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About inventory performance tuning

Inventory Solution

Inventory Solution lets you gather inventory data about computers, users, operating systems, and installed software applications in your environment. You can use predefined inventory policies to collect different types of inventory. You can also modify the predefined policies or you can create new inventory policies and tasks.

See About Inventory Solution

Default inventory policy and task settings may overload your network. You can configure inventory policy and task settings to minimize the effect on your environment. You need to find the balance between collecting a sufficient amount of inventory data and the resource usage.

Adhering to the following recommendations lets you tune the inventory performance to minimize the effect on your environment and network workload:

  • Avoid over scheduling the inventory gathering activities.

    On the inventory policy page, you can choose to gather hardware and operating system, software, file properties, or server applications inventory, according to your needs. All of these types of inventory do not have to run at the same time. If there are too many inventory tasks and policies running, it may increase the workload on Notification Server.

    Symantec recommends that you use unique policies and schedules for different kinds of inventory.

    For example, you can run full hardware inventory every 4 months, every first Monday, and delta hardware inventory every 2 months, every second Monday.

    Increasing the frequency of an inventory policy or task in an attempt to hit an "online window" causes redundant data to be sent to Notification Server. The workload on Notification Server increases as the duplicate data must still be processed and then discarded. Schedule inventory policies or tasks to occur only at the desired data refresh rate, so that the Symantec Management Agent can locally manage the inventory collection process

    See Methods for gathering inventory

  • Use the type and method of gathering inventory that best suits your current needs.

    On the inventory policy page, you can choose and configure the type of inventory that you want to gather. You can also create a custom inventory policy to gather specific data. Using specific types of inventory lets you reduce network traffic and decrease the workload on Notification Server.

    See Methods for gathering inventory

  • Use policies instead of tasks for recurring activities.

    Symantec recommends that you use policies instead of tasks for recurring inventory activities.

    Inventory policies have more options and allow more flexibility for running regular inventory. For example, you can schedule an inventory policy to apply to a specific group of users or computers, and the policy automatically runs on all new computers that you add to the target group

    See How inventory policies work

  • Review all inventory tasks before you turn them on.

    Inventory tasks have some options enabled by default, which can result in significant database growth. Symantec recommends that you review the task settings and disable the options that are not necessary for your specific purpose.

  • Avoid over usage of the Collect Full Inventory policy and its associated inventory task.

    Symantec recommends that you run full inventory regularly to minimize the potential for inventory to get out of synchronization with the server. The default recommendation is to collect full inventory once a week, but you can configure the policy settings according to your needs.

    Running full inventory scan too frequently may increase the workload on Notification Server. To reduce the load on your environment, Symantec recommends that you establish longer intervals between gathering full inventory, and run delta inventory during those intervals.

    Delta inventory reports only the data that has changed since the last full inventory scan. Running delta inventory helps reduce the network load.

    The process of collecting delta inventory runs as follows:

    Step 1

    When you run a full inventory policy, it collects the information about data classes, records hash for each data class in delta.cache, and sends this information to Notification Server.

    You can view the inventory data in the Resource Manager or in reports.

    Step 2

    The following delta inventory calculates a new hash for every data class, compares it to the current information in delta.cache, updates delta.cache, and then sends the changed information to Notification Server

    Step 3

    Each new delta inventory updates the information in delta.cache according to the changes it discovers.

    Step 4

    When you collect full inventory, it completely rewrites the existing delta.cache.

    The data in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) can get outdated if you make significant changes to the environment, so that the delta.cache on the client computer is not consistent with the information in the database anymore. Information inconsistency can occur when the computers are merged, deleted and then added to Notification Server again, redirected from one Notification Server to another, or when a new database is used

    In these cases, Symantec recommends that you run full inventory after you make the changes.

    Also, the inventory data files can occasionally get corrupted or not processed by Notification Server. In this case, to synchronize the information again, you need to run a full inventory scan.

  • Configure File Properties Scan Settings.

    When you configure an inventory policy or task settings, in the Advanced Options dialog box, review the Files Properties Scan Settings on the following tabs:

    Drives

    By default, all local drives are scanned. You can exclude the drives that you don't need to scan.

    Folders

    You can exclude the directories that you don't need to scan.

    Files

    In the Include file rules dialog box, Symantec recommends that you check Report size/file count only if you do not need to collect full information about files. Checking this box lets you decrease the network load.

    See How software inventory rules work

  • Only enable the Access network file systems (UNIX/Linux/Mac) option if necessary.

    Enabling this option in the Advanced Options dialog box may result in getting redundant inventory data reports.

    Scanning remote volumes is disabled by default to prevent numerous computers from reporting redundant inventory data.

  • Configure the inventory scan throttling option.

    Throttling lets you randomize the beginning of the inventory scan, to decrease the network load.

    Symantec recommends that you use throttling in larger environments. For example, when you have multiple virtual machines on a single physical host computer, running an inventory scan can result in significant performance issues. Throttling lets you randomize the time when the inventory scan starts, which effectively randomizes the time when Notification Server receives the inventory scan results. The network and Notification Server can process inventory over time.

    For example, you can set the scan throttle period to 24 hours. At the scheduled time, the scan process starts, but then it immediately goes to sleep, and wakes up at some random time within the specified time period (in this example, 24 hours) to complete the scan

    To enable throttling, on an inventory policy or task page, click Advanced, and then, in the Advanced Options dialog box, on the Run Options tab, check Throttle inventory scan evenly over a period of: X hours.

    Note that when a policy is executed with this setting, the task is shown as running in the Task History, even when sleeping for the random amount of time.

    See Creating and configuring inventory policies and tasks

    This feature is currently available for Windows only.

  • Configure the System resource usage option.

    This option only affects the file scan process, and does not affect the collection of hardware, operating system, and Add/Remove Programs data.

    The System resource usage option lets you define the inventory process priority and thus modify the usage of the processor and disk on the client computer during an inventory scan. To determine its value, consider how fast you want the inventory to be gathered and how the inventory process affects performance of the client computer.

    To configure this option, on an inventory policy or task page, click Advanced, and then, in the Advanced Options dialog box, on the Run Options tab, specify the System resource usage value according to your needs.

    See Creating and configuring inventory policies and tasks

    On the Windows platform, if you decrease the priority, the process of gathering inventory requires less resources on the client computer but the inventory scan takes longer. If you increase the priority, the inventory scan finishes faster but also consumes more resources.

    For UNIX, Linux, and Mac computers, the System resource usage value defines the priority of the inventory process, but does not define the percentage of resource usage. UNIX, Linux, and Mac computers dedicate more CPU cycles for high priority processes and fewer CPU cycles for low priority processes. If the computer is in an idle state and runs only the inventory scan, then low priority process may take the available resources. CPU usage reduces as soon as another process with a higher priority begins to run.

    On the Windows platform, this option is only applicable to file scans. On UNIX, Linux, and Mac platforms, this option is applicable to the entire inventory scan process.

  • Configure the compression settings.

    Using compression lets you compress the data files that managed computers send to Notification Server. You can specify the minimum file size that is compressed when it is sent over the network. When you plan to use compression, you need to find the balance between client and server load, and the network utilization.

    If you set the compression threshold at a lower file size, it increases the workload on both the client computer and Notification Server. The client computer has to compress the file and the server has to decompress it. However, this setting decreases the network load.

    If you set the compression threshold to a higher value, it reduces the workload on the client computer and the server. However, the network load increases due to the larger files that are sent over the network.

    Symantec recommends that you use compression with smaller files only when you have a low bandwidth. If your Notification Server serves a site with a high bandwidth, it is not necessary to use compression.

    Compression is automatically enabled for all solutions. To configure the compression settings, do the following:

    In the Symantec Management Console, on the Settings menu, click Agents/Plug-ins > Targeted Agent Settings. On the Targeted Agent Settings page, on the General tab, next to the Compress events over box, set the compression threshold according to your needs.

    See Configuring the targeted agent settings