Snow Inventory Agent for Windows - Best Practices

Document created by Kadir.kirca Employee on Sep 6, 2019Last modified by Kadir.kirca Employee on Sep 30, 2019
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This document describes the best practices of the Snow Inventory Agent for Windows.

 

Snow Agent for Windows (SIAW) Requirements & Best Practices

 

Snow Inventory Agent for Windows

 

Agent Requirements

 

Installation Default

Requirements

Desktop / Laptop OS

Microsoft Windows 7 and above / 64 and 32 bit

Servers OS

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and above / 64 and 32 bit

MSI Package Size

32bit MSI 4.5 Megabytes - 64bit MSI, Size 5.1 MB

Memory (background process)

Snow Inventory Agent – snowagent.exe, Memory 12 MB

System Impact

Averages

Scan Time

Average 09:00-10:30 AM (configurable) | Based on defined schedule time or on system boot when missed

Randomizer available (60-120 minutes)

Scan Time Length

5-30 Seconds Daily

Scan Processing

.02-.05% CPU Utilization

Scan Package Size

50k – 200k SnowPack files (based on applications and users/usage on the machine)

User Notification

No System Tray pop-ups or user interaction. Background process.

 

Important notes:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Nano Server feature is not supported
  • Embedded and IOT Core versions are not supported
  • NT versions are not supported
  • For virtual platforms, scanning only. The agent cannot be virtually installed.
  • At least PowerShell v3.0 should be installed on the machines
  • For Oracle scanning, make sure to not use Java version 1.7.0_7
  • Itanium based systems are not supported
  • For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Supported by Inventory agent versions 5.0.0 to 5.2.4 only.
  • Snow Agent for Windows 5.x only supports Google Chrome plugin for Cloud application metering. From Snow Agent for Windows 6.x, IE11 and Mozilla Firefox support has been introduced.

 

Best Practices:

  • To be able to communicate with the Service Gateway server or Master Server, the TLS version 1.2 should be enabled on the Agent side. In some cases, on Windows 7 machines TLS 1.2 is not enabled and the machines are forcibly making use of TLS version 1.0. If TLS version 1.0 is not enabled on either the Service Gateway server or Master server, it won’t be able to establish a connection.
  • In cases where the Snow Agent consumes higher resources than usual like given above information, any conflict with an Anti-Virus application can be sorted out. To avoid the Anti-Virus conflicting with the Agent or the other way around it’s recommended to exclude the Snow Agent from the Anti-Virus AND/OR exclude the Anti-Virus from the Snow Agent scans. These can both have positive results since both agents/scanners can trigger each other to scan on the folders and generate resource issues on the machine.
  • In some cases, the Snow Agent stops unexpectedly without a very clear reason. This can be due to an Anti-Virus conflict, Security policies, reboot of the machine and startup process which was bothered etc. To avoid the service, remain in a stopped state, a recovery plan can be set up in the services settings. This can be setup individually or by editing group policy for a set of machines. Please keep in mind that this should be sorted out first. If no specific logging or clear reason is found, this alternative can be applied.
  • In some cases, the cpuidsdk64 can cause the Snow Agent to conflict while scanning. CPUID is a third-party product that Snow makes use of to get data about the Processor of the scanned computer. If enabling this causes a conflict during the scan, it’s possible to disable this part of the scan by adding below lines into the Snow Agent configuration:

<Setting key="hardware.scan.enable_cpuid" value="false" />

  • In some environments the default WMI poll interval can cause performance issues. This is depending on the environment setup and resources assigned to it. There is a possibility to extend the intervals to minimize the resource load on the client devices:

The setting to change the interval is as follows: <Setting key="wmi.poll_interval" value="15" />

The default is 15 seconds and can be changed to a higher value. Changing this setting is mostly considered in VDI environments that are heavily scaled on the physical server capacity.

  • When big data locations are present on the scanned computer it could also lead to high consumption of the processor/memory resources on the machine. To avoid this beforehand the following setting can be used:

<Setting key="software.scan.add_latency" value="5000" />

This is defined in microseconds. This might also be a good solution when scanning exceptionally fast drives, to keep the CPU usage down

  • Only if HTTPS is used: If the Snow Agent is not able to send the SnowPack file to the Service Gateway or Master Server due to certificate issues which cannot be solved, the following configuration parameter can be used to allow the Snow Agent to send the SnowPack file without verifying the certificate:

<Setting key="http.ssl_verify" value="false" />

If false, the agent will not verify that any certificate used to secure communication is issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA). This setting is enabled by default and must be explicitly disabled if necessary. This is mostly used to identify the issue is related to the certificate.

  • In case the PowerShell version of the scanned device isn’t compatible with the Agent version you’re running and there is no other way to solve this, the following scripts can be removed from the agent directory (C:\Program Files\Snow Software\Inventory\Agent) to be able to scan the device without PowerShell being used:
    • scan-autodesk.snow-ps1
    • scan-msinfo.snow-ps1
    • scan-swid.snow-ps1
    • scan-toad.snow-ps1
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