Discover computers with Resource Discovery page

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Article ID: 180698

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Updated On:

Products

Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server)

Issue/Introduction

 

Resolution

Question
What are the steps and options for discovering computers with the Resource Discovery Page?

Answer

Discover Computers

This page lets you discover computers on the network using a domain or workgroup search. It enables you to discover machines to which you can install the Altiris Agent (using a Push installation).

Note: Wherever a domain is mentioned in this section the same condition applies to workgroups. So, you can perform a domain and workgroup search. This also applies to adding or removing a domain from the search list.

The Resource Discovery page offers two methods of domain search: Domain Browse List and Domain Membership. The Domain Browse List uses the network browse list to discover computers belonging to a domain without affecting network traffic. The Domain Membership works by enumerating the computer accounts in specified domains.

For information on the types of domain search, see Domain Browse List and Domain Membership section below.

Note: The out-of-the-box Resource Discovery page on the Notification Server contains one tab: Domain. When other solutions are added more tabs may appear. The Resource Discovery tool described here refers only to the Domain tab.

Resource Discovery Toolbar

The active icons on the Resource Discovery toolbar are:

  • Add domain name to search list—Add the domain name you have entered in the text field to the search list.
  • Browse—Lets you browse and select from available domains.
  • Change credentials—Change access credentials for the selected domains.
  • Delete—Lets you remove selected domains from the search list.

To access this page

  1. In the Altiris Console, select the Configuration tab.
  2. In the left pane, navigate to Configuration > Server Settings > Discovery Methods.
  3. In the left pane, select Resource Discovery. Discover any computer listed under Windows Network Neighborhood.

Discovered resource data is stored in the Notification database. This database contains the following information on each discovered computer (the information in parenthesis indicates which domain search type yields what data):

  • Name (Domain Browse List and Domain Membership)
  • OS name (Domain Browse List and Domain Membership)
  • Main version (Domain Browse List)
  • Minor version (Domain Browse List)
  • Platform (Domain Browse List)

To use this page

  1. Add one or more domains to search.
  2. Change access credentials to the selected domain if required.
  3. Select Domain Browse List if required.
  4. Select Domain Membership if required (not suitable for workgroups).
  5. Click Discover Now (discovers for all, not only selected domains).
  6. Set up scheduling options, if desired. Select Enable Schedule so the schedule will work.
  7. Click Apply after entering all information.
  8. Click View discovery reports to open a new window with Notification Server discovery reports if required.
  9. View and select discovered resources in the Altiris Agent Installation page.

You can now push the Altiris Agent onto one or more of the discovered computers (see article 30721, "How to perform a Push or Pull Installation of the Altiris Agent?").

To remove a domain from the Domains list

  1. Select a domain from the Domains list.
  2. Click the Remove button.

Note: This does not delete discovered computers from the Select Computers list in the Altiris Agent Installation page.

Domain Browse List and Domain Membership

You can choose to discover all computers currently sharing files or printers running the Messenger service (Domain Browse List), and/or all computers that have trust accounts in the domain (Domain Membership).

The available discovery methods are Domain Browse List and Domain Membership. These settings are used for asynchronous (click Discover Now) and scheduled discovery. Select at least one method.

  • Domain Browse List—This option discovers all computers (including Windows 95, 98, 98 SE and ME computers) that are sharing files or printers or are running the Messenger service.
  • Domain Membership—This option discovers all computers with trust accounts in the domain. This finds all Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 computers in the domain. However, it will not find any Windows 95, 98, 98 SE and ME computers.

Note: This method is substantially slower than the Domain Browse List method and will not identify the computer’s operating system.

Domain Browse List

The Domain Browse List works by enumerating the records in the computer browse list. This computer browse list was designed for a small, peer-to-peer environment, so it does not scale to large environments well.

When the Notification Server performs a Domain Browse List discovery, it requests a copy of the computer browse list, which includes additional information such as the computer’s operating system and version. It then does a reverse lookup of the computer’s name to get its IP address.

You might have problems discovering computers using this method if:

  • The computer is not in the computer browse list.
  • The computer is in the computer browse list but not registered as sharing files.
  • It can take between 15 and 51 minutes for changes to be reflected in the computer browse list.

Note: The Domain Browse List discovery method gets as much of the computer browse list as it can as fast as it can. This can overload a PDC in a large domain or a multi-domain environment. We recommend you run this outside business hours, preferably over a weekend.

Domain Membership

This works by enumerating the computer accounts in the specified domains.

When you add a Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 computer to a domain, a computer account is created in that domain. This computer account is used by the computer to authenticate with the domain so the computer can authenticate user logons using a secure connection. Windows 9x computers do not create a computer account, which is why you cannot find Windows 9x computers using this method.

When discovering computers using the Domain Membership method, Notification Server catalogs these accounts. Unlike the Domain Browse List method, these accounts have no additional information beyond the computer’s name. Notification Server still does a reverse lookup on the name to get its IP address.

If problems occur using this discovery method, check that accounts exist for these computers using Server Manager (Windows NT 4.0) or Active Directory Users and Computers (Windows 2000 and later).

Both of these methods write errors to the Notification Server log file. If you ever have a problem regarding Resource Discovery, check these log files for information.

View Discovery Reports

Count of discovered/Altiris Agents by domain—The percent of discovered computers with the Altiris Agent installed. By default, this data is displayed for the last 7 days however parameters are available to both change this date range as well as filtering the domain.

Count of discovered/Altiris Agents by OS—The percent of discovered computers with the Altiris Agent installed. By default, this data is displayed for the last 7 days, however, parameters are available to both change this date range as well as filtering the operating system.

Discovered computers history—A chronological list of the number of new resources discovered, existing resource rediscovered (both changed and unchanged), and the time taken for each resource discovery over the specified time range (by default the last 7 days). This report can be filtered by specifying the date range that the discoveries took place. Each discovery run can then be drilled into to view the new resources that were discovered during that run.

Discovered computers not reporting inventory—This report can be filtered by limiting the number of computers to return, the date range that they were discovered, their domain and operating system.

Discovered computers sorted by date—The most recently discovered computers and computer with the Altiris Agent recently installed. You can specify the number of computers to report and the date range that they were discovered (by default the last 7 days). You can also filter the report using the computers domain or its operating system name.

Discovered computers summary—Displays the number of discovered computers, the percentage that have Altiris Agent installed, the number of Altiris Agents installed, the number of Altiris Agents that were installed through push install, and the number of Altiris Agents that were installed by other means. By default, this data is displayed for the last 7 days, however, parameters are available to change this as appropriate.

Discovered computers with Altiris Agent—How the Altiris Agent was installed. If the Altiris Agent was not push installed then the Push Date will be blank. The report can be filtered by specifying the number of computers to report, the discovery date range to report over (by default the last 7 days are reported), the specific domain in which the computers reside, or the name of the operating system that the discovered machines are running.

Discovered computers with no registered Altiris Agent—This report can be filtered by limiting the number of computers to return the date range that they were discovered, their domain and operating system.


Note: This information was obtained from the Notification Server Help Guide.