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17 July 2017
Releases, Total Network Inventory | 6 Comments

TNI 3.4.5: Active Directory Synchronization Functionality

Hello to all!

The latest update for Total Network Inventory 3 is out. As we promised, it’s the reworked Active Directory synchronization module. The synchronization process becomes more convenient and informative, and more tweaks can be made.

As usual, before diving into details, we offer you the full list of changes and improvements:

  • NewAbility to synchronize computers and users with a different domain.
  • NewAuto-picking passwords for logging into the domain during AD sync.
  • NewA window with preliminary results allowing to view and control the synchronization (when launching manually).
  • NewSynchronization results are logged to a text file.
  • NewAbility to schedule synchronization with AD.
  • ImprovedAD synchronization algorithm.
  • ImprovedSynchronization settings were optimized.
  • ImprovedCorrect handling of renamed devices during synchronization.
  • ImprovedDetection of the current and root domains at startup.
  • ImprovedThe process of automatic synchronization at startup and on a schedule is invisible to the user.
  • + Some other fixes and improvements.

Auto-sync on a schedule

As you probably know, synchronization with AD could only be initiated manually or when the program itself is started. Yes, we agree with you that this is sometimes not enough. And that’s why a new method was added: automatic synchronization on a schedule. Simply set up the Scheduler, and the program will synchronize with AD exactly when it suits you!

We’d like to point out that synchronization at startup will be disabled after you update. But worry not, you can either enable this setting again, or switch to only using the Scheduler.

Preliminary synchronization results

New capabilities will be available when you start the synchronization manually. You’ll be able to preview the changes as shown here:

In this window, you can browse the proposed changes and choose what elements should be updated. Don’t want to move devices? Uncheck it. Want to update information for specific computers? Select only those. Synchronize users only? Easy. All done quickly and conveniently.

Other improvements

Another new helpful feature is trying different logins for AD. If TNI fails to start the synchronization using the current user’s credentials, the program will automatically try to find the correct login from among those listed on the Edit – All logins tab.

Also, all synchronization operations will from now on be logged to adsync.log which is located in the following folder: C:\ProgramData\Total Network Inventory 3

And another thing we ought to highlight: now it’s possible to synchronize with a domain that the current computer does not belong to.

Update your TNI and enjoy the new features. See you next time!


06 July 2017
Releases, Total Software Deployment | Leave a comment

TSD 2.0.0: Remote software uninstallation

Hello, dear readers of our blog! It’s been a long time since the last major Total Software Deployment update. But today we certainly have a big one! Since the release of the very first version, we knew that TSD would eventually gain this feature, and numerous feedbacks have confirmed that it’s essential.

As you may have guessed, today’s update is dedicated to the new remote MSI uninstallation module. There’s no need for any more scripts or parameters. A few mouse clicks – and the unnecessary program will be correctly uninstalled on just one, a few or all network computers. The new functionality is very convenient and gives complete freedom of action!

  • BIG FEATUREUninstallation of MSI packages.
  • BIG FEATUREThe list of software installed on computers in the network storage.
  • BIG FEATURENew technology for deploying MSI packages using the Silent method.
  • NewSearch in the List of installed software. Allows to find any software on computers in the network storage.
  • NewGroup of deployment and uninstallation settings.
  • NewWhen the deployment is complete, you can now filter the results according to whether the deployment was successful, and then save the filtered deployment targets to a new list.
  • NewOption to automatically save computers with deployment errors to a new list of deployment targets.
  • NewOption to automatically rescan computers if the deployment was successful.
  • ImprovedParameters for recording the Silent method for the MSI installer type were changed. The default command line was changed, and an information panel with recommendations was added.
  • ImprovedBoth storages can now be searched using logical AND and OR operations (‘+’ and ‘,’ respectively).
  • ImprovedMultiple selection in the network tree. It can now be used when working with computer properties, logins and the list of installed software.
  • FixedErrors when adding computers with certain properties to the Deployment targets list.
  • FixedErrors when halting deployment.
  • FixedDeployment failure when the “Use network discovery” setting is off.
  • + Many other fixes and improvements.

The full changelog can be found on the update screen in the program itself.

First off, we want to highlight the new Uninstall tab. Now nothing prevents you from removing programs from network computers as easily as installing them! Select one or more computers in the tree, and you’ll see a complete list of software installed on them. Using search, you can quickly find the necessary (or rather, unnecessary) programs in the list. What remains is to put them on the uninstall task list and press one button:

It’s worth noting that you don’t need its MSI package in order to uninstall a program. It’s enough to just to scan the computer and select the soon-to-be-uninstalled software from the list. Simple and easy. In the future updates, we plan to expand the list of supported installer types.

Another important feature of this update is the new MSI package deployment engine. This improvement will greatly improve the likelihood of successful deployment when using the Silent method. You will also have an opportunity to analyze any errors that may occur in detail. And most notably, now you don’t need to worry about the installation context. TSD works correctly with packages configured to be installed either per-user or per-machine.

If you go to program options in TSD 2, you will find new sections dealing with Deployment and Uninstallation. Now TSD can automatically rescan the computers where deployment was completed successfully. And as for those computers where errors have occurred during the deployment, TSD can automatically save them to a separate list of deployment targets. This will allow you to easily attempt deployment again after having identified and removed the cause of these errors. Also, on the deployment panel, we added buttons allowing to manually filter and save such lists:

In addition, several aspects of the network tree were improved to allow for better usability: the search engine, the filters, and the way the computers are displayed and selected. And these are only some of the improvements that you will encounter!

We love sharing good news with you, but it’ll be much better if you check out all the new Total Software Deployment features in action! You can download the update either by following this link or in the program itself, by clicking Help – Check for updates. Until next time!

P.S.: don’t forget to keep checking for updates to Total Network Inventory. As we’ve already mentioned, it will bring improvements to the AD synchronization feature.


14 June 2017
Tips & Tricks, Total Network Inventory | Leave a comment

How to conduct Software Asset Management

Nearly every business enterprise involves office computers, and usually they are connected to a local network. In order to systematize the configuration and accounting of computer hardware and software, it’s necessary to periodically take their inventory. This includes conducting SAM, the process of streamlining the management of the company’s software assets.

In every company, physical assets on the local network are equipped with special software, usually licensed. And licenses, especially for specialized software packages, often cost a lot.

This means that even if such a software package is installed on just one “extra” PC, it can be quite an expensive oversight. SAM methodology is used precisely in order to control what exactly this kind of software is used for and to make sure that the license renewals are done on time.

So, what are the main tasks of SAM?


• collection and structuring of information about the purchased software;
• optimization of software asset management processes;
• preparation of software sets classified by type or purpose (e.g. intended for particular employees/levels/departments);
• accounting of funds allocated for the acquisition of software.

In this article, we’ll discuss conducting SAM using Total Network Inventory (TNI).

Methods of conducting SAM

There are two methods of conducting SAM: manual and automated. The former method of software audit is used when the total number of computers on the local network does not exceed a few dozen units. If there are more PCs, and therefore more licenses, then an automated solution such as TNI would be better suited for the task.
Below we’ll describe how to manage your software assets with the help of our product.

TNI 3 consists of:
• An admin unit and
• A network storage.

TNI 3 SAM Guide: Working with the Network storage

The centralized TNI storage contains detailed information about each local network node. With TNI 3, system administrators can add various data fields for each PC, assign inventory numbers, as well as view, change and supplement license information for installed software. In addition, TNI automatically gathers basic information such as MAC and IP addresses, current OS, network state (online/offline), accessible admin shares, etc. All these key parameters allow you to quickly navigate hundreds of computers, eliminating the possibility of long downtimes.

TNI 3 can scan various OSes, among them Microsoft Windows XP and up, including server versions, OS X, Linux, FreeBSD and ESX/ESXi hypervisors.

Scanning user hardware

To begin the process of scanning network nodes, you will only need access to an account with administrator rights (i.e. domain administrator, if the computer is part of the domain).

You won’t need to perform additional procedures on remote PCs (like installing local agents). It’s enough to allow intermediate local firewalls to pass traffic via the SMB or RPC protocol from Total Network Inventory.

Also, you can create your own schedule to make scans regular and automatic. Such a solution will help avoid the expiration of software licenses and facilitate the timely inventory of recently installed software tools.

Working with the SAM module

The software audit process is simple. After the network computers are successfully scanned, TNI will analyze the software and license keys found on them, and as a result, a list of all discovered programs will appear on the Software accounting tab. Once you select one or more programs in the list, the details panel will show which computers they are installed on and the installation date.

Auditing PC software is an important part of SAM. You can configure which computers must have certain software, and on which it should not be installed by going into the Tracking mode. As soon as you set a specific policy, computers that violate it will be highlighted directly in the details panel, and you’ll also be able to monitor the number of violations for each software from the main list. You can also see a list of computers that violate the tracking policy for at least one program by filtering the network tree using the “Tracked software” assistant.

If you own a TNI Professional license, then you have access to software license audit functions. License management is available for each program detected during scanning. When creating a license, you can specify its cost and dates of acquisition and expiration. Different license types are supported, including standard licenses with a limited number of installations, unlimited licenses, and even unwanted pirate licenses. You can read about various licenses that you can create in TNI here.

You can monitor the license status from the list of licenses. You’ll be able to see which software has insufficient licensed copies, and which has extra, and also whether the license has expired.

Conclusion

Let’s sum it up. Total Network Inventory 3 is a special application that simplifies the management of network devices and licensed software within your company. Thanks to this solution, the administrator responsible for the network can easily keep track of hundreds of nodes, providing timely software updates, making it possible to accurately count the number of available licenses, and removing the possibility of illegal use of individual software products.