What Is Asset Discovery?

Businesses thrive when IT runs faster and smarter and in today’s rapidly changing business environments, a manual approach to the gathering of system configuration information is no longer a viable option. By aligning IT with business operations, real-time asset discovery and dependency mapping provides the solution. Providing more accurate data that allows IT staff and resources to work more efficiently, automated asset discovery enables dependency mapping, a solution that provides accurate information to quickly create maps and documents for analysis of resources. Continuously updated information is used to create reports to share information, perform analyses, and collaborate with experts.

BMC Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) uses automated asset discovery to scan enterprise networks, identifying and cataloging hardware and software assets including the following:

  • Network servers
  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Databases
  • Application servers

By providing pattern templates that enable rapid modeling of custom software and business applications, asset discovery is part of a comprehensive and unified platform approach that assists organizations in cutting costs, maintaining security, and increasing profits. Put simply, ADDM easily aligns IT operations with business priorities.

Automation Reduces Cost and Provides More Accurate Information

Using data for critical business processes is key to an organization’s success. In rapidly changing production environments, a manual approach to gathering system configuration information is labor intensive, often provides inaccurate information, and is no longer a viable approach. Asset discovery enables the removal of redundant servers, identifies potential failures before they occur, and reduces the number of resources required to maintain CMDB data by 80 percent.

Asset Discovery Basics

Asset discovery combines the power of the central UNIX discovery service with a Windows proxy. When discovery determines a target host is running a Windows-based operating system, it sends a discovery request to the proxy. The discovery service then performs a series of tasks for each IP address, and conserves resource availability by skipping unnecessary tasks.

IP (Internet protocol) addresses are checked and if marked to avoid, no further discovery attempt is made. All devices on a network are identified, and if the discovery service is unable to login to a device, the device is identified through reverse DNS lookup obtained from Telnet, SNMP requests and when enabled, IP fingerprinting. Hosts, mainframe computers and host nodes are created only after successful logins, and network device nodes are created after successful SNMP access.

Asset Discovery and Security

Security is an important concern when it comes to asset discovery. ADDM uses a secure-by-default philosophy for the scanning appliances themselves, disabling all services but those critical to the service. In addition, each release is thoroughly penetration-tested prior to shipping, both at the UI level and at the system level using industry-standard security testing tools and methods.

Since organizations typically use firewalls to partition and secure their networks, Atrium Discovery uses a central discovery service. There are two options for discovery of systems beyond firewalls: firewall rules may be created to open the protocols the solution uses to detect devices, or additional discovery appliances may be added in each DMZ, with the discovery data to be ultimately consolidated at the central discovery service.

Quickly Create Application Maps for Analysis of Resources

Allowing accurate determinations of the root causes of performance issues and how they affect services, the information obtained through asset discovery is used to create accurate maps linking strategic infrastructure to business applications. This leads to more accurate capacity planning, and better executive decision-making to optimize management activities.

Actionable Information for Analysis, Collaboration and Planning

ADDM provides analysis and reporting tools for IT professionals as well as non-IT personnel. By dividing discovered assets into groups, ADDM shows the interdependencies between groups and creates documents for collaboration with application experts. Within these documents, add or remove hosts, focus on a desired group, or drill down further into each group for a more detailed view. Create tables containing even more detail that identifies products, manufacturers, IP addresses, product specifications and other information to create the right document for a specific expert.

By implementing ADDM, organizations are better able to:

  • Understand how IT impacts their business operations
  • Prioritize events and incidents based on accurate analyses of service impacts
  • Reduce capital and operational expenditures

Access to Continuously Updated Information

Asset discovery automatically detects virtual relationship changes in real-time, and triggers targeted re-scans to keep application dependency maps current. Real-time service models eliminate false and missed alerts and are designed to keep pace with ever-evolving IT environments and constantly changing technology.

Organizations are able to:

  • Accelerate isolation of problems based on accurate, simple root cause analysis
  • Reduce MTTR (Mean Time To Repair)
  • Improve operational efficiency by avoiding over and under-utilized resources 
  • Improve resource capacity and utilization

Asset Discovery: Aligning IT Operations With Business Priorities

Real-time service models deliver high-quality service while controlling costs. During the transition of their networks and databases to more modern and dynamic models, organizations are successfully using BMC Atrium Discovery to automatically discover and maintain their service models in real-time, keeping their IT Operations successfully aligned with business priorities.