1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 1, 2020 11:08 AM by Gustavo del Gerbo

    NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check

    Stefan Hall
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      Hello, experts,

       

      Normally, for normalization, both the product name/manufacturer and version must match. You can simplify version mapping using the version rollup (market version), so that only a few versions need to be maintained.

       

      Now unfortunately many manufacturers, including BMC, change their market versions to year dates. At BMC the market version has a half-life of 6 months and this is no fun in normalization, also applies to Oracle and others

      ---

      Question:

      Is it possible to continue using the version rollup and suite function for beautiful contents, but only check the product name/manufacturer against the product catalog?

       

      In other words: As soon as a product is allowed in the catalog, it should be normalized, no matter which version/market version. The market version should still be normalized.

      This would save me the very time-consuming version maintenance in the product catalog. Perhaps it could be realized if no version of the product was stored in the catalog. This would be analogous to an unknown version, where you only need the "unkown" entry if another version is already available.

       

      Gustavo del Gerbo: Is that possible today? Is there a trick to perform the normalization at field level, but to perform the alignment with ProdCat only on name/manufacturer.

       

      Stefan

        • 1. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
          Gustavo del Gerbo

          You can disable Version normalization for classes, but then the Market Version will not normalize either.

          • 2. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
            Stefan Hall

            I was afraid of that.

             

            How would you feel about making some improvements around here?  The trend towards short-lived market versions is unbroken

            • 3. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
              Gustavo del Gerbo

              So essentially you are saying we need to remove the version but keep the market version. I'm not sure how that is possible.

              What information would we have to base on the Market Version? If there is no version, then it's not possible to know the market version of something.

              Or you are suggesting that the CI should already have a Market Version and we need to ensure that MV exists in the Catalog?

              • 4. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                Stefan Hall

                I could use both I think the version normalization should stay that way, so all rules of the market version are used.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Only if the product has no versions entry in the catalog, all versions will be normalized.  If a product has at least one version in the catalog, all product versions are checked against the catalog.  This would be the same behaviour as with zero values.

                 

                Advantage: I only need one product entry for each BMC product and not constantly adding new market versions to the product catalog.  This would be a huge relief and where I need more security, I add versions.  Perfect

                 

                What do you think?  Somehow NE has to face this trend in the market.

                • 5. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                  Gustavo del Gerbo

                  You can have a product not to have versions in the catalog. If the CI does not have a version as well, then it will normalize fine.

                  The problem is when the CI has a version and the product does not have this version.

                  In this case you have a few options. Either disable the version normalization for that class, or remove the version from the CI.

                   

                  Now, the question is, what exactly are you trying to achieve? Do you need your CI to be normalized (Normalized status), or you really care about the value on the version/MV fields?

                   

                  Because if you don't care about the version/MV fields, then why normalize them anyway. If you do not want to spend time adding versions, then maybe there is no need to do this at all, as long as CTI is in shape.

                  • 6. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                    Stefan Hall

                    We obtain our data mainly from ADDM/SCCM, CTI as well as model and manufacturer must be normalized.

                    Both sources also provide more or less good version information (version and sometimes MV).

                     

                    This version information is important for the CMDB and for reporting and .. But not equally important for all elements of a class

                    The market version fulfills two objectives,

                    1. readability and finding product information on the Internet

                    2. rough grouping for simpler NE (without detailed version numbers)

                     

                    An example from the BMC world

                    When there was no deviating market version, it was possible to normalize all products in the BMC Remedy environment with a pseudo market version 9.1 for years. Patch levels 1, 2, 3 and now 10 have no relevance.

                     

                    And then came the switch to YY.MM, which increases the effort enormously. It is not like MS with "server 2012", "server 2016", "server 2019", but it happens every 6 months!

                    ---

                    Result

                    • It makes no sense to delete existing and important version information from CIs just to get the entry normalized.
                    • it also makes no sense to completely disable version normalization for a whole class.
                    • It doesn't make sense to generate a market version 9.1.10 from version 9.1.10 just to fit the current implementation.
                      Everyone talks about version 20.02 and not about 9.1.10.

                    ---

                    So I lack a reasonable middle ground in NE. So a simplification, as it already exists, if the version is NULL. In this case I don't need to create a version with BMC_UNKOWN and the entry is normalized. If a real version already exists, the normalization with NULL fails. Very simple, very cool

                     

                    A good solution in my opinion would be an analogous approach.

                    As long as the version normalization is activated at class level, it will take place. If the product has real version numbers in the product catalog, it will be checked against them. No hit = NE fails. But if I have no version numbers, all fields are normalized (also version/mv) and the NE does not fail.

                     

                    This would give me maximum control with minimum effort. Version maintenance in the product catalog only for the products where I really need them. The reasons are different - license management, blacklist check etc.

                    ---

                    How would you normalize BMC products with the given rough possibilities? If you want to count your licenses for MS products at the same time.

                     

                    Stefan

                    • 7. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                      Gustavo del Gerbo

                      I understand the concern. Consider you are keeping a very up-to-date Catalog, every 6 months adding 1 new version does not seems like that much to me. Same thing with Oracle and so on.

                      Also, the process can be automated by allowing NE to create the new Model-Version and Version numbers if needed, so you can implement different ways to achieve this.

                      I do agree that the whole process needs some improvements from BMC, but I'm not agreeing with the idea of giving this option. I would rather go over the route of simplifying the PCT maintenance and not over removing NE features.

                      • 8. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                        Stefan Hall

                        Really, you kidding?

                        Too bad, but giving DISCO or SCCM control over the product catalogue, or even both, is not an option. Then you don't need a product catalog anymore.

                         

                        It's a pity that you don't see the idea as an extension for more flexibility, but as a switch-off. That is not it.

                         

                        Anyway, this approach would probably have cost only a few minutes of implementation time, now we have to wait years for another solution and invest unnecessary time with every new release from every vendor with this date approach, just for the rigid NE approach.

                         

                        It is not only the version entry in ProdCat, there is also a NE rule.

                         

                        Again NE is much too star and does not allow mapping and regular expressionism. Only these 2-3 standard functions, but none of them help for this trend. The major version must be typed statically for each version.

                         

                        Both together very annoying,

                        • 9. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                          Gustavo del Gerbo

                          Agree with you, Disco or SCCM should not have control over the PCT.

                          In this case we have this option, for ex. On weekly/monthly report of non-normalized data we can identify missing products.

                          In case we do not want to create manual versions, products, etc. We can copy 1 CI of each of these products to another dataset. This dataset has license to create Product in the catalog, so running a normlization there would create the products/versions automatically.

                           

                          If I understand properly what you suggest requires essentially it to make the "version normalization" product specific instead of class specific.

                           

                          It is not only the version entry in ProdCat, there is also a NE rule.

                           

                          Again NE is much too star and does not allow mapping and regular expressionism. Only these 2-3 standard functions, but none of them help for this trend. The major version must be typed statically for each version.

                          What additional methods you think could help here. I would rather go this route, so what specifically would be your suggestion on this area?

                          • 10. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                            Stefan Hall
                            In this case we have this option, for ex. On weekly/monthly report of non-normalized data we can identify missing products.

                            In case we do not want to create manual versions, products, etc. We can copy 1 CI of each of these products to another dataset. This dataset has license to create Product in the catalog, so running a normlization there would create the products/versions automatically.

                            This is all taking far too long. ADDM recognizes a new version very quickly, but often does not have a reasonable market version yet. This is always made "nice" 1-2 TKUs later. Almost always also with BMC products

                             

                            This means that the products and software servers are removed from service models and this is not good at all.

                            A manual solution via reports is not up to date and does not consider the current market development

                             

                            It is not only the version entry in ProdCat, there is also a NE rule.

                            Again NE is much too star and does not allow mapping and regular expressionism. Only these 2-3 standard functions, but none of them help for this trend. The major version must be typed statically for each version.

                            What additional methods you think could help here. I would rather go this route, so what specifically would be your suggestion on this area?

                            Regular expressions with search and replace, would make many NE rules superfluous.

                             

                            How to deal with these static new market versions, I don't know at this point. The version has nothing to do with the market version anymore. Only a mapping can help, but please do not create a new rule every time.

                            ---

                            I find my other approach here much simpler and more helpful. A new market version/version must not automatically destroy the service models. Especially if the versions are not needed for licenses. Yes it would be product-dependent, but the nicer versions are still needed, just not for all products for testing against the PC.

                             

                            I'm not sure if I explained the approach well. This would be purely configurable and the NE admin would have full control without changing your class approach. The PC determines what happens to the product, only "no version in the PC" would be treated a bit softer.

                            • 11. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                              Gustavo del Gerbo

                              I like the idea of adding a "per product" configuration, maybe on the version tab of the product to be able to enable/disable version normalization for that particular product.

                              If you turn the flag on, the table below will actually be used with the current NE mechanism. If you turn the flag off then anything in the table will be ignored and even in the CI as well and NE will simply focus on the ProductName and Manufacturer combo.

                               

                              Do we agree on this?

                              • 12. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                                Stefan Hall

                                yes and no, I'm not quite sure I heard you right.

                                 

                                A big step forward is the possibility of being able to decide on a product level as well. Agreed ;-)

                                 

                                Your use-case is not clear to me though. Why should I maintain versions and then want to ignore them? What are you thinking about exactly? Wouldn't it be easier to derive this directly from the versions (no versions entered = ignore the version check against the PC)? Therefore yes and no ;-)

                                 

                                If you turn the flag off then anything in the table will be ignored and even in the CI as well

                                What doesn't help me is to completely ignore the version rollup when using this new option. It would be better if the fields in the product (and software server) were normalized according to the rules (if configured) and only the check against the PC is not done on version level. Therefore I don't think I agree.

                                 

                                BTW, I would think again about the default for the new option. This should be the default (not set) of the previous standard. Otherwise all customers worldwide would have to adapt all their product configurations ;-) Maybe it will be clearer with "Ignore NE Version check" as an option name.

                                • 13. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                                  Gustavo del Gerbo

                                  Hi Stefan,

                                   

                                  You should not maintain version in the PCT if you want to ignore them, but having no versions for a Product could not mean that you want to ignore Version normalization, for that you should check the flag for sure. Otherwise we are making an assumption which could be a wrong assumption. The fact that you maybe "forgot" to populate version could potentially lead to all your CIs for that product to normalize when you did not want that.

                                   

                                  To be clear when you turn this flag on, NE will ignore the Version in the CI. The CI could or could not have a version, it will not care about it, because the Model and Manufacturer did have a match to a product, and that product was marked for "ignore version normalization". So CTI will normalize.

                                  • 14. Re: NE - is there a chance to normalize products/software servers without version check
                                    Stefan Hall

                                    Agreed, the flag makes sense. Deal!

                                     

                                    What about the other NE features like version rollup, custom rules etc.? I think the corrected fields should also work with the 'ignore PC Versionˋ flag. It would not make sense to ignore everything, just because the flag disables the version comparison (not the correction!) with the PC for this product.

                                     

                                    What about the improvement in version rollup? Did we already have a deal here This is too static and therefore requires an unnecessary number of entries. Currently it is not even possible to link a string to the major version. The minor version cannot be accessed individually, etc. Regex (search & replace) seems to me to be the only reasonable extension instead of more static functions.

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