About inventory performance tuning

Article:HOWTO63567  |  Created: 2011-12-16  |  Updated: 2012-04-20  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO63567
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About inventory performance tuning

Inventory Solution lets you gather inventory data about computers, users, operating systems, and installed software applications in your environment. You can use predefined inventory policies to collect different types of inventory. You can also modify the predefined policies or you can create new inventory policies and tasks.

See About Inventory Solution.

Before you set up policies and tasks to collect inventory in your environment, you need to consider the following questions:

  • How much inventory data do you need to gather?

  • How often do you need to run the inventory?

These questions help you determine how inventory collection affects performance in your environment. You need to find the balance between collecting a sufficient amount of inventory data and using your resources appropriately.

The features of Symantec Management Platform and Inventory Solution offer you the following ways of tuning the inventory performance:

Using different schedules

You can gather the following major types of inventory: hardware, software, and file properties. All of these types of inventory do not have to run at the same time.

Symantec recommends that you use unique policies and schedules for different kinds of inventory.

For example, you can run different types of inventory on the following schedule:

  • Full hardware inventory every four months, every first Monday

  • Delta hardware inventory every two months, every second Monday

  • Full software inventory every month, every first Tuesday

  • Delta software inventory every week, every Wednesday

  • File scan every six months, every second Friday

See Methods for gathering inventory.

Using delta inventory

Delta inventory reports only the data that has changed since the last full inventory scan. Running delta inventory reduces the network load and increases the performance.

However, you must keep in mind that the data in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) can get outdated and a delta is not adequate anymore. For example, if the full inventory gets purged and deltas continue to come in, only the deltas remain in the database.

Symantec recommends that you also run the full inventory on a recurring basis. You can set up a schedule that serves your requirements but does not affect the performance.

Using compression

Using compression lets you compress the data files that client computers send to Notification Server. You can specify the minimum file size that is compressed when it is sent over the network. When you plan to use compression, you need to find the balance between client and server load, and the network utilization.

If you set the compression threshold at a lower file size, it increases the workload on both the client computer and Notification Sever. The client computer has to compress the file and the server has to decompress it. However, this setting decreases the network load.

If you set the compression threshold to a higher value, it lowers the workload on the client computer and the server. However, the network load increases due to the larger files that are sent over the network.

Symantec recommends that you use compression with smaller files only when you have very low bandwidth. If your Notification Server serves a site with very high bandwidth, you do not need to use compression.

Compression is a feature of the Symantec Management Platform that is automatically enabled for all solutions. To use compression, you configure the targeted agent settings that are the general parameters that control the Symantec Management Agent.

For more information, see the topics about configuring the targeted agent settings in the Symantec Management Platform User Guide.

Throttling inventory reporting

Throttling lets you specify the amount of the time that client computers can spend sending inventory data to Notification Server.

You enable throttling when you configure advanced options on the inventory policy or task page, at Advanced > Run options.

See Creating and configuring inventory policies and tasks.

See Inventory advanced options.

Symantec recommends that you use the throttling in larger environments, if inventory makes a significant affect on network bandwidth and Notification Server resources.

For example, you can set the reporting period to 24 hours. At the scheduled time all systems run inventory but wait a random amount of time between now and 24 hours to send the collected inventory to Notification Server. The network and Notification Server have time to process inventory over time.

Note:

This feature is currently available for Windows only.

Using System resource usage settings on a client computer

The System resource usage option lets you define the inventory process priority and thus modify the usage of the client computer's processor and disk during an inventory scan. To determine its value, consider how fast you want the inventory to be gathered and how the inventory process affects performance of the client computer.

You specify the System resource usage value when you configure advanced options on the inventory policy or task page, at Advanced > Run options.

See Creating and configuring inventory policies and tasks.

See Inventory advanced options.

On the Windows platform, if you decrease the priority, the process of gathering inventory requires less system resources on the client computer but the inventory scan takes longer. If you increase the priority, the inventory scan finishes faster but also consumes more resources and can affect the performance of the client computer.

On UNIX, Linux, and Mac platforms, computers dedicate more CPU cycles for high priority processes and less CPU cycles for low priority processes. If the computer is in an idle state and runs only the inventory scan, then low priority process may take the available resources. CPU usage reduces as soon as another process with a higher priority begins to run.

Note:

On the Windows platform, this option is only applicable to file scans. On UNIX, Linux, and Mac platforms, this option is applicable to the entire inventory scan process.

Adhering to the following recommendations lets you effectively tune the inventory performance:

  • Use policies for recurring inventory tasks.

    Inventory policies rely on tasks and have more options to work around the systems that may be turned off at the scheduled time.

    See How inventory policies work.

  • Review all inventory tasks before you enable them.

    Inventory tasks have some options enabled by default. Enabling all of them can result in significant database growth. In some cases, the per client database footprint can increase to over 10-20 MB.

  • Avoid enabling the Access network file systems (UNIX/Linux/Mac) option on the inventory policy or task page, at Advanced > Run options if not necessary.

    Scanning remote volumes is disabled by default to prevent numerous computers from reporting redundant inventory data.

  • On the inventory policy or task page, at Advanced, configure Files Properties Scan Settings.

    Drives

    Avoid to include the drive that is not necessary to be scanned. By default, all local drives are scanned.

    Folders

    Include only those directories that you really want to scan.

    Files

    Use the Report size/file count only setting to improve performance if you do not need to collect full information about files.

    See Inventory advanced options: Files Properties Scan Settings tab.

    See How software inventory rules work.

  • Avoid over scheduling of inventory gathering activities.

    Increasing the frequency of an inventory task in an attempt to hit an "online window" causes redundant data to be sent to Notification Server. The workload on Notification Server increases as the duplicate data must still be processed and then discarded. Schedule inventory tasks to occur at the desired data refresh rate, so that the Symantec Management Agent can locally manage the inventory collection process.

  • Prevent over usage of the Collect Full Inventory policy and its associated inventory task.

    The perceived need to run a full inventory on a frequent basis is a common misconception. Run full inventory only when the Inventory Plug-in reports that Notification Server has more information about a computer than the Notification Server database stores.

    Run full inventory on a monthly basis but use the System resource usage and Throttle inventory reporting evenly over a period of X hours options to define how fast or when inventory data is reported.

  • Use the Software Management Framework components in multiple cloned inventory policies in large environments.

    These components separate inventory policies by geographical, departmental, or other categories. Use these components to spread the timing and receipt of inventory on Notification Server. Then, large groups of computers continue to simultaneously post their inventory data to Notification Server. But Notification Server is busy for a few minutes as opposed to several hours. SQL deadlock warnings in Notification Server log reduce. You achieve a reduction in network traffic because the Inventory Plug-in does not receive the IIS "Server too busy" message and re-post inventory data.


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