Getting Started with IT Visibility Inventory Beacons and Agents

Important:The inventory beacon and inventory agent information in this section is specific to IT Visibility only. For related information, refer to Uploading Inventory Data into IT Visibility. For help using inventory beacons with IT Asset Management, refer to Using IT Asset Management Inventory Beacons to Collect Inventory.

This chapter provides information about two components that are used to gather inventory:

An inventory beacon is a computer located within your organization that gathers software inventory that you specify, and uploads the data to Flexera One.
An inventory agent is a collection of software agents that may be installed on different kinds of computers to collect software or hardware inventory information exclusively for each machine, and upload this local inventory information to the inventory beacon.

The software to install on an inventory beacon server is downloaded from Flexera One, and called FlexNet Beacon. After installation, you use the FlexNet Beacon software to download and install a configuration file that has been customized for this inventory beacon (do not share these files between inventory beacons).

An inventory beacon allows you to securely manage a data-gathering connection within your own environment.

Tip:At this release, the upstream processing restricts each organization to a single data-gathering connection. Over time, this restriction will be lifted, and multiple connections, either from one inventory beacon or from several, will be available.

The resulting data files are then uploaded to Flexera One. From here, the uploaded data may be distributed to other Flexera One services or components of your choice, such as IT Visibility or Unified Spend Analytics.

The inventory beacon collects data from third-party (non-Flexera One) systems such as Microsoft SCCM. Third-party tools collect their inventory data in their own databases. You can use the FlexNet Beacon interface to specify a connection to that third-party database to extract software installer evidence for upload. Although this third-party inventory may be in proprietary database fields and tables, Flexera One uses inventory adapters to massage their data ready for import into Flexera One.

Getting started with an inventory beacon involves the following:

Choosing the right server—Your inventory beacon must be a Windows-based server meeting all the requirements described in Prerequisites for IT Visibility Inventory Beacons and Agents.
Downloading/installing FlexNet Beacon—Over time, multiple versions of FlexNet Beacon are available through Flexera One, and you can control which version(s) are to be deployed on your inventory beacon(s). See Installing an IT Visibility Inventory Beacon.
Configuring each inventory beaconFlexera One creates a custom configuration file for each inventory beacon, including the password that it must use to upload data. You cannot share these configuration files – each inventory beacon must download and import its own, as described in Configuring IT Visibility Beacon to Upload Inventory to Flexera One.
Connecting to your inventory source—On each inventory beacon, you specify its connection to the desired inventory source, such as Microsoft SCCM. See Creating an Inventory Connection.
Scheduling data collection—With a connection specified, you can create one or more schedules for data collection, and the upload that follows automatically. See Scheduling Inventory Imports.
Reviewing status and results—Your inventory beacon is listed within the web interface for Flexera One, and you can drill through for more details for assessment and troubleshooting. See Reviewing IT Visibility Inventory Beacon Status.

To get started with an inventory agent, refer to Configuring an Inventory Agent.