How to Meter Complex Software Such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Suite Applications

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Article ID: 178865

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There are two methods for configuring Application Metering policies: 1) defining criteria for specific files to be metered or 2) selecting software releases/products to be metered. The second option is desirable in that the metering data becomes associated to software products as software usage data that can be used for identifying computers that are wasting software licenses, etc. Unfortunately some software products (Adobe and Microsoft suites) can have associations to hundreds of files due to their complexity and this can make their application metering data bloated and meaningless. It is not possible to manually modify the file associations on the software releases because the NS.Nightly task automatically re-associates all the files and software releases generated by software inventory.

The easiest solution when metering complex software is to use the first method and meter specific files rather than software. However if software usage data is required then the NS.Nightly issue can be avoided by manually creating software products, software releases, and file associations rather than using those generated by software inventory. The following steps demonstrate this process.

1. Create a Software Release

  • Note: A software release is simply a record in the database that the Application Metering data will be associated to. It is necessary to manually create a software release rather than use an existing software release generated by software inventory.
  • In the Altiris Console go to Manage>Software Catalog.
  • Create a new software release by clicking the + Add button beneath Newly discovered/undefined software.
  • Name the software, provide a version, and select a company.

2. Create a Detection Rule for the Software Release

  • Note: A detection rule defines criteria for what files will be metered and associated to the software release.
  • Go to the Rules tab of the software release.
  • On the Detection Rule line click * New.
  • Click the blue + button then select Standard Rule>File Version.
  • Define the file path and version for the software of interest, then click OK.
  • Note: see TECH208983 for a detailed example of how to set up a good detection rule.
  • Name the detection rule appropriately and click OK.
  • Note: detection rules rarely work as desired on the first attempt and will probably need to be corrected later.
  • Click OK to save the newly defined software release.

3. Create a Targeted Software Inventory Policy

  • Note: A targeted software inventory (TSI) policy uses the detection rule to determine which computers have the defined software release installed. It is necessary to associate computers with the software release before later steps can be performed.
  • In the Software Catalog window find the software release that was just created under Newly discovered/undefined software and select it.
  • Right-click on the software release and select Actions>Create Targeted Software Inventory.
  • In the wizard that opens give the TSI policy an appropriate name and schedule.
  • Enable the TSI policy by changing the red Off button to On.
  • Click Save changes to close and save the TSI policy.
  • Note: the TSI policy can be found later under Manage>Policies>Discovery and Inventory>Targeted Software Inventory.

4. Create a Software Product

  • Note: A software product is simply an organizational container for similar software releases. It is necessary to create a software product because application metering cannot be enabled with only a software release.
  • In the Software Catalog window find the Software Release that was just created under Newly discovered/undefined software and select it.
  • Move the software release to the Managed Software Products pane by pushing the > button.
  • Note: the Identify inventory tab will display the software release and the number of computers it is installed on after the TSI policy has ran on its schedule.

5. Associate Program Files to the Software Product

  • Note: this process is normally done automatically by software inventory, however this article assumes that the software of interest is too complex to trust the associations created by software inventory.
  • Go to the Meter / track usage tab of the software product.
  • On the line with the software release click Add Program.
  • In the Add Program window enable Show all program files.
  • Use the search bar to filter results and then identify all the files with appropriate versions that should be metered and associated to the software release and product.
  • Select and move the appropriate files to the Associated programs: pane using the > button.
  • Click OK to return to the software product.

6. Enable Application Metering on the Software Product

  • In the Meter / track usage tab enable Turn on metering /usage tracking of this software product.
  • Click OK to close the software product.
  • Note: this creates a hidden application metering policy called the Software-Based Usage Tracking Policy that cannot be viewed in the console.

7. View the Application Metering data

  • Note: Application Metering data is sent from clients once-a-day so it may take 24 hours for data to appear in the console.
  • The Application Metering (software usage) data can now be viewed in the Manage>Software page by finding and selecting the previously defined software product under the All Software Products folder or Installed Products folder.
  • The Application Metering data can also be viewed in the Underutilized Software report under Reports>All Reports>Software>Application Metering.