Data Translation Services

Data Translation Services (DTS) is a Data Analytics tool for Ivanti® Management Suite that scans your organization's devices for the inventory data you most care about, such as software licensing, warranties, and so on. Once the data is scanned into the inventory database, you can customize, aggregate, and organize it in reports to make informed and practical decisions about hardware and software purchases and needs.

The power of DTS is found in its rules, which enable you to scan for much of the device data that's important to your IT work. DTS installs with numerous default rules that will likely address most of your IT needs, though you can configure your own rules to perform customized tasks as well. When you configure a rule and run it, you're enabling DTS to perform a task such as retrieving warranty data from a vendor website or pulling data from Active Directory. Once that information is in the inventory database, you can use it for customized reporting.

In this topic:

About the Data Translation Services view

Getting started

Configuring new rules

About the Data Translation Services view

When you open DTS, a pane appears across the bottom of the Management Suite console. This pane consists of a tree structure that lists various folders, most of which are used to store the different rule types.

Most of the folders also have right-click menus that you can use for various tasks, such as configuring, editing, or running rules, importing/exporting rule data as .XML files, and so on. You can also use the toolbar for many of these same tasks.

Getting started

To obtain inventory data and then view it in report format, you'll use both the DTS and the Executive Report Pack (ERP) tools. Use DTS to configure and run the rules that determine the type of data that's scanned into the inventory database, and use ERP to create a variety of reports that are useful for lifecycle management, software compliance audits, and so on.

Understanding rules

You'll likely find that the default rules shipped with DTS (called system-generated rules) are comprehensive enough to begin creating the reports you're most interested in viewing. For a comprehensive list of supported rules, see Supported rules, connectors, and vendors.

DTS ships with two kinds of rules:

  • The licensed software rules, listed under Licensed Software > All Rules, gather information about software licensing that you'll want for reporting. By default, these rules run collectively each night during the Data Analytics software manager service scan and are turned off only if you disable a vendor group from being part of the scan.

    You also have the option of running these rules on demand or as a scheduled task, either by vendor group or individually. To see licensed software rules specific to a vendor, click Licensed Software > All Vendors.
  • All other rules, not related to software licensing, gather information from various sources that could also be of value to you. You'll find these rules in the various folders of the DTS tree view, and by default, most are inactive. Only a subset of the most commonly used rules install as active.

    To run these rules, you can do so manually, as a scheduled task, or set them as "active." By setting a rule as active, it will appear in the Active folder and will run when an inventory scan is received.

The Ivanti content update service, which publishes Data Analytics updates on a weekly basis, regularly overwrites the existing system-generated rules. New system-generated rules, reports, column sets, and so on are also published during these updates.

Running rules

You can run rules three different ways:

  • As a scheduled task: Create a script that schedules a rule to run by right-clicking the rule and selecting Schedule. The script you create will appear in the Management Suite console's Scheduled Tasks, and the name is normally <rulename>_<rule idn>.ini. If you want to change the scheduled settings, go into Scheduled Tasks and modify them there.
  • By manually activating: Run a rule manually by right-clicking it and selecting Run Now to run it on all devices. Or, with some rules, you can drag and drop a device, group, or query from the Management Suite console onto the rule in the DTS console view. This action opens a dialog where you can specify that the rule runs against just those devices.
  • By setting as "active" for real-time processing: Set a rule as active so it runs when an inventory scan is received. You can turn on active mode by right-clicking a rule and selecting Set Active. Once a rule is active, it automatically appears in the Active folder. For active mode to work, you must also enable real-time processing. To do this, make sure the Enable Real-time Processing stoplight is green on the DTS toolbar.

    To set a rule as inactive, right-click it and select Set Inactive. DTS will automatically remove the rule from the Active folder. The rule will still exist in its original group folder.

Both scheduled and manually-activated rules run directly against the inventory database.

When real-time processing is enabled, the Ivanti inventory service receives the scan file from a device and writes it with an .MP extension. The Data Analytics core scan processor service then picks up the scan file and runs all active rules against it. After completion, the service puts the scan file back in the LDScan folder as a .SCN file and the inventory service processes it.

For performance reasons, a rule will only run against a scan file if the source data for it is in the scan file. For example, most of the web warranty rules are looking for the System.Serial Number attribute. When a device first sends a scan file, it contains all the data about the device. At that point the serial number should be in the scan file and the rule will run. However, subsequent scans from the same device are normally delta scans (only changes are sent). Since the serial number does not normally change, the rule will not run.

When you set a rule as active, you'll be prompted to run it against the entire inventory database to update the data for existing and new devices; we recommend that you do this. Once a rule is set as active, it automatically appears in the Active folder.

For more information, see About the core scan processor service

Assigning targets

With most rules, you can specify which types of devices or "targets" the rule runs against. For example, you would only run a Dell warranty rule on Dell devices, not HP devices. A target can be a device group, individual devices, queries, scopes, or any combination of these.

Viewing reports

By default, Data Analytics installs with multiple reports already defined. You can view these reports by opening the Executive Report Pack tool. From an IT perspective, the most valuable reports are the ones showing software licensing compliance, though many other types of reports are also available.

For more information about ERP, see Executive Report Pack.

Configuring new rules

The power of DTS is found in its system-generated rules, which enable you to scan for a wide variety of device data that's important to your IT work. At some point, you may want to configure new rules. DTS has numerous wizards that lead you through the process of creating a rule. These wizards are accessible via the tree view by right-clicking any of the folders and selecting New Rule.

For descriptions of the rules you can configure, see About the Data Translation Services view.

The rules you will most commonly need that may not ship by default with Data Analytics involve merging records, normalizing data, and managing licensed software. The following sections describe those rule types.

Merging records

One key feature of DTS is the ability to use a barcode form or B2B connector to create a "stub" record for a device that doesn't yet exist on your network. For example, when you receive a computer at your loading dock, you can scan the barcode on the box, and DTS will create the stub record in the database. Then, depending on the manufacturer, DTS may pull additional information from the web about the device. After you put the device on the network with an installed Ivanti agent, this stub record is merged with the normal inventory record.

Stub records are stored in the following places:

  • For devices that can be managed, such as computers, they're stored in the inventory database.
  • For a non-agent device, such as a printer, they're stored in Asset Control.
  • For a software license, they're imported into Management Suite's software license monitoring (SLM) tool.

Rules for B2B connectors and barcode forms merge stub records automatically. Below is a description of the process.

B2B connector merging

The various B2B connectors are designed to pull information about your devices from the web and add that information into inventory. For example, if you purchase devices from CDW, you can create a B2B connector rule for CDW that can pull purchase information such as the price, P.O. number, and so on. B2B connectors can also create new stub records to show devices you have ordered but have not yet installed with the Ivanti agent.

When a B2B connector rule creates a record, it assigns the Computer.Scan Type as Vendor Import. It also assigns the serial number (or other numbers for certain vendors) to the Computer.Barcode field. A service then runs on the core server looking for all records of Computer.Scan Type Vendor Import. It checks the Computer.Barcode against all other devices to see if a device with a different scan type exists.

An important point is that by default, the Ivanti agent does not report a Computer.Barcode value. When DTS is installed, a system-generated rule is also installed that can populate this field. If you plan on merging records, it's best practice to run this rule manually (located in Calculate Data > All Rules > Computer.Barcode). After comparing the barcodes for a match, the service copies only the stub record data that doesn't already exist into the inventory database. The stub record is then deleted.

For more information, see B2B connectors overview

Barcode merging

Barcode merging is similar to B2B merging. The main differences are that the Computer.Scan Type is set to Barcode, and it's not necessarily the Computer.Barcode field that's used to merge. Each barcode form has a link field. When a barcode rule creates a device record, the Computer.Barcode Configuration attribute is populated with the name of the rule that added it.

When the service performs its merge check, it looks for all devices with a Computer.Scan Type of Barcode. It then looks up the Computer.Barcode Configuration value for the device. The service reads the barcode form for the link attribute and searches the database for any non-barcode devices with the same link attribute value. If one is found, the records are merged in the same manner as for B2B connector devices.

For more information, see Barcode web-form wizard.

Normalizing data

For a variety of reasons, much of the data in your inventory database is not in report-ready format. Many vendors have few standards for naming their hardware, software, or company, making it difficult to create a clean report that shows all of the vendors and product versions you have installed. The inventory database can only report back what a device reports to it. A hardware vendor may report that its name is just "Vendor" on one device, “Vendor Inc.” on another device, and “Vendor Incorporated” on a third. By normalizing the data, you can make it more easily reportable.

For more information, see Normalize wizard

Managing licensed software

One of the most expensive aspects of an IT environment is the software. Using DTS to determine an accurate number of licenses your software products require can result in huge cost savings.

DTS uses a EULA-based method for determining which software products actually need licenses in your environment. For example, Microsoft may allow a license for Office 2010 Professional to also cover a copy of Office Professional 2007, but not a copy of Office Standard 2010. Regardless of how many of these “covered” copies of software exist on a device, you need only one license to be compliant. This is known as “effective licensing”—the number of licenses you need versus what you may have installed. DTS uses a flexible, query-based engine to determine effective licensing.

For more information, see Licensed-software rules overview