Common: Resolving Inventory Records

IT Asset Management (Cloud)
This topic applies to all forms of gathered inventory:
  • All forms of FlexNet inventory gathering, including all the cases covered in this document
  • Inventory imported from third-party tools, such as Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (previously Microsoft SCCM), IBM ILMT, and others
  • Inventory imported in spreadsheets or CSV files.

One of the primary tasks performed by IT Asset Management when it imports inventory is to resolve multiple inventory records that all represent the same device in your environment. (It's easy to imagine this for physical devices like a workstation; but it also applies to virtual machines as well.)

The simplest example of multiple records is when inventory was collected from my workstation last week, and new inventory was collected again this week. Clearly the new inventory record has to be matched to the previous inventory record, so that values can be updated. Or if there is no match with a previous record, a new inventory device record must be created.

However, there may be other reasons why multiple records need resolution, even within a single inventory import. For example:
  • You have multiple tools collecting inventory (say, ADDM and ILMT), and they overlap so that some devices appear in both sources. How does the inventory import process decide when two or more records actually describe the same device?
  • In a variation on that theme, you may use one tool (say, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (previously Microsoft SCCM)) as the primary source of inventory data, but deploy FlexNet Inventory Agent to specific devices to augment details about Microsoft SQL Server. How do these two sources get combined?
  • You may have deployed the FlexNet Inventory Agent to multiple devices which have the same host name and domain name. How do these inventories get handled? These duplicates may arise:
    • On disaster recovery or failover environments, where the same names were used as for the production systems
    • On cloned virtual machines, where the cloning process did not include updating the machine's name
    • With public cloud instances created from a single image with a fixed host name.
  • You deployed FlexNet Inventory Agent to some devices (in the Agent third-party deployment case), but because these devices are not identified in any target for adoption, the relevant inventory beacon is also collecting Zero-footprint inventory. Will these records clash somehow, or be resolved?
You may have additional reasons to seek a deep understanding of the process, such as:
  • You want to understand why some devices visible in your Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (previously Microsoft SCCM) listing are not visible in IT Asset Management, even though Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager is your main inventory tool.
  • You are creating a custom inventory adapter, and want to know which fields must be imported for successful socialization with the inventory records already existing in IT Asset Management.
There are three parts to the question of data resolution:

IT Asset Management (Cloud)