Part 5: IT documentation of licenses & software
The topic of the fifth part of the series is the documentation of software and licenses on client and server systems
and the use of a discovery software to automatically document used software.
Which licenses are used in my company? On which devices is which software run? Which operating systems run on my servers?
Recording the software used in a company is a rather time-consuming task. In such a case, central IT documentation such as i-doit is worth its weight in gold. In this fifth part of our series we will show you how to record the software used in your company in your IT documentation and document the associated licenses.
In the fourth part of our series (“Documentation of Clients”), our experts have created a target configuration for a client system. In this fifth part we show you how to install this system. The finished configuration is then transferred to your i-doit IT documentation using a discovery solution.
Another topic is the different software variants, how they are installed on server and client systems. In the server area we will show you how to manage operating systems and the corresponding patch levels in i-doit.
The documentation of server services and daemons or cluster services is also important. When does it make sense to transfer these into the CMDB and when not? This question is answered in the video.
At the end of this video you will see how to store your “Definitive Software Library” in i-doit. This repository, defined in ITIL4, contains not only the authorized versions of all software configuration elements and master copies of the respective software products, but also the associated documentation and license information.
Welcome to the video series “6 steps to IT documentation”. My name is Rachel Hutchinson and in the following videos I will guide you through the areas of software & licenses and services to demonstrate how i-doit can help you to fully document your IT infrastructure.
In the previous parts of the series we covered the topics infrastructure, networks, servers and client management.
We created two branches, equipped the first server cabinet with devices, documented the cabling and presented possibilities of visualization with the floorplan add-on. In the last part we covered how to document clients and the corresponding contracts including costs, reaction times and contact people. Today we will explore the topic in more depth, to show you how to implement software and license management with i-doit and how to automate IT documentation with the discovery tool JDISC. We will also show you how to quickly and easily create and manage your database management systems and the associated instances within minutes.
Let’s go to the live demo.
You’re already familiar with the menu category Software from previous parts of the series. Now I would like to demonstrate how you can use and evaluate the available information in the best possible way.
When we open an operating system, application or system service, we can see which systems the software is installed on and which license is used.
This also works with licenses. Here you can also open up an overview to find out which devices the license is used for. In addition, i-doit also checks how many licenses are still available and whether underlicensing has occurred. This means that either a license was issued twice or its pool of volume licenses has been exhausted. In either case, you must act now. In order to automate this process, i-doit offers various options for informing the responsible people , suppliers and persons in charge.
In the category Extras->to CMDB ->to Notifications we can rely on a large number of predefined notifications or create our own templates. First we select the menu category “License expiration”. In our use case we would like to specify that the responsible administrator is notified 3 months before a license expires. Under Domains we can now select individual licenses, basically all licenses or select from the result of a report.
In the last step we define which persons or roles should receive the notification. By creating different notification templates, escalation levels can also be mapped.
Not only are you able to be notified when licenses expire, but also when changes have been made to important servers or when a warranty expires. In combination with the Report Manager the possibilities are almost unlimited.
Let’s take a closer look at the Report Manager.
The Report Manager is THE tool for evaluating all the information from i-doit. You can create reports according to your individual requirements. To do this, simply select any number of properties and add conditions. We will now create a report that shows all licenses, keys and their respective expiration dates. We select the License Keys from the category Specific. Here we add the properties to our report by clicking on the + icon. We can check the result at any time by clicking the “Check” button. Currently, the selected attributes are still applied to all objects, so we need to add a condition to limit the evaluation. Therefore we stipulate that only objects of the type Licenses should be considered.
By clicking on Check we can check the result again. We can extend this report at any time we like. If we want to know how many free licenses there are in the company, for example to make savings, we simply add an additional condition to our report and check the result again. We will now only be shown unused licenses.
Let’s look at some more examples. The Report Manager can also be used to display all of a user’s devices, all the devices in a whole department or those in a specific location. You can also create an overview of your existing mobile phone contracts and the corresponding users and smartphones.
To keep a constant eye on your IT, you can send weekly, monthly or annual reports to administrators, service providers and IT managers, in combination with notifications.
Documentation of databases
With i-doit you can also document your existing databases. These are implemented via database management systems such as Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL. i-doit again offers the possibility of displaying relationships with other devices. To do this, we specify the server on which the database management system is installed and configure the allocated computing resources as required.
Next, we create i-doit as a database instance. We link this instance with the database management system we just created.
This simple documentation provides a clear overview of your database instances. In addition, you can also document schematic, tables or cluster configurations if required.
If you have only just started with IT documentation or want to capture certain areas of your company completely, it is also possible to use JDISC. JDISC is a discovery tool that automatically captures networks, devices, software & licenses and much more. JDISC works agentlessly, i.e. it uses credentials and protocols to retrieve information from devices. This makes it possible to obtain not only pure system information, but also extensive information about cabling, which services are running on the devices, which software is installed and which licenses are used.
We will now show you a simple example of how the CMDB i-doit and the discovery tool JDISC work together to automate your IT documentation.
We created a new object of type “Client” in i-doit and only entered the serial number. For a Windows 10 client we installed JDISC and performed the discovery.
For this we specified the network where JDISC should find devices and a user who has administrator rights on the devices. The devices discovered are then listed in full with all the information discovered. We now import the client from JDISC into i-doit.
As you can see, the serial number of the device matches the client you just created in i-doit. To avoid creating a new device during import, but instead complete the existing one with the information from JDISC, we have to create an “Object Matching Profile”. Here we assign a suitable name for the profile and select “Serial number” as the matching factor.
In this way, i-doit checks during import whether an object with the serial number already exists and then updates it. There are predefined profiles for different use cases. These should be adapted to your own requirements before importing them. In the upper part, you define which object types from JDISC should be assigned to i-doit object types. For example, a computer with Windows 10 discovered in JDISC should be created as a client in i-doit.
In the lower part we have additional configuration options. Here we can configure if, for example, software & licenses should be considered during import. It is then recommended to work with a whitelist or a blacklist. With a whitelist, we determine which software is taken into account for the import. In the case of a blacklist, we determine explicitly which software should not be imported. A practical tip: It is easier to identify which software you need for your individual documentation than to determine which you do not need.
It is now important that we select the Object Matching Profile we just created. As we have finished the configuration, we can start the import process. The import for the devices only takes a few seconds. If we now open up our client, we see all the hardware equipment and the software installed, filtered by our whitelist and the corresponding licenses.
JDISC is a professional tool to reduce the effort of IT documentation. The import process can also be automated so that you always have access to current data in i-doit.
Let us summarize
Today we looked at how i-doit can be used to implement and evaluate comprehensive software and license management. In addition, we introduced the DiIscovery tool JDISC, which allows you to import devices and software. We created a client, explained the possibilities of using templates and contracts, presented the discovery tool JDISC and implemented the import.
In the next part of our series we will show you how you can model services with i-doit.
I would be happy if you join us again for the sixth and final part of our series.
If you have any questions about i-doit, please contact us at email@example.com.
Other parts of this series
6 steps to IT documentation
6 Steps to Successful IT Documentation is a compact guide and supplement to the six videos in our series “6 Steps to IT Documentation.
Never lose your bearings and get to the complete documentation of your IT landscape in a targeted manner.