Methods for gathering inventory

Article:HOWTO50023  |  Created: 2011-04-18  |  Updated: 2011-04-18  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO50023
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Methods for gathering inventory

You can use different methods to gather inventory data. Each method has some advantages and possible disadvantages.

Table: Inventory methods

Method

Description

Basic inventory.

This method is performed automatically when the Symantec Management Agent is installed on managed computers. This feature is a core function of the Symantec Management Platform and does not require any additional inventory components.

See Table: Inventory types.

Basic inventory gathers information such as the computer's name, domain, installed operating system, MAC and IP address, primary user account, and so on. This information is updated on a regular basis as long as the Symantec Management Agent is running on the computer.

The advantages are as follows:

  • Inventory data is automatically collected when the Symantec Management Agent is installed on the client computer - no other components or steps are needed.

  • Inventory data is updated at regular intervals.

  • Can be used on a different platform.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • Inventory data is limited in scope.

  • The computer must be managed using the Symantec Management Agent.

For more information, see the topics about the basic inventory and the Symantec Management Agent in the Symantec Management Platform Help.

Agent-based inventory on managed computers

(computers with the Symantec Management Agent).

You can use this method by installing the Inventory Plug-in on your managed computers and running inventory policies. The Inventory Plug-in works with the Symantec Management Agent and uses scheduled policies to collect more detailed information than basic inventory. You can collect detailed information about the hardware, operating system, local users and groups, software, and virtual software layers.

Using the Inventory Plug-in on managed computers, all inventory policies are remotely managed from the Symantec Management Console. Inventory policies can be scheduled to run at the configurable intervals that provide up-to-date data. They can also run at the times that do not affect your network's performance.

You can use the Inventory Plug-in on Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Mac platforms.

The advantages are as follows:

  • You can gather a broad range of inventory data.

  • Inventory data is automatically collected and updated using scheduled tasks.

  • You can configure policies to report only changed data from the previous inventory.

  • Can be easily used on multiple platforms.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • The target computer must be managed using the Symantec Management Agent.

  • Maintaining current inventory data can be difficult on the computers that are not regularly connected to the network.

See About gathering inventory on managed computers.

Stand-alone Inventory

(for computers without the Symantec Management Agent or connection to a Notification Server).

You can use this method by creating the stand-alone programs that can be run on target computers. These programs can be run on the computers that do not have the Inventory Plug-in. These programs are created using configuration pages in the Symantec Management Console. The programs can be distributed using email, network shares, login scripts , and so on.

The advantages are as follows:

  • Does not require the computer to be managed using the Symantec Management Agent or connected to a Notification Server.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • External delivery of inventory package is required.

  • The inventory schedule is not centrally managed.

  • Inventory data may not be current.

  • If the target computer is not connected to a Notification Server, the data must be posted manually.

  • Only Windows-based computers are supported.

See Table: Inventory types.

See About gathering inventory using stand-alone packages.

Custom inventory.

You can use this method by creating and running the scripts that expand the types of inventory that you gather.

The advantages are as follows:

  • By default, inventory data is gathered through more than 100 predefined data classes. You can create the additional data classes that may be unique to your environment.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • You must create custom data classes and include the data classes in the custom scripts.

  • You must create and run the scripts that collect the custom inventory data classes.

See Table: Inventory types.

See About gathering custom inventory.

Application metering.

You can use this method by installing the Application Metering Plug-in on your managed computers. You can meter application usage and track and manage software licenses.

See Metering and tracking usage of the managed software products in the enhanced Symantec Management Console Software view.

For more information, see the topics about managing software licenses in the Asset Management Suite Help.

The advantages are as follows:

  • You can track how often an application is used, not only if it is installed. This feature can help you manage your application licenses.

  • You can benefit from the usage tracking option that helps you track software usage at the product level instead of the file level.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • The target computer must be managed using the Symantec Management Agent.

  • Only Windows-based computers are supported.

See Table: Inventory types.

See About metering and denying applications.


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