This document is designed to assist in the overall assessment of an inventory problem to narrow down the points in the process to troubleshoot. We will explore the expected configuration, settings, or behavior at particular points in the inventory process. Solutions involving configuration, settings, point fixes, service packs, maintenance packs, upgrades, or workarounds will be easier to find once the specific area of failure is known.
Symantec Management Platform and Inventory Solution 8.1 and 8.5
Some or all hardware and/or software information is missing or out-of-date on some or all target machines. There are various, sometimes compounding reasons that may cause this situation. This document outlines areas in the system that need to be in place, and provides troubleshooting guidelines to isolate the root cause(s), enabling identification of the appropriate solution or work around.
On a percentage of managed systems, possibly all systems, some or all inventory data may be missing, incomplete, or out-of-date. This can be seen in several places:
- When in the Activity Center under Manage > Computers, selecting a computer and reviewing the functional areas in the right pane
- Right clicking the computer and selecting Resource Manager, then clicking View > Inventory, certain software or hardware data classes may be missing or incomplete from the middle pane folder tree under Data Classes > Inventory
- Typically hardware items missing include Baseboard, Chassis, Computer System, Processor, Physical Memory, Physical Memory Array, Physical Memory Location, etc.
- The hardware folder may not exist at all – meaning there is no hardware inventory data available from an initial full inventory
- The time of the information is listed in the status tab may be stale or invalid
- Individual software, suites, or components may be missing from expected locations or reports
- Manage > Software
- Software Catalog
- Manage > Computers
- Audit scan or Installed Software reports
- Computer Resource Manage > Summaries > Software Summary
- Similarly, various built-in and custom reports, including Asset related reports may be missing data
Isolation of the Cause
To isolate the cause, we first consider the inventory process. The main functional areas of this process, all of which could contribute to the issue include:
1. Agent and Plug-in Rollout – the Symantec Management Agent (SMA) and Inventory Solution plug-in must be installed on client machines and must be the correct version. In the console, verify the installation and upgrade policies are turned on and targeting machines as appropriate.
a. To review the SMA and Inventory Solution plug-in installation and upgrade policies, in the console navigate to Settings > Agent / Plug-ins > All Agent / Plug-ins. In the left pane, navigate to the appropriate folder and review the policies.
b. Verify that the policies are enabled, that the applied to section is targeting all machines you need inventory from, and that they are scheduled.
i. Note that if the Run Once ASAP option is selected with no schedule, it will only attempt to install/upgrade once. With a schedule, check that the schedule includes a repeat to ensure the success of the install/upgrade.
c. In the schedule section, click the advanced button and verify that the settings are not interfering with the install/upgrade.
2. Inventory Policies – the policies are instructions for the clients, telling them what to inventory, when to run the inventory, and under what conditions to run the policy. A full inventory must be run at least once on a machine before delta inventories, which report changes only, will work as designed. They must target the desired machines. The policies must be enabled to function. By default, the inventory policies target all machines with the Inventory Plug-in installed. Primary settings to look at include:
a. Types of inventory to gather – Hardware, Operating System, and File Properties. Note that for finding individual files, types of files, and software executable not scanned by software inventory require the file properties option.
b. Under Advanced, Data classes tab, the Hardware is set to all by default. If the box is empty or has a green dot instead of a green check mark, expand it and look for the missing data classes and check them, or check the top level Hardware box to change it to a check mark, which indicates all hardware data classes will be collected.
c. Also under Advanced, check the Run Options tab. For a full inventory, Send inventory changes (deltas) only must not be checked. Below, the Run Inventory as is set to System account by default; whatever the selection, ensure those credentials have the needed rights on the client to run the inventory.
d. Throttling - also under the Run Options tab. If a throttling period is not specified the NS EvtQueue folder and network can be overwhelmed by all the inventory NSE files being sent from the clients at the same time. If a throttling period extends after users typically shut down computers and go home, than many inventory tasks will fail because they missed their random start time within the throttling period.
e. Custom Schedule – if using, click the custom schedule link, go to Advanced, and review the Only perform check if section. These options can limit when and if an inventory is performed by the client, and we have seen this cause missing hardware from some machines. By default none of these options are selected.
f. Applies To/Compliance – ensure that the affected computers are included in the target by selecting the target line, clicking the pencil icon, and clicking update results.
i. A searchable way to determine this is to navigate to Manage > Filters, and on the left pane navigating to Filters > Software Filters > Agent and Plug-in Filters, and selecting the Computers with Inventory Plug-in filter. The filter membership area includes a search text box.
3. The client – the client receives the inventory policy, performs the inventory scans at the scheduled time or window, and returns one or more Notification Server Event (NSE) files containing inventory data with XML code to the NS.
a. In the agent user interface (UI), under the task status tab, click Task History and verify that a full inventory has run and if there are any errors.
b. In the agent UI, click settings, Maintenance Windows tab, and review if any maintenance windows are in effect that might interfere with the inventories
c. Also in the agent UI, under settings, Symantec Management Agent Settings tab, verify the SMA and Altiris Inventory Solution Agent installations and their versions
d. To verify the client has the inventory policy, navigate to C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Client Policies and review the policy XML document. Inside the file, search for the name of the inventory policy. This file is downloaded from the NS during configuration updates.
e. Also useful is the diagnostics mode available on the clients. To enable diagnostics on a client, open an administrator prompt and run "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\AeXAgentUtil.exe" /diags
- To take the client out of diagnostics mode, run the command, "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\AeXAgentUtil.exe" /nodiags
f. NSEs may be captured (see below) from a machine missing inventory information.
i. If information is found in the NSE but it is incorrect, this is usually a problem relating to the operating system or related components
ii. Hardware inventory is collected from the host operating system through the Windows Management Interface (WMI), Data may be returned as incorrect or blank, and it may require seeking solutions outside of Symantec channels.
1. To check Windows based machines ability to report accurate data, one method is to use wmic commands at a command prompt, such as
WMIC baseboard list /format
iii. Software inventory is collected by scanning the registry in windows machines, RPM in linux, and directory scans in Macs
g. Evaluate the agent logs, looking for any errors or warnings relating to inventories. Further information can be seen by configuring verbose/trace logging.
4. The NS – the NS processes the NSE file and sends the inventory data to the CMDB for storage. Failures here could be due to errors within the NSE file, Event Queue processing issues, or problems with licenses (see section 5 for licensing issues).
5. Licensing – there must be a valid license associated with a machine before the Notification Server (NS) will process inventory data – the inventory will execute, the client will send the data to the NS, and the NS will process the data, but data is discarded and not written to the CMDB.
a. Common issues include having more managed computers with the inventory plug-in than there are valid licenses, This could be caused by expired licenses, insufficient licenses due to growth of the environment, or invalid computers still in a managed status that are holding a license.
b. To check the licensing status, start the Symantec Installation Manager (SIM), and in the list of installed products, scroll down to Altiris Inventory Solution and view the licenses column for number in use (left value) as compared to the number of valid licenses (right value).
6. The SMP Console – the console pulls data from the CMDB for viewing, configuring, and editing, etc. Issues to look for here include security permissions of the logged-on user, Silverlight and/or Java problems, and Activity Center issues.
7. The Network, Internet Information Services (IIS), and other Environment Components - the client, notification server, and task servers must be able to communicate.