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9 Posts authored by: Marcel Hirsch Employee

Every License Management Tool is only as good as its software recognition. Once subscribed to our Software Recognition Service, you will receive a daily updated version of our huge database. The updates are transferred to your customer environment through Snow Update Service and applied to the SnowLicenseManager database on the SQL server. But how does this recognition database grow over time?

 

The Team

Snow has a special team that is constantly working on the recognition database to grow.

 

Manual Enrichment through import template

Customers can enter software recognition patterns to the global Software Recognition database manually through an import template. These patterns will be entered to the global Software Recognition database and published through Snow Update Service to every other customer worldwide.

Please submit the import template through Snow Support.

There are overall three different forms to submit data to the SRS database.

 

Local Rules in SMACC

Customers can design custom recognition rules using Snow Management and Configuration Center (SMACC). These rules are unique per customer and will not be transferred. This is a reasonable approach for inhouse development where no other customer benefits from the recognition rule.

 

Automated Enrichment through SUS

Customers send in their unrecognized applications automatically through Snow Update Service (SUS). This information is collected and manually reviewed by Snow. It is then added to the Software Recognition database and all customer environments are updated.

 

Sounds interesting right? But what about data protection and personally identifiable information?

The customer’s Snow platform will upload metadata for any software inventory data that is not yet recognized.

Software inventory data includes:

  • Software file inventory
  • “Add / Remove programs” , “Programs and Features” (Windows)
  • Package Manager entries (Unix / Linux)
  • Installed apps (Mobile platforms)
  • Operating system (Name, Manufacturer, Version)

 

The following metadata is uploaded to the Software Recognition Service for all software inventory data that is not yet recognized:

  • Name (File Description)
  • Manufacturer
  • Version
  • Language
  • OS Type
  • Path and File Name
  • Indication if the entry is a file or a registry / package manager entry
  • Collapsed user catalogue

The data uploaded to the Software Recognition Service only contains software inventory data (as detailed above). No information related to the computer assets where the software inventory data was found is uploaded (e.g no hostnames, IP addresses).

When data is transmitted personal user details are collapsed when it reports to Software Recognition Service. From a global perspective it is received as “C:\Users\{user}\...”for integrity reasons. However, locally in your environment the data will still present itself with the corresponding user.

The data is encrypted, compressed and sent over a HTTPS connection initiated from the customer platform. By default (configurable) this is initiated daily at 7PM. The customer platform will initiate a connection to https://updates.snowsoftware.com.

 

It is possible to deactivate the functionality of customer recognition patterns being uploaded to the Software Recognition Service. This will turn the Software Recognition Service to the 'Read Only' mode.

  1. Go to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Snow Software\Snow Update Service' on the License Manager server.
  2. Add a string value called 'SRSReadOnly' and set it to either 'true' or 'True'. Any other value will default this setting to false and continue to upload SRS data.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to either comment on this blog post or submit a question through our forums.

/marcel

This Blog Post describes all required steps to ensure that all components of your estate are scanned properly. After reading this Blog Post you should be able to tell, which system requires which inventory method to deliver data.

 

This blog post will focus on the latest versions as of August 2018. Later versions will be added in the beginning of 2019.

 

Prerequisites

Understanding of the Snow ArchitectureLow Level Design and Details Overview.

 

Abbreviations

  • SLM - Snow License Manager
  • true/false - A setting is set to active/inactive

 

Preparation

Knowing your estate is key. The more details you can provide, the better the scanning can take place. At the beginning of your Snow journey you should make detailed plans, how to cover every corner of your estate.

Which platforms do you know of?

Begin by listing all server and client operating system types, that you know of. Every server and client needs to be scanned by a Snow Inventory Agent. It doesn't matter, whether it is a server or a client operating system, as long as it meets the System Requirements.

Please note: Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are supported by Snow Inventory Agent for Windows v5.2.4 only! Compatibility with later Snow Inventory Servers is given.

 

Getting to know Snow Inventory Agent

Every agent needs a configuration. This configuration contains an endpoint ("Where do I need to send my scan files to?"), a scan trigger (daily, weekly, monthly, at startup, at logon, ...) and identification fields (SiteName, ConfigName), just to name a few. If you have questions on how to get yourself a configuration, please stick to this User Guide: Configuration Guide for all Snow Inventory Agents. If you would like to dive deeper, our Technical Reference: Configuration document for all Inventory agents will help you.

If you would like to know more about our Snow Inventory Agents, have a look at the User Guides.

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent for Windows - Update revision 5.3

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent for macOS - Update revision 5.1

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent for Linux - Update revision 5.2

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent for Unix - Update revision 5.0.4

 

AD Discovery & Network Discovery

Snow Inventory Server contains two discovery modules that help you to identify all devices in your estate.

Please check the following post for more details: Getting the Most Out of Snow Inventory Discovery

 

Configuration of Snow Inventory Agent

Snow Inventory Agent offers different modules and functionalities, that can be distributed either globally or dedicated to certain entities of your estate.

  • SiteName (mandatory) The specified item was not found.
  • ConfigName (mandatory) (comfort feature to distinguish multiple configurations - is being transferred to SLM)
  • Endpoint (mandatory) (the server, where the inventory agent sends its data to)
  • Schedule (mandatory) (the time or event, when a scan is performed
  • Drop Location (alternative to Endpoint - if http(s) transport is not available, you can transfer files via UNC)
  • Metering (measures executed applications and established user connections to servers)
  • Web Application Metering (description of Web Application Metering capabilities); (Recommended Blog Post)

Once you have your configuration(s) ready, you can request your Snow Inventory Agent via Snow Support. You will receive installation packages, which you can deploy manually or through your desired software deployment solution.

 

Configuration of Snow Integration Manager

After you have covered your operating systems, continue by listing your Virtualization Centers (vmWare, Hyper-V). Virtualization Centers can be connected by a Snow Integration Connector. You will need information about the management servers and you will need a read-only service account. Details are described in the user guides.

User Guide: Microsoft Hyper-V Connector

User Guide: VMware vSphere Connector

Do you have any of the systems, that are listed in our Technical Description: Snow Integration Manager - Update revision 5.9? If so, please refer to the respective user guide and connect all external data sources.

 

Special Server Types

Not every use case can be covered by a standard scan configuration. Two common cases that our customers struggle with are Terminal Servers and VDI environments.

  • Terminal Servers need to be equipped with an agent that has metering enabled. This is important to detect application usage from connected clients.
  • VDI environments are described in this blog post. Please make sure to set your Snow Inventory Agent to the right parameters for VDI detection. Snow Support will help you with that.

If you need further information, please refer to this Technical Description: Virtual environments.

 

Basic Troubleshooting

If you are experiencing difficulties and can't help yourself, the following steps are suggested:

  1. Watch your logs. They often tell you exactly, where a certain process is struggling. This enables you to take first actions by yourself. Please check: How To Find Log Files
  2. Search Snow Globe. For many cases, there have been previous questions from other customers and partners.
  3. Post on Snow Globe. If you are still stuck, please reach out to us via this forum.
  4. Ask Snow Support. Please note, that Snow Support is a technical product support only. If you are experiencing any issue with an application or its configuration, you are very welcome to reach out to us. If your question is not technically related, please stick to this forum.

This is no guideline, but a best practice suggestion. You may of course contact support directly if desired.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I will try to keep this post up to date, once new features are being released.

 

/marcel

For troubleshooting purposes it can be useful to perform a manual agent scan.

 

  1. Open an administrator command line
  2. Type 'cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent'
  3. Type 'snowagent.exe scan'
  4. Copy the latest *.snowpack file from 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent\data'

You can use this snowpack file for troubleshooting purposes with Snow Support or e.g. inside your own environment for transfer troubleshooting between Service Gateways and Snow Inventory Master Server.

 

/marcel

Snow Academy is an E-Learning Platform that provides our customers and partners with useful information regarding products and latest releases, as well as general licensing terms. Every customer and partner can login to Snow Academy with their Single Sign On (SSO) login credentials.

 

For our latest release 2018:1 we have created a learning package, that has been designed to enable our customers to experience our latest technology in a row of  training courses.

 

The Snow for Cloud learning package

 

Narrative and visual content

 

Is this really for free?

Yes. We are giving out this course with no charge. There are other courses that may be of interest for you. Please reach out to your account manager, if you need more information about contents and pricing.

 

Login to Snow Academy now!

  • Go to Snow Academy and login with your company email address.

  • Search for "CUSTOMERS: Snow for Cloud learning package" and enter the course.

 

Need assistance?

Only active customers and partners are enabled to login, private email addresses will not work. So please make sure, that you are using your company's email address. If you are a new employee and the access won't work, please reach out to your account manager and ask for permission.

This blog post describes how to update Snow Inventory Agents. It contains useful information and a clear how-to guide.

 

Why should I update?

Updates contain both security fixes and new functionalities. Please consider, if you would like to update, by reading through the Release Notes. If you would like to update one of your agent, follow the steps described below.

 

Preparation

Open Snow Management and Configuration Center (SMACC). Login to your Snow Inventory. On the 'Overview' page, you are seeing how many of your agents are on the latest version. The figure should look like this:

We can see, that not all windows agents are on the latest version (5.3.0) and we would like to update.

 

 

How can I update?

There are two ways, how a new agent finds its way to the machines in your estate.

1. Request a new agent package via Snow Support

  • Snow Support will build a new installation package for you, which you can then rollout via your software distribution tool.
  • Open a ticket and include the following information:
    • Target Operating System (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Unix)
    • Architecture (64/32 bit or both?)
    • Attach a valid configuration. Please read below, how to extract the most recent configuration from your estate.
  • Please stick to this Support Guide.

 

2. Perform an agent update package via Snow Management and Configuration Center

  • Go to Snow Management and Configuration Center (SMACC) and select 'Agent update' from the side menu.
  • Click on 'Create new' in the top menu.
  • Work through the wizard. Give a name for this update, for example 'Update Windows to 5.3.0'.
  • Select a target (Win32 in this example)
  • Make sure to select 'Install agent'.
  • Select a target group. In my example the site 'Test'.

    You can also select a subset, for example a certain configuration. This makes sense, if you only want to update a certain number of agents.
  • Select an update time. By default, this will be the current date with 00:00 UTC. Make changes, if desired.
  • Complete the wizard. Your created update will be visible in the table under 'Agent updates'. You can view the status of the update there.

The agents will update by themselves, after they have reported their scan results. After some time, the overview panel should show progress.

Congratulations! You have successfully updated your Snow Inventory Agents using the builtin update function.

 

Additional Information: See your current Configurations

Go to Snow Management and Configuration Center (SMACC). Select the tab 'Configurations' from the side menu. You are seeing all configurations, that are currently reporting in. Select one, then click 'Edit' to view/edit or 'Export' to export and attach the configuration to your agent creation request.

 

If you have further questions, feel free to comment on this blog post.

/marcel

This blog post is all about installation sources and manual/automatic updates. Download installers, in case you want to perform a fresh installation. Configure your Snow Update Service to receive automatic product updates or to manually apply offline updates.

 

Current Product Versions

Get product versions of all Snow products here.

 

Installation Sources

Snow License Manager

ftp://ftp.snowsoftware.com/SetupPackages/CurrentProductVersions/SLM/

Snow Inventory Server

ftp://ftp.snowsoftware.com/SetupPackages/CurrentProductVersions/Inventory%20server/

Snow Integration Manager

ftp://ftp.snowsoftware.com/SetupPackages/CurrentProductVersions/SIM/

 

Snow Update Service

All Snow products are being updated via Snow Update Service, which is a separate component coming with each application. It has two operation modes, which are described below.

You can open the Snow Update Service GUI here:

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Update Service\SnowSoftware.Update.Gui.exe

 

Automatic Update

This is the default setting. Snow Update Service relies on an internet connection to gather updates from the central Snow Update server. It will download updates the following components:

  • Snow Inventory Server
  • Snow License Manager
  • Snow Inventory Agents
  • Snow Management and Configuration Center
  • DIS Rules
  • SRS Rules

Updates are scheduled. This schedule can be viewed/changed in the Snow Update Service GUI under 'Change settings'.

 

Manual Update (Offline Mode)

As obvious, Snow Update Service requires an internet connection. If, for whatever reason, there is no internet connection available, you can use the builtin Offline Mode.

Let's say, we want to update the software using the offline mode.

  • Go to 'change settings' and click 'Use offline mode'. Hit 'Save' afterwards.
  • New menu entries appeared in the left menu. First, you need to export the Product Manifest by hitting 'Export product manifest' in the left menu. Safe this file to your local computer.
  • Visit the Snow Software Updates Portal, click 'Software Update'. Put in your email address in (the download link will be sent there) and upload the product manifest file. Hit 'Request package'.
  • After the creation process, download the package and transfer it to the server.
  • In the Snow Update Service GUI, hit 'Install offline updates' and refer to the update file. Finally, hit 'Install'.

 

You may have missed Snow Integration Manager in the list of automatically updated applications above. This is because it is currently not included in Snow Update Service and therefore needs to be updated manually. Watch this video to see a guide.

 

/marcel

After reading this blog post you will be able to tell, which versions your products are on. I will focus on both the "easy" and the "techy" way. Both ways may be good to know, if  - in a troubleshooting case - one way won't work.

 

Version information is important to log a ticket, decide, whether an update has already been applied and much more.

 

An exact version consists of 3 digits and is built up in the schema Major.Minor.Patch. Version 8.5.2 would mean, that you are on Major version 8, Minor version 5, Patch 2. To find the right server, that your installation is located on, you can have a look at this guide. Once you are on the server, follow the described instructions to get the version information of your products.

 

If you want a complete version overview, your first source of truth should be the registry. You can open a computer's/server's registry by hitting WIN+R, typing 'regedit' and then navigating to the following path in the opened 'Registry Editor' (just like in a normal file explorer):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Snow Software\Snow Update Service\Installed Products

This location stores all products's version information except of Snow Integration Manager and Snow Inventory Agent. These two need to be explored by the paths described below.

However if you are looking for one specific version information, one of the ways described below may be faster and more usable.

 

Snow License Manager

Easy: Go to your Snow License Manager web frontend by typing your server address in your browser. Login to the system by entering your user credentials. On the right top corner, click your username. then select 'About' in the dropdown menu. The version will be displayed in the blue space on the top.

Techy: Go to C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs\Application on your Snow License Manager server. Open the most recent log file (e.g. 31-12-2018). Have a look at line four, which states your version.

 

Snow Inventory Server

Easy: Open the file C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Inventory\Server\snowserverconfig.exe on your Snow Inventory server. In the bottom left corner, you find your version info.

Techy: Go to the registry and open the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Snow Software\Snow Update Service\Installed Products\SnowInventory. Have a look at the key ProductVersion.

 

Snow Inventory Agent

Easy: Go to the control panel, then select "Programs and Features" or "Apps and Features". Scroll down to Snow Inventory Agent and expand the details.

Techy: Go to the path C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent\. Right-click the file snowagent.exe, click on 'Properties', then select the 'Details' tab.

 

Snow Integration Manager

Easy: Open the file C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Integration Manager\SnowSoftware.ExternalDataProvider.Properties.exe. Click on the 'About' button on the bottom left.

Techy: Open the folder C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Integration Manager\. Right-click the file SnowSoftware.ExternalDataProvider.Properties.exe, click on 'Properties', then select the 'Details' tab. Cut out the third block to get your actual version.

 

If you are missing a product or encounter an error, please let me know.

This blog post will be updated on a regular basis.

/marcel

Marcel Hirsch

How To Find Log Files

Posted by Marcel Hirsch Employee Jul 30, 2018

For many support cases, logs will be needed to investigate certain behavior. This blog post will tell you, where to find logs of your components.

 

Please provide the designated logs, if requested. You can of course do research by yourself, if you are encountering issues with certain components.

 

Depending on the size of your environment, applications may be spread over several servers. Find the right server for the appropriate function with these tables. Please keep in mind, that the sizing may also vary in your environment due to your preferences. To be 100% certain, please have a look at your installation documentation.

 

Up to 1000 units:

1000 to 5000 units:

More than 5000 units:

 

The described locations are for default installation paths. If you are using custom installation paths, the log locations may vary.

Snow License Manager (Web Frontend)

Snow License Manager Web Application general

Logs SLM key validation, DB connection status, application initialization status.

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs\Application 

Snow License Manager Web Application Error

Contains any error message generated within the web application.

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs\Error 

Snow License Manager Web Application Security

Contains information about failed user login attempts.

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs\Security 

Snow License Manager Web Application WebAPI

Contains information about WebAPI.

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs\WebApi

 

License Manager Services

Contains information about windows services, that are related to Snow License Manager functions.

Snow License Manager Event Store Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\EventStoreService

Snow License Manager File Import Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\ImportTool

Snow License Manager Notification Delivery Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\NotificationDelivery

Snow License Manager Office 365 Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\Office365Service

Snow License Manager Report Exporter

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\ReportExport

Snow License Manager Software Enterprise Agreement Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\SoftwareEnterpriseAgreementService

Snow Software Licensing

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\Licensing

Snow Software Licensing Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\LicensingService

 

Snow Inventory Server (Backend)

C:\ProgramData\SnowSoftware\Inventory\Server

 

Snow Management and Configuration Center (SMACC)

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\SnowMACC

C:\Users\<CurrentUser>\AppData\Roaming\SnowSoftware\Logs

 

Snow Inventory Agent (Client Scanner)

Windows Agent 5

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent\data\snowagent.log

OSX Agent 5

/opt/snow/data/snowagent.log

Linux Agent 5

/opt/snow/data/snowagent.log

Unix Agent 5

/opt/snow/data/snowagent.log

Oracle (SIOS) Scanner

The log of the oracle scanner (sios.log) will always be found in the directory of the used Agent

 

Snow Integration Manager (External Components)

This component is most likely installed on your Snow Inventory Server.

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\Snow Integration Manager

 

Snow Update Service

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\UpdateService

 

Active Directory Discovery Tool

C:\ProgramData\Snow Software\Snow Inventory\Server\snowserver.log

C:\ProgramData\Snow Software\Inventory\Server\snowserver-<Date>.log

 

Data Update Job

The data Update Job is writing all log activities to the SnowLicenseManager database.

Get these logs by opening SQL Management Studio and firing the query select * from followed by the table name against the database SnowLicenseManager. Paste/Export the results to an Excel file.

tblJobLog

Contains the log of the last Data Update Job. 

tblJobLogHistory

Contains the results of previous Data Update Jobs. 

tblJobLogMetrics

Contains meta data for a number of completed Jobs. (table sizes, number of computers, number of users and so on.) 

tblErrorLog

Contains data about the errors within the Data Update Job

 

Summary

To sum it up, you are having server logs in the following directories:

C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Logs\

C:\ProgramData\Snow Software\Inventory\Server

 

This article is being updated on a regular basis. If you are missing any information, please comment and I will add information accordingly.

/marcel

There comes the time, when you need support for your product. To save time, reduce questions and to speed up the whole support process, you as the initiator of a support case can do a lot.

 

Instead via email, open your ticket via the Support Portal

This gives you as the initiator a hand full of options, that you don't have via email.

  • You can add the product, component and version of the component, that you are having issues with. This reduces check backs with support.
  • After you selected your product, you receive articles that may help you to solve the problem by yourself. This can be a user guide or a qualified knowledge base article.
  • You can easily add people to the 'watchlist' of the ticket. They will be put in cc of every email, that comes in or goes out from the ticket. Put in your colleagues, business partner or Snow account manager to let them know, what is going on.
  • Set the impact and urgency to a correct level. This helps support to distinguish, which of your tickets deserves more attention than the other. You know best, what bothers you most.
  • You can track your open cases easily. In addition, you can see tickets of your colleagues as well. If they are on holiday or sick leave, you can jump in and work on their tickets, if you like.

 

Attach all relevant information

  • Logs are key. Attach as many logs, as you can find. If it is more than one log source, put them in different folders and name them wisely. Finally pack them as a zip archive and add them to the support case. Follow this guide to find the logs of your components.
  • When does your issue occur? Is it reproducible? The more information, the better.
  • Did anyone do any major changes prior to the issue? The earlier support knows, the faster your issue can be resolved.
  • How is your system setup? There are different sizings of Snow environments, depending on your total devices. Do you have a dedicated SQL server or a shared one? Do you have Snow License Manager and Snow Inventory running on the same server or on separate machines?

 

If you have any questions on this, please don't hesitate and comment this article.

/marcel