Managing Inventory Spreadsheet Connections

FlexNet Manager Suite 2022 R2 (On-Premises)

You can use external systems to update these fixed format spreadsheets or CSV files for regular import.

You use the same path through the inventory beacon interface to first collect the templates, and then link to the completed files once they have been populated with data; so you may work through this process twice. For more information about using inventory spreadsheets as a data source (including one-off uploads through the web interface of FlexNet Manager Suite), see the Importing Inventory Spreadsheets and CSV Files section in FlexNet Manager Suite System Reference.
Tip: Importing .xlsx files requires that you have installed a 32-bit version of Microsoft Access Database Engine on the inventory beacon that performs the import. (This requirement does not apply to .csv files.)

To configure imports of spreadsheets based on standard templates:

  1. Select the Inventory systems tab in the FlexNet Beacon interface.
  2. Choose either of the following:
    • To change the settings for a previously-defined connection, select that connection from the list, and click Edit....
    • To collect templates for new spreadsheets or CSV files, or to define a connection to a completed file containing data, click the down arrow on the right of the New split button, and choose Spreadsheet. (The Create Spreadsheet Source Connection dialog box appears.)
    Note: Always use the latest templates when creating or updating a spreadsheet import. At each product release, templates are updated as required to stay aligned with the internal data model used in FlexNet Manager Suite.
  3. From the Spreadsheet Type drop-down list, select the type of file you are using as a data source.
  4. To collect templates and prepare data for import:
    1. Click the Templates hyperlink.
      Templates are stored locally in %CommonAppData%Flexera Software\Compliance\ImportProcedures\ AdapterStudioTemplates\Spreadsheet folder. These are also updated on demand from the central application server.
    2. Save the template of choice to a working folder, and populate it with inventory data.
      Important: Remember to always use the latest template rather than one you may have saved previously. Also keep in mind that you cannot change the file name, nor any columns (number, names, or order) supplied in the template.
      You can populate the data manually, or using script to extract data from another source into the spreadsheet, or through another work flow relevant to your organization. Data rows imported in previous imports should be maintained in the spreadsheet, since removing a row in subsequent imports is an instruction to remove the corresponding inventory record from the central operations databases (if the spreadsheet is the last connection supplying this inventory data).
    3. Save your complete spreadsheet(s) to an upload folder of your choice.
      This can be any folder to which the account running the inventory beacon service has read access, including a network share.
      Tip: It is good to keep this upload folder distinct from your working folder. This makes it unlikely that an automatic upload can include incomplete data.
  5. To set up the connection for importing completed template(s), complete the following fields:
    Control Comments

    Connection Name

    A descriptive name for this connection that you will recognize later in lists. The name may contain alphanumeric characters, underscores or spaces, but must start with either a letter or a number.

    Connection Folder Browse to the upload folder where you have saved completed spreadsheets.
    Tip: All spreadsheets within this folder are included in each upload.
    Connection is in test mode (do not import results)
    For inventory beacons that are free-standing (and not co-located with your application server, or in larger implementations your inventory server), this controls the upload of data collected from this connection and its import to FlexNet Manager Suite:
    • When this check box is clear, the connection is in production mode, and data collected through this adapter is uploaded to the central server and (in due course) imported into the database there.
    • When the check box is set:
      • The adapter for this connection is exercised, with data written to the intermediate file in the staging folder on the inventory beacon (%CommonAppData%\Flexera Software\Beacon\IntermediateData)
      • The immediate upload that normally follows data collection is suppressed, so that you can inspect the contents of the file
      • The catch-up process that retries stalled uploads, normally scheduled overnight, runs as usual and uploads the file to the central server
      • At the central server, the file contents are discarded (and not imported into the central database).
    Tip: When an inventory beacon is co-located with your application server, data from the connection is read directly into staging tables in the database, and no intermediate file is saved.
    Overlapping Inventory Filter
    If you use more than one inventory source, it is possible to get overlapping inventory (records about the same endpoint device from multiple inventory tools). Because of differences between inventory tools, the overlapping inventory records may contain slightly different data. In the web interface (in FlexNet Manager Suite), you may nominate one inventory source as Primary, which gives its collected data priority for hardware properties imported from target inventory devices. The choices here give another, separate axis of control, based on whether or not the data from this particular source is to be considered "stale". This is different from the Primary setting in the following ways:
    • It is assessed first (before the primary setting is taken into account), and so may even modify the effect of your Primary setting. It is best practice to make sure that your chosen primary inventory source is not marked as stale with the following settings.
    • It affects not only imported hardware properties, but also software inventory (installer evidence, file evidence, and so on), as follows:
      • With two inventory sources (when neither one is considered stale), the total software inventory is a union (merging) of the results from both sources. This is useful when two different inventory tools have different specializations for software detection: the union means you are not blind-sided by a software inventory tool that missed something you should have licensed. This is considered the 'normal' operational case in a stable environment using multiple inventory sources.
      • When one of the two available sources is declared "stale" (using either of the first two choices below), all of its overlapping software inventory is excluded from the possible union of data sources (hardware inventory too, but here we're considering software). This behavior is valuable, for instance, when a target inventory device has migrated from one inventory source to another (perhaps by moving offices), but has not yet been obsoleted from this first source. Imagine that, as part of the office move, the MyApp application had also been uninstalled from the inventory device. You do not want the old and stale record from this source insisting there's an installation of MyApp when in fact it's no longer on the device. Of course, best practice is to obsolete the device from this stale source so that it is no longer reported in this inventory source; but these first two settings allow a quick control of all the overlapping data from this source, rather than having to obsolete devices one by one in the source tool. Another common scenario is when you are migrating over time from an old version of your chosen inventory tool to a newer version (on a new connection), and during transition both systems are still running. Declaring the old version's connection as "stale" means that as soon as a record appears in the new version's inventory for a particular device, the old device import is automatically superseded, and updates rely entirely on the new version of your inventory tool.
    Each of the following settings only takes affect when FlexNet Manager Suite is comparing the inventory dates of a device from this current inventory source and an overlapping record from another inventory source:
    • Ignore the device’s inventory from this data sourceWhen you have more recent inventory from another source for the same target inventory device, the record from this source is completely ignored. (Technically, the device record is deleted from the staging table in the database, and so can never be imported.)
    • Ignore this device’s inventory if older than nn days — If you select this option, overlapping inventory collected by this source more than the set number of days before the import is ignored. Fresher overlapping data is still imported and considered for data merging.
      Tip: In the interests of keeping inventory current, this control has a maximum value of 60 days.
    • Import the inventory from this source for possible merging — Choose this option (the default) to declare that overlapping inventory collected from this connection is never considered stale. This is the normal operating setting when you are not trying to manage transitions from one inventory source to another. With this setting, overlapping records are merged in this way:
      1. If a data point exists in the Primary inventory source, it is used
      2. If two equal-priority sources have different inventory dates, the data point is taken from the most recent inventory
      3. As a tie-breaker, the connection ID for this source recorded in the database is used (normally meaning that the earliest-created inventory source has priority).
  6. Click Save.
    The connection (of Type Spreadsheet) is added to (or updated in) the list of available inventory connections.
  7. You may select the spreadsheet connection from the connections list, and do either of the following:
    • You can click Execute Now to immediately collect data from your spreadsheet(s). If you have cleared the Connection is in test mode (do not import results) check box, the process of uploading the data and importing to the central operations databases follows.
    • If you have a suitable schedule already defined (see Creating a Data Gathering Schedule), you can click Schedule... to link to the timetable for repeated imports of data from your inventory spreadsheet(s) (for details, see Scheduling a Connection).
    Note: By default, the spreadsheet upload queues a step on the central application server to import the data from staging tables into the operational tables of the compliance database. This step, once completed, queues a further step to run license reconciliation incorporating the newly-imported data as soon as possible. However, a setting is available to hold the data in the staging tables and defer the further import and reconciliation steps until their next normally-scheduled run time. For details about this setting, see System Tasks.
    Remember: You cannot import inventory data from this or any other secondary inventory source until at least the first import from your primary inventory source has been successfully completed.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2022 R2