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Snow Inventory

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Released on 6 November 2019

Release information
Product:Snow Inventory Server
New version: 6.2.1
Release date: 06 November 2019
Distribution:SUS package
Current status:Released

 

Updated technical documentation

 

 The updated technical documents in this release are: 

Enhancements in Snow Inventory Server 6.2.1:

  • Security Improvements against Denial‐of‐Service Attacks
  • Amazon Linux and Amazon Linux AMI Support
  • Performance Improvement at Data Update Job

If you ever were in the case that you would need to export your machines i.e. for your test environment or because you want to run a test which archives your machines or simply reinstall SLM and only want to import your machines - then you might want to follow this guide. Of course you can use this method as backup for your machines (although you might want to backup the database as well).

 

Doing so is pretty easy:

 

  1. Connect to your Inventory Server and run snowserverconfig.exe which is located under C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Inventory\Server\
  2. Click on the bottom "Click here for additional options..."
  3. Now continue by clicking on Export devices:
  4. In the next step, the tool will ask you the credentials to connect to the SnowInventory database. Usually this is already filled up with the correct information - if not, make sure you enter a user, which does have enough permissions to access the SnowInventory database:
  5. In the next step, you can choose the destination of the exported inventory files. You can also limit the historical data. Note that the higher the amount of days, the bigger the files will be and the longer the export will take.
  6. Click on Export and that's it! You will have your inventory files exported.

 

The size of the files will vary between 2 - 500KB (depending of the historical date set). The snowpacks will all be crypted but can be decrypted by Support or any technical staff at Snow.

 

If you want to check or fetch the snowpack of a specified machine, the easiest way would be to run the scan command directly on the machine via elevated CMD:

The command "sc control SnowInventoryAgent5 128" will run the scan directly via service - don't be bugged by the 5 in the service name, this command is also valid for Inventory Agents 6 on Windows.

An alternative would be to start the CMD, browse to C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent and run the command "snowagent scan". Note that in this case, the Scan will be executed as the user who runs the CMD.

 

To scan Linux/AIX or Unix Machines, browse to /opt/snow/ and run "sudo snowagent -scan".

To scan on MAC OS machines run "sudo /opt/snow/snowagent scan"

 

If you want to import your exported inventory files i.e. in your test system, you want to copy all the snowpack files to the incoming folder of the Snow Inventory which is typically located under C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Snow Inventory\Server\Incoming\data\processing.

What is an Inventory Report?

Inventory Reports are reflecting the raw data we gather in the first database Snow Inventory. The data is untouched directly from the inventory files either by Snow Agents or other Inventory sources.

In it, we can i.e. see all executables and registry keys which have been scanned on the machines.

 

The use of Snow Inventory Reports

With an Inventory Report, especially the Data Intelligence Service (DIS) Team can compare the global recognition with the data provided. This helps to confirm whether or not it is enough to trigger the recognition of an application or if the rules need to be updated.

There are several different situations where an Inventory Report can come in hand for the DIS Team, for example:

  • Whenever an application is being misidentified
  • When Snow is not picking up metering data
  • When software has been re-packed or run virtually resulting in not being recognized properly
  • When documentation in terms of bundle components is not available

 

How to create an Inventory Report using Snow Inventory 5.x and upper versions

  1. Connect to your Snow Inventory Server and start the Snow Management and Configuration Center.
  2. Expand Snow Inventory and click on Devices in the left menu.
  3. Now you want to click on Add view in the top toolbar:
  4. In the first step you can name your view i.e. InventoryReport_Applicationname and click on next
  5. In the next window, we want to add the columns the DIS Team requires (also known as "the big five" of SRS). Expand the appropriate columns, select the ones you need and add them to the right window by clicking on the arrow. The columns to be added are:

    1. Device \ Computer name
    2. Software \ Software name
    3. Software \ Sw Manufacturer
    4. Software \ Software version
    5. Software \ SW path name

    After you've added the columns, you can click on Next.

6. Now that we want to see the result of a certain machine we need to filter the results to a computer name, else the
    report will take a long time to load.
    In the next step, you can click on the dropdown menu and select Device \ Computer name and add the name of
    the machine in the field below:

     In my example i want to run the report against the machine called SALESDEMO. Now Save your view and you should      now see the report filled with the raw data of your machine:

      You can retrieve your view by clicking on the dropdown menu right beneath Devices.

7. To export your results, you can click on Export on the toolbar and save it as .xls or .xlsx format

Released on September 25, 2019

Release information

Product:                       Snow Inventory Server
New version:               6.2.0
Release date:              25 September 2019 onwards
General Availability:   09 October 2019
Distribution:                SUS package

Current status:           Released

Features in Snow Inventory Server 6.2.0:

  • It is now possible to store processed inventory and discovery data files. This allows to easily replicate the data to a test environment and to facilitate troubleshooting.

Enhancements in Snow Inventory Server 6.2.0:

  • Support for Web Application usage metering in Snow License Manager 9 has been implemented. To enable this functionality, Snow Licensed Manager 9.4.0 is required (PRB0042086).
  • PVU values for computers and application installations reported using Integration Manager connectors are now stored independently from the data reported via different sources like the Snow Inventory Agent.

Corrections in Snow Inventory Server 6.2.0:

  • Software lacking the Name field in their metadata can now be recognized correctly (PRB0042523).
  • In some scenarios, the Data Update Job would fail with an error like "The maximum system-generated unique value for a duplicate group was exceeded...". This has been corrected (PRB0042546).
  • Invalid BIOS release dates are now handled and will not cause errors in the execution of the Data Update Job (PRB0042550).
  • Oracle Database version 18c is now recognized correctly. To allow for the correct handling of Oracle Database 18c, Snow License Manager 9.4.0 is required (PRB0042520).
  • Invalid data regarding registry keys are now handled and will not cause errors in the execution of the Data Update Job (PRB0042538).

Released on September 25, 2019

Release information

Product:                 Snow Inventory Agent for Linux
New version:          6.2.0
Build No:                39
Release date:         25 September 2019
Distribution:           SUS package

Current status:      Released

Feature in Snow Inventory Agent 6.2.0 for Linux:

  • Option to disable all updates

Corrections in Snow Inventory Agent 6.2.0 for Linux:

  • The agent now correctly parses the output of the dmidecode command version 3.2 and newer and retrieves manufacturer and model (PRB0042519).
  • The agent now removes empty snowpack files to prevent issues with some external proxy configuration (PRB0042533).

Released on September 25, 2019

Release information

Product:                 Snow Inventory Agent for Unix
New version:          6.2.0
Build No:                256
Release date:         25 September 2019
Distribution:           SUS package

Current status:      Released

Feature in Snow Inventory Agent 6.2.0 for Unix:

  • Option to disable all updates: It is now possible to configure the Agent to never retrieve updates from its configured endpoint(s).  

Released on September 25, 2019

Release information

Product:                 Snow Inventory Agent for macOS
New version:          6.3.0
Build No:                1865
Release date:         25 September 2019
Distribution:           SUS package

Current status:      Released

Feature in Snow Inventory Agent 6.3.0 for macOS:

  • Option to disable all updates:  It is now possible to configure the Agent to never retrieve updates from its configured endpoint(s). 

Corrections in Snow Inventory Agent 6.3.0 for macOS:

  • The agent now reports the client’s system enclosure type correctly on non-portable macOS systems (PRB0042505).
  • The agent now removes empty snowpack files to prevent issues with some external proxy configuration (PRB0042532)

SIAW 6.3.0

Released on September 25, 2019

Release information

Product:                 Snow Inventory Agent for Windows
New version:          6.3.0
Build No:                148
Release date:         25 September 2019
Distribution:           SUS package

Current status:      Released

 

Feature in Snow Inventory Agent 6.3.0 for Windows:

  • Option to disable all updates

Corrections in Snow Inventory Agent 6.3.0 for Windows:

  • The external library cpuidsdk(64).dll is no longer extracted in the agent folder when the SystemSetting "hardware.scan.enable_cpuid" is set to "false" (PRB0042476).
  • In some scenarios temporary files were left on the client after a scan involving virtualized applications. This is no longer the case (PRB0042482).
  • The agent now removes empty snowpack files to prevent issues with some external proxy configuration (PRB0042490).

To be released on 29th August 2019.

Release information

Product:                Snow Inventory Server
New version:         6.1.0
Release date:        29th August 2019
Distribution:          SUS package

Current status:      QA Approved

Feature in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0

The following features have been implemented in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0: 

Hostname normalization It is now possible to configure Snow Inventory Server to alter the incoming data and use short hostnames (i.e. the hostnames cut at the first dot) for all purposes. It is also possible to use regular expressions to process the hostname. This feature can be applied to a partition of the computer estate, or to the entire environment. This feature is not enabled by the default configuration and requires explicit configuration to activate. 

Refer to the Snow Inventory Server User Guide, section 8.8, to configure this feature (PRB0042321).

Enhancements in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0

The following enhancements have been implemented in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0: 

Hostname-only applies to all data sources

The Hostname-only identity mode will now apply to data coming from the Snow Integration Manager as well as from Clients and Agents according to the configuration. 

Support for operating-system name in the agent manifest

Snow Inventory Server now supports the operating-system name included in the manifest sent by the agent to correctly generate identity when Hostname-only mode is configured; this requires Snow Inventory Agent for Windows 6.2.0, for Linux 6.1.0, for Mac 6.1.0, for Unix 6.1.0 or later. 

Extended support for SWID Tag XML schemas

Snow Inventory Server can now successfully parse and recognize a wider range of SWID Tag files structured according to different schemas (notably, many SWID Tags for IBM products). 

Corrections in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0

The following corrections have been implemented in Snow Inventory Server 6.1.0:

  • Snow Inventory Server now processes incoming data correctly when the FileExtensionWhiteList or the FileExtensionBlackList settings are used in the FileProcessorModule configuration (PRB0042209).
  • The IP ranges for network discovery are now validated for consistency during configuration and before running the discovery task (PRB0042498).
  • Sort order for dates in Inventory Admin Console has been corrected (PRB0042369).
  • The Inventory Admin Console now correctly displays UTC dates and times for tasks and events (PRB0042369).
  • The Inventory Admin Console now correctly prevents defining more than one weekly task in the agent configuration, to ensure that the resulting configuration file is valid (PRB0042048).

Released on 31st July 2019

Release information

Product:                Snow Inventory Oracle Scanner
New version:         6.0.2
Build No:               189
Release date:         31st July 2019
Distribution:          SUS package

Current status:      Released
Corrections in Snow Inventory Oracle Scanner 6.0.2
  • An issue with detecting the ORACLE_HOME variable when running on the Windows operating system has been corrected (PRB0042118).
  • Oracle Scanner now correctly executes in a context where the user name contains non-ASCII characters, including localized names for the Local System account in Windows (PRB0042388).
  • Improved the detection for the options Spatial and Graph, Active Data Guard, Real Application Cluster, and Real Application Cluster One Node (PRB0042087).
ester.memoli

Agents v.6 User Guides

Posted by ester.memoli Employee Jul 19, 2019

As our R&D department always keeps Snow software up to date, our Technical Writers team works to always keep the related documentation up to date too, to reflect the most recent changes.
That's why I suggest to bookmark the KB articles to be sure to get the most recent version of a User Guide, rather than just downloading the version 1.0. Also, 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.

We've released the User Guides for our Snow Agents version 6.
You can find the permalinks below:

 

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent 6.x for Windows

This guide describes the configuration of the Snow Inventory Agent for Windows

 

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent 6 for Linux

User guides for versions 6.x of the Snow Inventory Agent for Linux.

 

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent 6 for macOS

User guides for versions 6.x of the Snow Inventory Agent for macOS.

 

User Guide: Snow Inventory Agent for Unix 6.0.0

This document describes how to install and run the Snow Inventory Agent for Unix.

 

Technical Reference: Configuration document for all Inventory agents

Detailed configuration description for all Inventory agents. Additional document to the Configuration Guide for all agents.

 

User Guide: Configuration for Snow Inventory Agents version 6

This guide describes the configuration of the Snow Inventory Agents for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix.

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 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

Released on July 17, 2019

Release information

Product:                  Snow Inventory Server
New version:          6.0.7
Release date:         July 17, 2019
Distribution:           SUS package
Current status:      Released

Enhancements in Snow Inventory Server 6.0.7

  • The default configuration for the garbage collector module has been adjusted to more effectively handle larger installations.
  • Support to configure Snow Inventory Agent to enable Public Key Pinning.
  • Support to configure Snow Inventory Agent with the recently introduced SystemSettings

 

Corrections in Snow Inventory Server 6.0.7

 

  • Data from Active Directory User Discovery is now removed according to the configuration of the DiscoveryCleanupModule (PRB0042312).
  • Virtual application packages that were reported multiple times are now handled correctly and will not cause errors in the execution of the Data Update Job (PRB0042376).
  • Virtual machines (VMs) running on Red Hat Linux environments or on oVirt environments are now correctly recognized as such (PRB0042225).
  • The names for virtual machines reported by their host is now stored as reported, and not truncated at the first period '.' (PRB0042145).
  • The "Error encountered" message no longer displays when configuring additional options in Snow Inventory Server Configuration Manager (PRB0042399).