spreadsheets and CSV Files chapter of this guide, or see Managing Inventory Spreadsheet Connections in the online help.

Tip: When Oracle Enterprise Cloud Control is used to manage Oracle databases, be sure to collect inventory information from all database instances:
  • Inventory from the database instance used as storage by the Oracle Cloud Management Pack (OCMP) is mandatory to provide data about the installed Oracle options, including those from OCMP itself. FlexNet inventory from this server includes a list of remote Oracle servers managed by OCMP and the database instances running on them; but it does not (and cannot) include detailed inventory for those remote devices or database instances. (The list of servers and the database instances they host is also included in the Oracle GLAS audit report available through FlexNet Manager Suite.)
  • Inventory (including hardware inventory) from each of the managed Oracle servers and the database instances they host is needed to provide:
    • Hardware data needed to calculate the license consumption for the managing installation of OCMP (this license takes account of the processor cores available on each managed server)
    • Data on any other Oracle options installed on each server
    • Complete inventory information on each database instance.
When all inventory data from all servers has been imported into the compliance database in FlexNet Manager Suite, the various inventories are merged to provide correct license consumption calculations for the database instances, the Oracle options installed on each server, and the installed options from the OCMP (taking into account the processor core counts of the managed servers). The required FlexNet inventory can be gathered by any supported method — keeping in mind that if you choose the direct inventory gathering method, you also need an auxiliary method of inventory gathering to provide the required hardware inventory. As a side benefit, the simple expedient of collecting inventory from every database instance ensures that you also correctly calculate separate license consumption for those instances that you choose to manage outside Oracle Enterprise Cloud Control (perhaps to manage the licensing costs related to those options).

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2022 R1