mike.rossouw

BULK COMPUTER ARCHIVING IN SNOW LICENSE MANAGER

Blog Post created by mike.rossouw Employee on Jul 23, 2018

Purpose

  • Define the high-level process and the steps required to carry out bulk computer archiving in Snow License Manager.
  • Provide an additional mechanism of control in respect to complying with internal company asset life cycle management policies.
  • Help save a significant amount of time ordinarily required to carry out this task manually on a machine by machine basis where there is a requirement to archive many machines in Snow on a periodic basis.

What is Archiving

Snow license manager provides two separate means of removing computer records from the Snow database using the Web UI.

Delete

Using the “Delete” option will permanently remove the computer record from the Snow database and there will be no further access to that computer inventory record in Snow.

Note: Choosing to delete instead of archiving will depend entirely on the needs of your business and should be detailed in your data retention policy so please ensure you refer to this prior to taking this action.

Archive

The Archive option will also perform the “Delete” function however, prior to the deletion it will take a point in time (POT) Snapshot of the machine records which it retains in the License Manager database as an archive record in case you need to refer to it in the future using the standard archived computer report available in Snow License Manager.

Note: Choosing to archive instead of deleting will depend entirely on the needs of your business and should be detailed in your data retention policy so please ensure you refer to this prior to taking this action.

Why Archive?

In short, computer assets will at some point of their lifecycle be permanently removed from the corporate network and disposed of for several reasons i.e. No longer supported, damaged, lost, replaced etc. If the computer records remain in Snow license manager and software applications are reported as installed and or in use on the respective computers, then they are consuming licenses not only for Snow but for those applications identified on the machines.

If you do not archive or delete these entries from Snow it will have a direct impact on the overall software license compliance position and in turn will have financial and potentially legal implications.

Refer to your organisations data retention policy as this will govern what records are kept and for how long.

Your company’s requirement to reference these archived computer records would typically arise either for audit, legal, security, transformation related activity or simply for historical reference purposes.

The high-level Process

Step 1 - Create a custom Field in Snow

You should only have to do this once, after that the field will always exist in the Snow custom field list unless it is removed as part of a manual clean-up process.

See screenshots below:

  • Click on Home --> Administration-->Custom fields

  • Click Add

  • Select the category -- ‘Computer/Mobile device’

  • Select the Type field – choose ‘Yes/No’
  • Type ‘Archive’ in the Name field – This will be the custom field name.
  • In the description field, you can add whatever test you feel appropriate here to help you identify why you have created this custom field. For this one a suggestion would be to add ‘Created to support bulk archiving of computers in Snow process. This adds a field against each computer in Snow with the ‘Archive’ yes or no option which can be updated manually one PC at a time or via a bulk import’.
  • Next add a check to the Mandatory field to enable it to be a mandatory item against each computer.
  • The last field provides you the option of choosing ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for the default. In this case, it will be ‘No’ by default as the option. As we only want to add ‘Yes’ to the machines we want to archive.

Step 2 -Create Import Template

Create the excel import template – this is a simple two columns excel file using machine name and the custom field [Archive].

See sample below:

Step 3 – Create list of machines

Add the list of machines to the template – Insert all the machine names in the Computer name column and add the word Yes to the ‘[Archive]’ column.

See sample below:

Save this file with a unique name for audit purposes in the Archived computers folder with a date relevant to the date you are archiving the machines.

Don’t over write the template!

Step 4 – Start the Import

Start the import process.

  • go to [Home]--> [Import Data] and choose ‘Update Existing Computers’ option.

  • Then browse for the saved Archived computers list in the Archived computers folder you saved earlier as per step 3

  • Click Next

Since we are importing an update to existing computers, in Step 2 of 5 of the import process ensure that for the ‘New Organisation Action’ selection is set to ‘Do Nothing’ and that the ‘Obsolete computer action’ is also set to ‘Do nothing’

In the next stage, you will be asked to confirm the Field mappings and as there are only 2 fields that we are importing against i.e. ‘Computer Name’ and ‘[Archive]’ Snow will want to ensure that it maps correctly for the import so this stage will allow you to correct any Mapping errors.

In the screenshot below you will see what should happen at this stage of the process and how the fields should look.

The options – ‘Trim leading or trailing white space’ is for ensuring that you are not importing any whitespace as this will affect the way Snow locates the relevant computers you are trying to update so if you have copied the data into excel and there are potentially white spaces in the text then select this option to ensure better results and avoid repeating the process.

The option ‘Map by Index’ can be ignored but ensure there is no check in the box then click next

  • Click Next.

The 4th stage of this import process will provide you a chance to preview and validate that the data you are importing and updating against will work and if any errors are identified i.e. if the computer name you are trying to update in Snow through this import is not found in the Snow computers list, then it will show up as an error at this point.

See example below:

If errors do exist, then you can take a note of these now and complete the import process and deal with the errors separately or cancel the import and correct the problems then start the import process again.

To do this you will need to export the exceptions/errors – click on the export invalid rows option and save the resultant excel file in the same location as the archive computers list so that you can deal with them as a separate task if required.

Example below

Once you have exported any exceptions, clicking next will provide a warning screen asking if you would like to continue excluding the exceptions. If not, then click cancel and go back to the beginning of the import process once you have resolved the exceptions.

Sometimes the machines with the errors are not identified in Snow as they may have been archived already or they just don’t exist in Snow at all. Check these exceptions and if you are happy to proceed then continue with the import process.

  • Click next and complete the import –

In this example, we have only imported against 1 machine so the completed import will show you in this case ‘1 row imported successfully’.

If in your import, you have multiple lines to import and there are errors then it will show you this along with the number of rows that encountered errors.

See screenshot below:

  • Click Finish.

Step 5 - Validate

To validate the list of computers to be archive and that your import/update was a success:

  • Click on ‘Computers’ --> ‘List all computers’.

  • Next use column selector to add the custom field you created called ‘Archive’.

  • Drag the ‘Archive’ field so that it slots in next to the ‘computer name’ field.
  • Next - use the drop down in the ‘Archive’ field column and choose ‘Yes’, this will then list all the machines you have updated with the custom field option to ‘Yes’ – The result will list only the machines you have chosen to archive.

At this point you can validate that the list of machines you have updated through your import matches that of the original import list. Once you are confident that they match you can move to step 6 which is where you can go ahead and archive the computers.

Step 6 - Archive

Now you need to perform the bulk archive – so select all the computers in this list, ensuring that you ONLY select the machines that have a ‘Yes’ against them in the Archive column.

  • Then choose the option next to the column selector and select ‘Edit computers’

Then you can add notes to the notes section

It is important now that you choose Archive and not delete the reason being is that Archiving takes a Snapshot of the machines prior to deletion and deletion does not. This enables an audit trail to exist and allows you to track the life-cycle of the machines, its users and the applications installed etc.

Once you select Archive, Snow will ask you to confirm. At this point if there is any doubt you can back out and check off any doubt or simply go ahead and confirm the Archiving of the selected machines. Once a machine is Archived it cannot be un-archived you should simply wait until the computer is reconnected to the network and scanned again with a Snow inventory agent and that would then add that same machine name back into the Snow DB and then just repeat the process if necessary to archive it again if that were the requirement.

This will now be the end of the Bulk archiving process steps.

You can check in the ‘Archived Computers Report’ located in the ‘Standard Reports’ section of Snow License Manager to confirm that your computers have been successfully archived.

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