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Windows Server 2012 R2 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 feature in Windows Server® 2012 R2 that aggregates software identification on a per server basis.

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Software Inventory Logging in Windows Server 2012 R2 is a feature with a simple set of interfaces that helps server administrators retrieve a list of the software that is installed on their servers. Updates and fixes from software vendors are also included in the list, as well as components of the server system commonly used for inventory. In the cases of some software, unique client request counts are summed and also made available with these interfaces (for more information, see User Access Logging Overview). Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V host servers can retrieve this data from virtual machines, running on the local hypervisor, if the virtual machines are also running Windows Server 2012 R2. Software Inventory Logging can be configured by the server administrator, by enabling a daily task via PowerShell, to collect all data from these interfaces and forward it using HTTPS to a server running a web service (configured by the server owner), for aggregation.

Retrieving data from the Software Inventory Logging interfaces, or manually forwarding this data to an aggregation server, is done through PowerShell cmdlets. Managing the feature, primarily for daily collection and forwarding, is also done with PowerShell commands.

An aggregation server running a web service can be separately configured, but is not deployed as part of Software Inventory Logging.

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

Software Inventory Logging interfaces are intended to reduce the operational costs of retrieving accurate information regarding software deployed locally on a server, but especially across many servers in an IT deployment (assuming the feature exists on these servers). The ability to forward this data daily 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 provides this added functionality, and by employing a forwarding (over the network) architecture initiated at the host server, can overcome machine discovery challenges typical for many software inventory and asset management scenarios. SSL is used to encrypt 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 Server 2012 R2 servers, remotely and on-demand.

  • Aggregating software and server inventory information collected daily from Windows Server 2012 R2 by enabling each server’s Software Inventory Logging task and choosing a web server target URI.

  • Retrieving, collecting, and aggregating, counts of unique client requests reflected by the User Access Logging feature. Since Software Inventory Logging relies on the User Access Logging service to collect unique client request counts, it supports the same server roles and applications for this functionality as User Access Logging. See the User Access Logging Overview for the complete listing.

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

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