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Hi, I'm new here and also to SCCM.

 

My objective is to provide a clean standardized source of software product information that can be loaded into a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). More specifically I'm looking to collect, and automatically maintain the following information:

  • For each licensed software item, i.e. a product / version / edition that may be purchased e.g. Microsoft Visio 2013 Standard, I need a Standardized Publisher Name, Standardized Product Name and Standardized Version.
  • The latest revision - this might include a build / patch number and more specific version e.g. 32 vs 64 bit. I'm envisaging that the standardized product and version I'm referring to above might have several updates and minor revisions over its life.
  • The devices where this application has run, including the last run date, and the username of the person using it.
  • I intended to use the SQL views provided in SCCM to build a view or views containing the information required which will then be presented to the CMDB tool.

 

The environment where I'm working has SCCM 2012 R2 SP1 running, with the client deployed to servers and workstations. Most applications at this site are installed through add/remove programs so appear in the hardware / asset intelligence views returned by SCCM. The following inventory classes are turned on: SMS_InstalledSoftware, SMS_SystemConsoleUsage, SMS_SystemConsoleUser, SMS_AutoStartSotware, Win32_USBDevice, SMS_InstalledExecutable.

 

A number of applications use their own installers and are installed outside of the Program Files and (x86) folder structure, so these are not seen by the hardware inventory functionality as far as I'm aware.

 

From the Technet I found the best information so far in the views: v_GS_INSTALLED_SOFTWARE_CATEGORIZED, v_LU_SoftwareList_Editable from the hardware inventory side, and on the software side from v_SoftwareProduct and v_GS_SoftwareProduct. The benefit of the two former views, is that SCCM is doing some name normalization and categorization.

 

Anyone who has had a look at this problem will realize there are challenges in standardization of publisher, product and version information even at a high level. Furthermore, from a high or medium level perspective, there's also the challenge of aggregating the many minor variants / versions / patches of software back to their parent software packages that might be of interest in a CMDB as a "licensable product".

 

The queries I have are:

  1. I am not sure that SCCM is configured exactly as it should be to return the data required?
  2. I have tried to match data between the hardware inventory side of the product and the software inventory side. There does not appear to be a common key and there does not appear to be sufficient standardization in publisher / product / version information to join the data. Am I missing something or is there any best practice here?
  3. In other forum posts I've read, there have been comments to the effect that software inventory is of little value. However if that is the case, how is it possible to include software products, that are installed outside of the Windows add / remove programs functionality?
  4. Assuming that SCCM is configured correctly to ensure the appropriate data is being collected, and that the Out Of The Box standardization and classification is working optimally, what additional manual configuration is required to ensure standardized publisher / product / version information is being collected / generated? I'm thinking of one smaller publisher, probably unknown to SCCM's classification database, where I've seen three or four variations in their name>

Thanks very much in advance.

 

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  1. Why do you think that?
  2. I never recommend using Software Inventory (SW) as it is just too unreliable and there are too many good alternatives such as HW and AI data. Heck even CI will do a better job of this, it does mean work on your part but......
  3. Please provide an example. Are you SURE that it is not listed within ARP? Very, very, very little doesn't add an entry into ARP, most exe are a wrapper for MSI, and all MSI are listed within ARP.
  4. Honestly there isn't much you can do, you can submit these SW titles to AI for them to normalize but I wouldn't hold my breath that it happen soon. You can also look at 3rd party software to do this but it will cost $$s.

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Hi Garth

 

Thanks very much for your reply.

  1. Being new to SCCM, I am not entirely sure the right things have been turned on - its an existing environment. That said, does it sound OK from the information above. Clearly there's data in most of the views I've been looking at. A few software metering views are empty.
  2. Sure I won't bother with software inventory if it's not effective and the combined data is available under Hardware / AI which is more standardized anyway, more than happy to go with that.
  3. One of the applications we're running is called NextGen - its a health application that has a launcher and control application which is installed through ARP. The launcher hasn't been updated in some time. However once the launcher is installed, there's another step in the installation for this application where an application provided installer goes off and downloads more files onto the local machine, outside of Program Files and registers them. These are the actual program modules which are at later and different revisions to the launcher. Apparently the product specific installer downloads and "registers" the DLL's etc. I'm not sure what "registering" means in this sense. Its the likes of these modules, that we would like to show up in the CMDB in the end game, alongside more regular products. Any suggestions if we're not using Software Inventory how these other products end up in the Hardware / AI inventory? That's why I wanted to make sure we had all the required AI discovery elements enabled so we don't miss anything.
  4. We found there are a couple of places in SCCM where its possible to override or augment the discovered publisher and product names:
    1. In Asset Intelligence > Inventoried Software > <Software title> > Right click Properties - it is possible to edit both the Product and Publisher name, however not the version.
    2. In Software Inventory: Administration > Site Configuration > Client Settings > Software Inventory > Set Names - it is possible to set the Manufacturer (publisher) and Product names.
    3. I was wondering if there was anything else required at a site configuration level to aid in standardization?

Thanks again Tim

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1. SW Metering will only work if you create rules for each SW title. Generally most people have a few at best.

 

3. without looking at the app it is hard to say what is the best way to manage it. Honestly you should talk to the vendor and ask them. And if their answer is to scan the file. You should tell them this is NOT a good options and they should work on creating a better option for enterprise environment.

 

4.2 This will have no effect on anything that is not using SW inv.

4.3 only 3rd party software is the only other option.

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