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Metering and Last Used Date Reporting Incorrectly

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Hi All I'd really appreciate some urgent help.....@Chris Grinton 🙂 I recently ran a Harvest report and after multiple users screaming that their applications had been removed, I found that the last used date of the application was either not reporting for some users or was reporting 2-3 months prior to current date. After speaking with several users, they confirmed that they used the harvestd applications on a regular if not daily basis. A couple of questions then: 1. why does the last used date get reported for some users and not others for the same application? 2. why is the last used date not accurately reporting the users actual usage 3. Adobe Acrobat Pro was one of the apps harvested, and again, multiple users indicated they use it on a regular basis. Is there a known issue with harvesting of this Adobe product in terms of Acrobat Reader being in the SOE vs users having Adobe Pro installed separately outside of the SOE and then launching either of the apps? regards Conny #Metering #Last Used Date #Harvest
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ChrisG
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

I have heard of that the FlexNet agent can have trouble gathering usage metering for some Adobe products - the MSI installer packages for these products are authored in an unusual way, and do not install executable files in a "normal" way. This results in the agent being unable to match a running executable to an application.

I would always recommend being cautious about automatically and blindly uninstalling software simply based on usage data that is gathered. There are enough scenarios and corner cases that make it difficult to get 100% accurate usage data that using a process that involves some sort of explicit check with end users before installing their software is wise - even if the data gets it right 95% of the time, the last 5% of annoyed users will generate a lot of noise.

Some other things to check when considering usage data flowing through the system are:

  • When using the FlexNet agent to gather usage, the usage agent log on client computers gives an information about which running executables are being tracked and which are not.
  • Remember that a file evidence recognition rule for the invoked executable must be associated with the application record in the ARL for usage to be tracked.
  • You can use the Discovery & Inventory > Discovery > Raw Software Usage page to see low level details of usage data that has been gathered by the FlexNet agent. This can be useful to see what data has been returned by a device, to get a sense of whether "missing" usage being shown against an installation is due to lack of data coming back from the device, or lack of ARL recognition rules.
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ChrisG
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

I have heard of that the FlexNet agent can have trouble gathering usage metering for some Adobe products - the MSI installer packages for these products are authored in an unusual way, and do not install executable files in a "normal" way. This results in the agent being unable to match a running executable to an application.

I would always recommend being cautious about automatically and blindly uninstalling software simply based on usage data that is gathered. There are enough scenarios and corner cases that make it difficult to get 100% accurate usage data that using a process that involves some sort of explicit check with end users before installing their software is wise - even if the data gets it right 95% of the time, the last 5% of annoyed users will generate a lot of noise.

Some other things to check when considering usage data flowing through the system are:

  • When using the FlexNet agent to gather usage, the usage agent log on client computers gives an information about which running executables are being tracked and which are not.
  • Remember that a file evidence recognition rule for the invoked executable must be associated with the application record in the ARL for usage to be tracked.
  • You can use the Discovery & Inventory > Discovery > Raw Software Usage page to see low level details of usage data that has been gathered by the FlexNet agent. This can be useful to see what data has been returned by a device, to get a sense of whether "missing" usage being shown against an installation is due to lack of data coming back from the device, or lack of ARL recognition rules.
(Did my reply solve the question? Click "ACCEPT AS SOLUTION" to help others find answers faster. Liked something? Click "KUDO". Anything expressed here is my own view and not necessarily that of my employer, Flexera.)

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Thanks Chris. That's very useful information. Our client didn't want their users contacted to confirm usage or non-usage of applications - can cause even more angst than just removing it behind the scenes. I'll definitely be building in more checks and validations prior to harvesting in the future! cheers Conny

For reference, here are some other discussion threads on a similar topic to this one:

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Chris,

How does one validate the 2nd bullet point:  Remember that a file evidence recognition rule for the invoked executable must be associated with the application record in the ARL for usage to be tracked.

Is this something our internal engineer would have to validate for us?

I'm always concerned when reporting "last used date".  Especially when the field is blank.  I have no idea if it is accurate or not and can cause a lot of issues.  I've been told that a blank "LUD" meant they had NEVER used the product.  Is this not true?

Shelby

@shelby_day,
The "file evidence recognition rule for the invoked executable must be associated with the application record in the ARL for usage to be tracked" requirement should be checked by verifying the relevant executables are listed in the discovered evidence, Adobe Acrobat XI Pro example screen shot:

JohnSorensenDK_0-1575276076124.png

Thanks,

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Take a look at the following new thread I have just posted which has some new insights and suggestions that may be at least partially related to this thread: Application usage metering with FlexNet agent on Windows for non-MSI applications

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ChrisG
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

@shelby_day - to validate file evidence recognition rules that are configured for an application, open the application record in FlexNet, select the Evidence tab, and click on the File button. Here is an example of what you would see for Microsoft Office Project 2016 Professional:

image.png

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ChrisG
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

In case it helps anybody reviewing this thread, see the following blog that has just been posted for a more extensive review of usage metering capabilities and configuration: Application usage metering using the FlexNet inventory agent

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Hi there,

Just wondering if you get any confirmation on this? I am trying to interpret the meaning of Blank data in the "Last Used Date" field? @shelby_day 

@ChrisG 

 

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HI kusumthapliyal Blank data in the "Last Used Date" field means that when you look in the consumption tab of a license and you see a list of devices/users and the Last used Date field is empty. This could be for a number of reasons including it's only just been installed and hasn't been used yet, never has been used, or the FNMS inventory agent is out of date. The latest released inventory agents are able to capture the LUD for user based licenses including Adobe products which is great. There's probably a few other reasons but I'm sure the experts can add to the list