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Software Inventory Logging Overview

Published: June 24, 2013

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2



This technical overview describes Software Inventory Logging, a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 that collects Microsoft software inventory data on a per server basis. Before using Software Inventory Logging, make sure that Windows Update KB 3000850 is installed on each Windows Server 2012 R2 system that will be inventoried.

Software Inventory Logging in Windows Server is a feature with a simple set of PowerShell cmdlets that help server administrators retrieve a list of the Microsoft software that is installed on their servers. It also provides the capability to collect and forward this data periodically over the network to a target web server, using the HTTPS protocol, for aggregation. Managing the feature, primarily for hourly collection and forwarding, is also done with PowerShell commands.

noteNote
An aggregation server running a web service can be separately configured, but is not a component of Software Inventory Logging in Windows Server.

ImportantImportant
None of the data collected by Software Inventory Logging is sent to Microsoft as part of the feature’s functionality.

Software Inventory Logging is intended to reduce the operational costs of retrieving accurate information regarding the Microsoft software deployed locally on a server, but especially across many servers in an IT environment (assuming it is deployed and enabled across the IT environment). The ability to forward this data to an aggregation server (if set up separately by an IT administrator), allows the data to be collected in one place by a uniform, automatic process. While this can also be achieved by querying the interfaces directly, Software Inventory Logging, by employing a forwarding (over the network) architecture initiated by each server, can overcome machine discovery challenges typical for many software inventory and asset management scenarios. SSL is used to secure data forwarded over HTTPS to an administrator’s aggregation server. Having the data in one place (on one server) makes the data easier to analyze, manipulate and report on. It is important to note that none of this data is sent to Microsoft as part of the feature functionality. Software Inventory Logging data and functionality is meant for the sole use of the server software’s licensed owner and administrators.

Software Inventory Logging can assist server administrators in performing the following tasks:

  • Retrieving software and server inventory information from Windows Servers, remotely and on-demand.

  • Aggregating software and server inventory information for a wide variety of software asset management scenarios by enabling each server’s Software Inventory Logging feature and choosing a web server target URI, and certificate thumbprint for authentication.

Software Inventory Logging can be used on any computer running Windows Server 2012 R2 with KB 3000850.

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