Whether you lease or purchase, expense items or capitalize them, at some point you’ll be faced with the question of how to maintain accuracy in your inventory in FootPrints Asset Core when re-imaging or disposing of devices.
All organizations face the same issues when it comes time to close the record of their asset inventory. So what best practice process should you follow to ensure consistent and reliable data? This 2-part article will answer this question. Part 1 will explore your option with inventoried items that have an agent. Part 2 will cover items that have either been scanned or imported into the FootPrints Asset Core database.
Let me begin with a real world senario. I was recently at a customer site where they’ve been using FPAC for nearly a year. I was there to train them on a couple of newly purchased modules. During the engagement, the discussion came up about the unique names FPAC requires when using the configuration settings on “Use Host Name” and “No Duplicate Names.” They had made the decision to DEPRECATE devices when the device was at the end of its lifecycle as well as when a device needed to be re-imaged. They experienced a problem with the re-imaged devices and put the agent on the newly imaged devices. The device would not show the proper DEVICE NAME. We spent some time discussing their process and, since they are a global organization, they had technicians doing the RE-IMAGE and AGENT INSTALL in an order that did not allow FPAC to use the NetBIOS name of the device.
This customer used a naming convention that incorporated the serial number of the device, thus using the same name no matter where or to whom that device was assigned. They were DEPRECATING the device prior to putting the newly imaged device with the new agent on the network. They use MS Active Directory so they were deleting the record in AD and then rejoining the device to the domain. Since MS Active Directory does not retain the old record, they experienced no problems with that process. Once the device is DEPRECATED in FPAC the record is locked and there is no way, through the interface, to rename that device to a name, such as “GD26TS6_OLD” or “GD26TS6_RI1” (RI=Re-Imaged). Had they NOT DEPRECATED the device until they had the newly re-imaged device with the agent on board, the FPAC application would have automatically renamed the older instance of device record to “GD26TS6(0)”. Had they also waited a day, the device would have displayed the RED icon indicating that it hadn’t checked in for more than 24 hours.
The process we came up with was to NOT DEPRECATE the device until the newly imaged device had been reported into FPAC and they could see both records for the same name (one with the (0) trailing the name). BEFORE they deprecate the device, FPAC allows administrators to rename a device record to a new, unique name, rename it to a name keeping the Serial Number but appending it with one of the following:
- “GD26TS6-RI” – RI =Re-Imaged
- “GD26TS6_RD” – RD = Re-Deployed
- “GD26TS6_Retired” – When the device is taken out of production.
When renamed and any notes are added to that record, the device can be DEPRECATED. Once a month, a report can be run on only DEPRECATED devices to show the disposition of those devices. In addition, a CSV report can append an existing on-going report that will provide details of all deprecated devices.
Once the report is run, a decision can be made to either retain those DEPRECATED devices in the FPAC Database or purge those records in order to maintain only ACTIVE devices in the DB. Once a device has been DEPRECATED the license is released and the available license count goes up based on the number of devices that have been DEPRECATED.
* The naming schema mentioned above is not necessarily the actual naming schema this customer selected to implement.
All DEPRECATED devices are represented by a GRAY icon
Notice that when using TOPOLOGY/NETWORK all deprecated devices will also be included:
DEPRECATED devices will show in your device Groups unless expressly removed in the query that populates your device groups:
The record is not editable once DEPRECATED:
Before DEPRECATION, an admin can edit the record. Understand that any field that is edited may be over written if the agent reports back in and updates to latest accurate information:
Notice the record will be put in “Retired” status automatically once DEPRECATED:
by Steve Gibbs, RightStar Systems