Set Up Virtual Inventory Tracking

FlexNet Manager Suite 2022 R1 (On-Premises)
IBM's requirements include that you must track movement of any relevant virtual machine when it moves between hosts. To do this, you also need to configure inventory gathering on virtual hosts. Three different approaches apply, depending on the methods that FlexNet Manager Suite can use to gather information about guest VMs:
  • Agent on host: Where data about guest VMs is available to the FlexNet inventory agent locally installed on the host (as is the case with Microsoft Hyper-V), simply deploy the FlexNet inventory agent locally on the server, as you do to all other devices that may run software under IBM sub-capacity licenses. In this case, the virtual host is added to the target All devices consuming IBM PVU points, and is managed on the same high-frequency schedule that applies to all installations of FlexNet inventory agent on devices running software licensed under IBM PVU or IBM VPC licenses.
  • Agent on guest: Where data about the VM/host relationship is available within the VM itself (as is the case for LPARs, vPARs, nPARs, containers and zones), the only requirement is to deploy the FlexNet inventory agent locally on the VM. This also automatically joins the All devices consuming IBM PVU points target.
    Tip: For Solaris zones, only the global zone contains details about the VM/host relationship. You must ensure that the FlexNet inventory agent is locally installed on the global zone, as well as in any non-global zones where you want to collect inventory.
  • Direct inventory of host: For technologies where a locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent cannot access VM deployment details, but where there is an API available that exposes this data, FlexNet Manager Suite automatically maintains a separate target of such targets that require 'direct' inventory collection by an inventory beacon accessing the API. For these, you only need to configure discovery manually, since once a virtual host is discovered, it is automatically added to the (hidden) rule for high-frequency inventory gathering from these devices.
Tip: If your virtual device is an instance hosted by a cloud service provider, make sure that the Hosted in property in the General tab of the inventory device properties is correctly set to identify the cloud service provider. This is typically automatic for AWS and Azure when inventory has been received from the FlexNet inventory agent installed on the instance; but for other cloud service providers, you must set the value manually (for example, this value is not returned for Google Cloud). When Hosted in is correctly set, the priority on properties used for calculating sub-capacity points consumption changes to the following:
  1. If inventory returns the vCPU count (or thread count) as the number of logical processors assigned to the instance, this property is used and either:
    • For an IBM PVU license, multiplied by the points per core from the PVU points table for the appropriate processor type
    • For an IBM VPC license, multiplied by the appropriate ratio (defined in the product use rights for the license):
      • If the IBM VPC license is configured for consumption per product, the ratio of each primary product within the Cloud Pak bundle to VPC entitlements is used
      • If the IBM VPC license is configured for consumption per device, the ratio of assigned/available cores to VPC entitlements is used.
    This vCPU value is only ever used when the Hosted in property is populated.
  2. If the above value is missing, inventory is checked for a core count, and if found, this is used to multiply by the appropriate points value or ratio.
  3. If both of the above are missing, the Consumed count for this instance is forced to zero (since there is no audit-worthy data source); but if the processor count is available, this is used to populate the Calculated consumption field, as a general indication of likely consumption when the appropriate properties become available. In this case, the IBM sub-capacity license on which the incorrectly-recorded instance appears is flagged as problematic, because the consumption calculation is incorrect and likely affecting the region total consumption, possibly including its peak date and peak value (the primary factors affecting IBM sub-capacity license exposure). Keep in mind that, if you can determine and correct the vCPU or core count (perhaps using the override facility on the Hardware tab of the inventory device properties), this is taken as a retrospective correction and applied to the entire reporting period from the next overnight license compliance calculation.

To set up discovery (and the resulting automatic inventory gathering) on virtual hosts:

  1. For Microsoft Hyper-V virtual hosts, install the FlexNet inventory agent locally on the host server. (In addition, you should also install the FlexNet inventory agent in the primary image for the VMs, so that these also report relevant software inventory.)
  2. For Solaris zones, ensure the FlexNet inventory agent is installed in the global zone, as well as in the non-global zones.
  3. For partitioning technologies, ensure that the FlexNet inventory agent is installed locally on each partition. This provides both the inventory results (for software and hardware) and also the relationships between host and guests.
  4. For VMware, in the web interface of FlexNet Manager Suite, ensure that every subnet containing a vCenter Server is assigned to an inventory beacon:
    1. Navigate to Discovery & Inventory > Beacons.
    2. Choose the appropriate inventory beacon and click the edit icon on the right-hand end of its data row.
    3. Click the Subnets tab.
    4. Either search for a subnet, or enter the subnet IPv4 address in the Find subnets to add field.
    5. Select one or more subnets, and click Add subnets.
  5. Set up the credentials to allow future inventory gathering from vCenter Server (managing ESX servers):
    1. On the appropriate inventory beacon, log in to FlexNet Beacon using an account with administrator privileges on the local device.
    2. Open FlexNet Beacon, and in the navigation bar, select Password management. In the resulting page, click Launch Password Manager.
    3. In the FlexNet Beacon Password Manager, click New, and set up credentials for any vCenter hosts.
      For vCenter hosts, use an Account Type of Account on VMware VirtualCenter. When satisfied, click Apply.
    4. Repeat for any other virtual hosts accessible from this inventory beacon (or any others). Be sure that you can reach all hosts that a relevant virtual machine can possibly move to.
    5. When credentials have been established for all necessary virtual hosts, click Exit to close the Password Manager; and you may also exit FlexNet Beacon.
  6. Back in the web interface, set up a target that covers all relevant hosts for virtual machines.
    Once the virtual hosts are discovered, FlexNet Manager Suite automatically maintains a separate target of all relevant 'direct inventory' virtual hosts, and automatically runs an inventory check on them at the same frequency that you specify for IBM PVU and VPC license peak calculations. To seed this process, you first need to ensure discovery of all VMware vCenter virtual hosts.
    1. Navigate to Discovery & Inventory > Discovery and Inventory Rules. Click the Targets tab, and click Create a target.
    2. Provide a useful Target name and Description that will assist your future maintenance.
      For example, Sub-cap Virtual Hosts and Initial Discovery may help you identify this target for ongoing management. For example, since this target is used for discovery only, you may wish to leave the related rule running once a day into the future, so that it automatically picks up any new VMware vCenter hosts, and automatically integrates them into the high-frequency scanning protocol.
    3. Use the Define machines to target controls to specify the target virtual hosts (or the subnets in which they are connected). Add as many definition lines as required to cover all applicable virtual hosts. See the help for that page for further details.
    4. For the Adoption options, choose Do not allow these targets to be adopted.
      A locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent cannot access the management APIs necessary for tracking VMs. Instead, this target is used to specify direct inventory gathering, where an inventory beacon remotely accesses the hypervisor for data about the VMs it manages.
    5. When satisfied, click Create to save the target definition.
  7. Create an action to trigger discovery of the targeted virtual hosts:
    1. Switch to the Actions tab, and click Create an action.
    2. Give your action a unique Name, and a Description that assists your future maintenance work.
      For example, Virtual host discovery and Use this daily to capture any newly deployed virtual hosts where IBM sub-capacity licenses may be consumed.
    3. For Action type, select Discovery only.
      After discovery, a separate (hidden) target is automatically maintained for inventory collection from discovered servers on the appropriate frequency.
    4. Under Discovery of devices, choose your preferred method(s) to identify the host servers.
      For most networks, you can use an ICMP echo test (ping) to specified ports by selecting Network scan and nominating one or more ports. If your VMware vCenter server(s) run on Microsoft Windows Server, you might choose (either instead or as well) Microsoft Computer Browser service.
    5. Under Discovery actions, expand VMware infrastructure, select Discover VMware infrastructure, and add/edit ports if required.
    6. Click Create (scroll down to the bottom right corner of the page) to save the action definition.
  8. Combine the target and action into a rule, and schedule its initial execution.
    Keep in mind that this rule exists only to seed automatic processes that take over at the right time. Specifically, you need this rule to succeed only once for each new set of target virtual hosts. This is not a rule you need to schedule every 30 minutes.
    1. Switch to the Rules tab, and click Create a rule to open the Rule builder area.
    2. Switch back to the Actions tab (or click an Actions hyperlink in the rule builder), scroll to find your saved action, and at the right-hand end of its row, click Add to rule builder.
      Because a rule may have only one action, all Add to rule builder buttons are now disabled, and a label for your chosen action appears in the rule builder.
    3. Switch to the Targets tab (or click a Targets hyperlink in the rule builder), scroll to find your saved target, and at the right-hand end of its row, click Add to rule builder.
      Notice that this time, you may insert more than one target into the rule.
    4. In the rule builder, click Schedule, and nominate your preferred schedule for this rule.
      Suggestion for the initial discovery:
      • Frequency: As soon as possible
      • Commence within: 10 minutes.
      After the initial discovery, you may prefer to change this schedule to once daily at a quiet time, just as a safety net to catch additional hosts that may be deployed in future.
    5. In the rule builder, click Save as, and provide a Rule name that will remain meaningful in a long list of rules.
    6. Ensure that the next field displays Enabled, and click Save.
The following steps now occur:
  • A new policy for inventory beacons is prepared and downloaded soon. By default, it is within 15 minutes. To customize this interval, navigate to Discovery & Inventory > Settings,go to the Inventory Settings page (Data Collection > IT Assets Inventory Tasks > Inventory Settings), and scroll down to the Beacon settings section.
  • The policy is downloaded to all operating inventory beacons, each of which checks to see whether your rule needs to be executed by it (that is, whether there is any overlap between its assigned subnets and the target[s] declared in the rule). Unaffected inventory beacons, of course, ignore the policy change.
  • Each affected inventory beacon applies your schedule, then (on schedule) triggers the action specified in the rule. Depending on subnet sizes, it may take a little while to complete the discovery process.
  • Finally, the resulting discovery (.disco) files are uploaded to the central application server, and resolved into the inventory database. There they wait until the next full inventory import and license reconciliation, which happens by default overnight (although an operator in a role with Administrator privileges may trigger one sooner).
  • After that, the discovered VMs and their hosts are visible in the All Discovered Devices page, and the automatic maintenance of special hidden targets and automated rules are ready to run as required (once you turn on high-frequency mode, as described in Turn on High-Frequency Mode).
  • Thereafter, inventory is gathered from the target hosts automatically on the high-frequency schedule you enable.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2022 R1