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2019

Buongiorno, SnowGlobe!

Do you know we have some user guides in additional languages, other than English?

If not, please access our Knowledge Base and you'll find all there!

 

Anyway, to simplify the search I'm adding here the current ones for the web interface of Snow License Manager 9:

 

 

Note: in each KB Article page, you can click on the "Subscribe" button (on the top right), to get a notification every time the User Guide is updated.

Background: you want to exclude specific software installations on specific computers from the compliance calculation in your Snow License Manager. This could have multiple reasons and has been solved in different ways in the past and/or still for some special cases.

 

Previous challenges and solution:
Examples:
MSDN: licensing of multiple test systems, where only specific Microsoft products could be covered.
OEM licenses connected to the relevant hardware.
Terminal servers: some software manufacturers, including Microsoft, allow their software to be installed on terminal servers, but these are not counted towards a compliance, rather the devices under TS- applications.
Training environments: some software manufacturers, including Microsoft, give the right to use a limited number of computers with their software for free under certain agreements.
All other software products that might cover more than two installations where there might be no direct technical linkages to secondary use rights or other use rights.
Solution:
The main solution is implemented by moving the relevant computers to a dummy organizational unit, and then adding dummy site licenses to these to cover all of the relevant software installations.

 

The following example will show how one software application will be removed from the compliance calculation in Snow License Manager.


Step 1: find the application that needs to be adjusted and check the current compliance. 

 

Step 2: if you have administrative rights in Snow, go to the “Administration” page and click on “Compliance exclusions”.
 

Step 3: click on “Add exclusion” to start defining the compliance exclusions.
 

 

Step 4: enter the rule name and reason. The “Active” checkbox can only be used later or set in the last step.
 

Step 5: search for the identified application as in Step 1 and mark the checkbox to fill the right-side column. In this right-side column you can delete wrong applications by clicking on the small cross or “Clear list”.
 

Step 6: search for the computers or use the “Filter with installations” functionality. Mark the required computers in the results list and you can delete computers from the right-side column by clicking on the small cross or remove all with “Clear list”.
 

Step 7: after these steps please click “Save” at the bottom right side of the window.
 

 

Step 8: as mentioned in Step 4, you are asked if your settings should be activated. If your settings are correct, please click on “Yes” to activate the rule.
 

Step 9: your rule will then be added to the list of all rules and can be edited from here in future or deleted by clicking the small cross on the right side of each rule. More rules can be added here by clicking on “Add exclusion”.
 

Step 10: after adding/editing any rule, please ensure that you start a compliance recalculation before looking for any changes. This menu item can be found under your user name in the top right hand corner.
 

 

Step 11: open the application(s) that you are working on and see how many computers have been manually excluded from the compliance calculation.
 

Please note that this is a new feature and might change over time.

This article relates to a real-world case – the customer’s name has been omitted.

The issues raised were all relate to the UNIX Snow Agent. The customer needed Oracle scanning, so the SIOS.jar process was running with the standard snowagent.jar scan. Before we begin, we must remember that:

 

  • We strongly recommend Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 1.8 is used. 1.6 is the oldest version supported, but performance is best on 1.8 or above.
  • NFS (Network File System) mounts are rather common place on UNIX boxes – essentially, these are remote directories, much like network drives on Windows.

 

Mounting Issues and Troublesome Runtimes

The customer came to us reporting that the UNIX agent was taking too long to complete the scan and the Oracle scan. Why was this?

Two main reasons – the UNIX boxes in question were using JRE 1.6 and there was also a large amount of NFS mounts that the agent was trying to scan every time. This could have resulted in many, many more GBs of data being scanned, across the network, unintentionally.

The issue with the NFS mounts was easily resolved by looking at the snowagent.config file and adding exclusions for those mounts:

 

 

Next came the issue of the Java runtime – the system JRE was version 1.6, which is supported, but it is recommended to use 1.8 – which is precisely what we did.

The problem is, it was not desirable to upgrade the system JRE on all the UNIX boxes. The solution, therefore, was to specify our own JRE that the agent can use.

First, the version 1.8 JRE was placed in the agent directory - /opt/snow.

 

 

Next, the snowagent.config file is modified:

 

 

The value highlighted here can be modified to point to a specific Java Runtime.

Problem solved – almost. The crontab also needs to be changed. The crontab is how UNIX\Linux devices schedule processes. Crontab, by default, looks like this:

 

 

The crontab line as shown above was changed:

 

 

Conclusion

This troubleshooting and resolution method provided a fix for this customer’s particular “pain points” without the need for any down time for major changes to their platform.

ester.memoli

Developing Ideas

Posted by ester.memoli Employee Mar 22, 2019

May 2019 Update: many of the Ideas mentioned in this article have been developed. Please consider the list as outdated. Anyway the Ideas page, the Search method and the hints are still valid.

Our tireless R&D team works every day to develop improvements, updates, fixes and new features for all Snow applications. Did you know they also evaluate and take in consideration the ideas coming from customers, partners and even Snow employees from all departments?

This is done throught the Ideas Portal, available here in the community at the following link: Snow Ideas Board

 

An example of all the Ideas currently (March 2019) in development:

 

INVENTORY and AGENT

Bulk delete computers from the Inventory SMACC
New MS chassis types to Inventory
Excluding autofs filessystems/ NFS mounts from agent scanning

GENERAL MANAGEMENT
Disable Auto/Dynamic Search Feature
Open/Known Problem Database

Change Snow Products main Icon

 

REPORTS

Show install path in reports
Additional Columns for report Applications per computer
License ID Field Needed in All Licenses Report
Add "Installed" to "Applications per computer" report

Color uninstalled applications in report same as on Desktop
Add the period to the report "All licenses"

Enhanced Reporting Feature Request for Applications by Computer Report (Historic Metering)

Add hypervisor detection to report "Computers that are not inventoried"

Report Showing All Computers Per User

Add Processors & Total cores to the column selector in All Computers report

Add the ability to add (custom) fields to the compliance summary report

 

SCRIPTS

List of available detection scripts

Publish release details for detection scripts


LICENSES and COMPLIANCE

Version and Edition Index in Licence compliance per organisation

Add Custom Compare Value name in license compliancy summary

Import functionality for Oracle Orders and Agreements
Add Processors & Total cores to the column selector in All Computers report

 

CONNECTORS and 3RD PARTY APPLICATIONS

Add custom fields to Oracle orders

PowerVM connector for AIX LPAR info

Improve connector access to AWS by using Cross Account Access Roles

Adobe Creative Cloud Connection into SLM

 

and many more!

NOTE: To be sure to look at the most up to date list, please go to the Ideas Board main page, click on "See all Ideas", then select "In development" from the drop-down list.

 

The intention of this blog is to prepare you for a smooth Snow License Manager 9 Upgrade, with some useful hints to raise the awareness and the knowledge about the process.

Please note that we strongly recommend to run the upgrade guided by either professional services or a qualified Snow partner. Please contact your account manager or your local Snow partner for further information and assistance. If you are unsure who your account manager is, please submit a ticket to support.

Please be advised that any resulting issues during the upgrade from uncertified resources is not covered by the Support Agreement and therefore needs to be remedied by Snow Professional Services or certified Snow Partners.

 

  1. Prerequisites

    1. License Key

      To get your Snow License Manager 9 Key, please contact your account manager or your local Snow partner. In some cases you may contact the Backoffice directly.

      Please be aware that the company (organization) name should not exceed 35 characters as described in KB0017826.

    2. System Requirements

      Verify that the servers meet the system requirements for this product. System requirements and
      information on dependencies on other Snow products are gathered in the document System
      Requirements for all Snow products, which is available for download on this Knowledge Base Article.
    3. Software preparations

      Use Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard or later (recommended version 11.0.7469.6 - SP4).

      Use Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or later.

      Install ASP.NET 4.5 with all features enabled as a role on your server.

      Install .NET Framework 4.7.2 or later on your Snow License Manager application server.

      Have Snow Inventory version 6.0.3 which is the minimum database version supported by SLM 9.0.0.

      If you are using the IIS (Internet Information Services) to host other web applications, make
      sure you have a web hostname or a specific port assigned to the Snow License Manager
      website.

      SQL Server Database compatibility level: The minimum version is 100 (corresponding to SQL Server 2012). This setting is configured per database in SQL Server and must be manually checked if the database has been migrated from SQL Server 2008.
  2. Readiness Upgrade Checks

    1. Checking minimum DB Size and Growing Policy

      By default, our setup packages create the databases not specifying a minimum size or a growing policy. The growing policy impacts performance because Microsoft keeps 1MB as default. Please, add the following content to check these settings:

       

      SLM Data File: Growing 4096MB, (Recommended maximum: Unlimited)
      SLM Log File: Initial size 4096, Growing 1024MB, (Recommended maximum: Unlimited)

      Please, respect the values for Log file. SQL Server creates something called “virtual disks” in that file. The formula applied by mixing 4096MB + 1024MB keeps those virtual files in a reasonable number (300-600 hundreds) for large DBs what improves performance. The partner will need to shrink log files using the SQL Server Management Studio tool to reduce any existing Log file to 4096 if the current size is higher.

      The growing policy is one of the most common problems while talking about performance in our customer base.
    2. Administrative accounts for in-scope Snow application server and SQL server

      Please verify that the used accounts do have enough permissions; Ensure the SQL user account with database  does have administration privileges (sa or equivalent account with sysadmin rights).

      Verify that the LicenseManagerUser SQL account belongs to the db_ower role in SnowLicenseManager and SnowInventory databases. This account is used to perform the upgrade process.

      This role could be lost due to security restrictions, after a migration from SQL Server 2008 or while recovering a database in a Test Environment.

      LicenseManagerUser should also have SQLAgentOperatorRole, SQLAgentReaderRole and SQLAgentUserRole.

      This is default applied settings when upgrading to SLM8.

       

      SQL version, If SQL 2016 by default, Microsoft does not apply optimized code unless and Administrator allows that. Please, check that:

      Database (SnowInventory and SnowLicenseManager) > Properties > Options > Query Optimized Fixes = 0N
    3. Additional Information for Inventory Sources in the SMACC settings
      All Inventory databases configured in SMACC with "Enable data update job" to active must be on Inventory 6.0.3.
      The data update job in SLM 9 requires that no configured Sites in any Inventory Source in any CID for the same Inventory database overlap. Example of an overlap:

      Inventory Source 1, site: Company%
      Inventory Source 2, site: CompanyUK

      Snow Management and Configuration Center checks for Site overlap when adding a new Inventory Source but existing overlaps must be fixed before upgrading to SLM 9.0.0.

    4. Backup

      Verify in scope backup/restore procedures for SQL DB's and application server(s) request full backups to be completed in line with the planned upgrade.

      Microsoft SQL Server
      Full backup of SnowInventory and SnowLicenseManager database

      Also request full application settings backups of the following locations on the SLM8 server:

      Snow License Manager Compliance Settings
      ..\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Services\Licensing\SnowSoftware.LicenseManager.Licensing.Service.exe

       

      Event Store
      ..\SnowSoftware\LicenseManager\EventStore\*.*

       

      Import Settings
      ..\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Services\ImportTool\DataImport\Import\*.*

    5. Calculating space requirements

      Snow Inventory Server
      The database will grow a 20% and must have enough space in the transaction log before starting the upgrade. Use the following formula to estimate its size (temporarily, it can be reverted to the original size after upgrade):

      (Total SnowInventory DB size) * 0.5 +
      (SnowInventory.inv.DataMetering size + SnowInventory.inv.DataMeteringConcurrency size) * 2.85

      Snow License Manager
      Total size of the SLM database will grow up to 30-40% after upgrade and first initial DUJ run.

    6. Checking custom procedures and reports

      Several database changes may or will impact custom procedures and reports. All existing customizations must be analyzed to check compatibility by professional services.

      How to identify existing custom procedures:
      USE SnowLicenseManager
      select * from tblSystemCustomProcedures

      How to identify existing custom reports:
      USE SnowLicenseManager
      select * from tblReport where IsCustomReport = 1
    7. Checking the current logs to identify any existing errors

      In order to facilitate troubleshooting if an error appears after the upgrade, all existing logs should be checked looking for any existing issue before upgrading the products

       

      Snow Inventory Server Checks:

      %PROGRAMDATA%\SnowSoftware\Inventory\Server\*.log

       

      Snow License Manager Server Checks:

      %PROGAMFILES%\Snow Software\Logs

       

      %PROGAMFILES%\Snow Software\Snow License Manager\Web\Logs

       

      %PROGAMFILES%\ Snow Software\Snow LicenseManager\Services\ImportTool\DataImport\ErrorRows

       

      Snow License Manager Database Server:
      USE SnowLicenseManager
      select * from tblErrorLog order by LogDate desc


  3. New features which have been implemented with SLM 9

    – Tracking of licensing model changes

    – Manual exclude computers during the Compliance calculation

    – Hypervisor Technology and high availability of datacenter and cluster

    – Reports for cost estimation of Microsoft Windows Server

    – Inkremental Data Update Job (DUJ 2.0) – Performance optimization

    – Direct access to the UserGuides

    – Discovery of Google Cloud Computer Engine

    – Different Oracle optimisations (needs the latest version of the Snow Inventory Oracle Scanner)
    Processing of Oracle Datenbase Data
    License determination of Oracle Databases
    Detailed lifetime support information about Oracle Datenbases
    Oracle WebLogic Server investigation and inventory
    Tracking of Oracle Database inventory



    When you have upgraded to Snow License Manager 9, be aware that the first run of Data Update
    Job will take a considerable amount of time to run; subsequent runs of Data Update Job will take
    considerably less time.

    We recommend to always use the latest version of Snow License Manager in order to stay updated
    with the latest features and corrections. Please read the Release Notes for details.

  4. FAQ

Are Snow Inventory Clients (3.x) compatible with Snow License Manager 9?

Yes, however it is highly recommended to update them to the latest version of the Snow Inventory Agents 6 as there have been lots of improvements.

Note that the macOS 6.x Agents requires Inventory Server 6.0.0 or higher.

If you want to check which Agents are compatible with which OS checkout this blog:

Using earlier Snow Inventory agents to scan older operating systems

 

Can I upgrade to Snow Inventory 6 and continue running Snow License Manager 8?

Yes, INV 6 and SLM 8 are compatible. However, this compatibility is by design, as Inventory 6 is a prerequisite for SLM 9. We do not recommend this configuration to persist longer than it takes the customer to carry out the SLM 8/9 upgrade. 

Can I run Snow License Manager 9 with Snow Inventory 5?

No, SLM 9 and INV 5 are not compatible.

Can I upgrade from Inventory 3 to Inventory 6 directly?

Yes. We recommend doing this for users who plan to update to SLM 9.

Why are we rolling out INV6 & SLM9 in two phases?

The 6/9 update involves changes to the Snow Inventory and Snow License Manager databases, with new tables, and new structures for data processing.

 

This blog may be continuously updated.

[Updated on 12/04/2019]


As you may know, in our Knowledge Base we collect all the most up to date documents and guides about our software. You can filter the data by topic or by category and even order for the "last update" field, but why not having here a quick list of the most up to date documents about SLM 9.0.x? 

 

So, here they are:

 

      User Guide for Snow Management and Configuration Center for the administration of License Manager.

      US English version of the User Guide: Web User Interface Snow License Manager version 9. 

 

 

      This Technical Description describes how the Snow License Manager web user interface allows users to sign in       while Data Update Job runs and what areas are made unavailable when which stored procedures are executed.

 

 

 

I hope you find them helpful. In case you need more information about our SnowGlobe Community, our tools, forums and trainings, please check this link: Welcome to Snow – Where to start and things to know 

 Note: in each KB Article page, you can click on the "Subscribe" button (on the top right), to get a notification every time the User Guide is updated.