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Inventory Device Matching Transparency in FlexNet Manager Suite 2020 R2
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Inventory Device Matching Transparency
FlexNet Manager Suite 2020 R2 bringing many features that are going to provide a lot more value and Inventory device matching transparency is one of them. A new management view available in the Discovery & Inventory menu lets you investigate how and why overlapping inventory records from multiple different inventory sources were matched and merged into the inventory device records in your compliance database, making the devices visible (for example) in the All Inventory page.
This view provides inventory device properties, inventory device matching rules (set of inventory device properties) used to match devices to one inventory device, and RAW inventory device properties to provide a complete picture of how overlapping devices are merged into one inventory device that a user sees in the WebUI.
This new Inventory Device Matching listing combines, in each row, data from three sources:
- The existing inventory device records.
- The raw hardware properties, imported from all related inventory sources a device is matched to.
- The rules (set of hardware properties) used to match these, either directly or "transitively" (a transitive match is one that goes through a "third party", such as when device A is matched to incoming inventory item B, and then item C is found to match item B – we say that item C is now "transitively" matched with device A as well).
Inventory Device Matching
There are multiple rows for every matched inventory device record, one for every match with incoming inventory from a particular source. Simply multiplying all your inventory devices by all your inventory sources may produce a very large number of rows.
The following screenshot shows an inventory device imported from three different inventory sources, matched to an inventory device by a rule using rule attributes serial number and computer name.
Note: If you leap directly into this new view (unfiltered), it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of data
Matched RAW devices count on All Inventory page
All inventory page has new Matched raw devices column available (by default in column chooser). The purpose of Matched raw devices count column is to provide, you an easy view into each inventory device has been matched by imported inventory records from (say) three different sources, this column shows the count of three as a hyperlink. Clicking the number of matched raw devices brings you directly into the Inventory Device Matching page, pre-filtered for your investigation. In this example, it would show you three rows: each would repeat the same Inventory device properties from your database (for the device in the All Inventory page where you clicked the link), but each row would show one of the three different inventory imports of Raw inventory device properties that matched that device. Linking those two sides are the rules/properties used in the matching process. You can freely move columns into/out of the column chooser to see just the evidence you want to investigate.
The following screenshot shows two inventory device in the All Inventory management view has Matched raw devices count 3 each (Three imported inventory devices matched to each inventory device) matched by the inventory matcher rules based in hardware properties from imported inventory devices.
The online help for this new page provides more information.
When will FlexNet Manager Suite 2020 R2 be available for on-premises?
The current plan is to release FNMS 2020 R2 On-Prem in mid-December 2020.
Can the matching rules be altered? it seems that it is matching by Serial Number and Computer Name. Computer Names change where Serial Numbers tend to stay the same. By creating two different records based on a name change, this becomes messy and problematic.
I would prefer a match on Serial Number/Domain Name.
@anne_watson - the configuration of matching rules used by FlexNet Manager Suite On-premises systems can be modified. See the following page for some guidance: Gathering FlexNet Inventory > Common: Identifying Related Inventory
With that said, some points you may want to consider are:
- Matching logic is a complex topic. A seemingly minor or "obvious" change can easily have unexpected side effects. Optimizing matching logic for one scenario will often make another scenario worse.
- Serial numbers are generally not a good field to use for matching without some other field that helps to uniquely identify a computer. This is because serial numbers in computer BIOSes are notoriously non-unique. This may only affect a few % of your computers, but a few % is enough to cause a lot of confusion.
Yes, but BIOS serial numbers that are not unique should be blacklisted and not subject to merging. It causes much more havoc with duplicate inventory devices where the non-unique serial number does match and it has been replaced or reimaged, don't you think?
@anne_watson - the default configuration of FlexNet Manager Suite is set up to make a guess that where a serial number is found exactly 2 times then it is likely due to a re-imaging operation, and the associated computer records are subject to merging. If a serial number is found more than 2 times then the associated computer records are not merged based on the serial number.
The threshold of 2 can be changed using a MaxDuplicateImportedComputerSerialNo configuration setting stored in the compliance database. This setting is discussed in this thread: will device not get inventoried if it have duplicate serial number?
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