Exercise Overview:

Connectivity and Integration with ActiveEfficiency

In this lab, you will learn about how AppClarity integrates with ActiveEfficiency Server to obtain details of computers, software installations and usage already discovered by the ActiveEfficiency scout in the earlier lab exercises.

Retrieving inventory and usage data

AppClarity gets all inventory and software usage data from ActiveEfficiency. You have already learned how that data is collected and stored in the ActiveEfficiency database from the earlier lab exercises. In this exercise, you will use the ActiveEfficiency connector in AppClarity to retrieve and processes this data.

AppClarity also has the ability to sync with BDNA's Technopedia. Technopedia is an online software inventory catalog containing information such as release ship dates, retirement dates and, where applicable, software compatibility with different Windows versions. This information can be used to extend AppClarity's catalog information by integration with Technopedia. This is not in scope for this course, but you can review the integration capabilities in the Data Capture section of the AppClarity console.

Configure Hardware and Software Inventory Thresholds

By default, the ActiveEfficiency Connector only collects inventory data from ActiveEfficiency if that inventory was collected in the last 8 days. As we are using a backup of a production CM database, the inventory data is likely to be older than that, so we need to adjust this threshold to ensure that when we synchronize with ActiveEfficiency, we get all the records from the restored CM database as well as the current records from the live lab database.

1ETRNAP
  1. On 1ETRNAP start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the local instance and select the AppClarity database
  2. Click New Query in the tool bar then enter and execute the following query to change the threshold settings to 1095 days
  3. Update SiteSettings set uss_HardwareInventoryThreshold=1095 
    Update SiteSettings set uss_SoftwareInstallationInactivityThreshold_days=1095 
  4. Restart the AppClarity service to ensure the change in the database is recognized by the service
  5. Note the age of the ConfigMgr database backup file used earlier. The month and year of the backup are part of the file name. AppClarity will ignore old data, so changing this setting set to 365 will ensure that we will be able to evaluate data up to 1095 days old.

Run the ActiveEfficiency Connector

In this task, you will run the ActiveEfficiency Connector interactively from the AppClarity Console and observe the results in the AppClarity database. Later you will learn how to run the connector periodically using a Windows Scheduled Task created by the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager.

1ETRNAP

  1. On 1ETRNAP open the AppClarity Console, select the Data Capture page from the toolbar on the left (as indicated in the screenshot below) and then select the ActiveEfficiency connector group as shown below

    Note that an instance of this connector named ActiveEfficiency was created when AppClarity was installed and it has not yet been run.
  1. Right-click the ActiveEfficiency instance below the ActiveEfficiency Connector group and select Synchronize
  2. Note that the details pane on the right of the console now shows the connector running. This will take a few minutes to complete
  3. Open C:\ProgramData\1E\AppClarity\AppClarity.ServiceHost.svc_AppClarity.log and observe the activity of the ActiveEfficiency Connector

  1. Return to the AppClarity Console and refresh (F5) the ActiveEfficiency connector details on the Data Capture page

Move onto the next lab while the synchronization continues. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes to finish execution.

Schedule synchronization using the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager

You now understand that getting data about software installations into AppClarity is a two-stage process. The first stage is to run the ActiveEfficiency Scout to collect inventory data from ConfigMgr into the ActiveEfficiency database and the second stage is to run the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization in AppClarity to collect the data from the ActiveEfficiency database in to the AppClarity database.

So far you have executed these two stages manually. In practice, these processes need to be executed, (Scout followed by synchronization) regularly to keep the data in AppClarity in sync with the data in ConfigMgr and we achieve that using a Windows Scheduled Task.
The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager (installed with the ActiveEfficiency Scout – you had the option to run it when the Scout installation finished earlier) provides a simple interface to automate the creation of the necessary scheduled tasks required to execute the scout periodically to keep the ActiveEfficiency data in sync with the ConfigMgr data. It also schedules the subsequent synchronization of data from ActiveEfficiency to AppClarity.
The ActiveEfficiency Scout is typically scheduled to run once per day and retrieves inventory data from ConfigMgr that is required by AppClarity. The Scout can also be executed on a more frequent Alternate schedule using a special configuration that only retrieves a much smaller subset of data required by 1E Shopping. 
In this task, the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager will be used to define the credentials that the scheduled tasks will use to execute the Scout and AppClarity synchronization tasks and create the scheduled task that will run the Scout using the full, daily schedule and subsequently synchronize with the AppClarity database.

The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager was launched by default after the Scout installation completed in the previous task. You can run it at any time from a command line C:\Program Files (x86)\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout\N1E.ActiveEfficiency.SyncManager.exe. You may also run it from the shortcut on the desktop or Start Menu.
1ETRNAP
  1. Double-click the 1E AE Sync Manager icon on the desktop to launch the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager
  2. In the Master Credentials section of the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, ensure 1ETRN\AppInstaller is defined as the account that will be used to execute the synchronization tasks and enter the password (Passw0rd) for this user in the Password field
  3. The Master Credentials are used to execute the scheduled tasks. It is possible to use alternative credentials for each of the individual synchronization tasks if necessary.
  4. In the Daily Schedule section, set the time to 01:00
  5. Note that the Scout and AppClarity Sync options are selected to run by default. The ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager will create a single scheduled task that will execute the selected steps using a configuration file.
  6. Click Save
  7. A dialog box will be displayed that informs you that the 1ETRN\AppInstaller account has been granted some additional rights (Log on as a batch job and Replace a process level token) to be able to run the scheduled task. Click OK
  8. Close the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager

Observe the scheduled tasks that were created by the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager

  1. Start the Windows Task Scheduler (the shortcut has been pinned to the start menu)
  2. Expand the Task Scheduler Library and note the ActiveEfficiency folder created by the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager

  1. Note that the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manger has created a task in the ActiveEfficiency folder named ActiveEfficiencySyncDaily (going full screen with the task scheduler window will make things a lot easier). Note this task is scheduled to run at every day at the time you specified above

  1. Select the ActiveEfficiencySyncDaily task and select the Actions tab in the lower half of the Task Scheduler window. Observe the command line that this task executes
  2. You will observe that the scheduled task does not actually run scout.exe. Instead it runs taskRunner.exe with a file parameter that defines a configuration file (in this case C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency\DailyScheduledTask.xml). Depending on the configuration options selected in the ActiveEfficiency Synchronization Manager, the scheduled task may have multiple operations to complete (such as completing an AppClarity Sync following the scout execution). These operations are defined in XML configuration files stored in C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency.
  3. Open C:\ProgramData\1e\ActiveEfficiency\DailyScheduledTask.xml in Notepad. Observe that this configuration file defines a command line to execute the Scout followed by a command line to execute the AppClarity Synchronizer
  4. The Scout uses a configuration file that defines all the parameters it needs. By default it will use C:\Program Files (x86)\1E\ActiveEfficiency\Scout\Scout.exe.config, but an alternative config file can be specified using the ApplicationConfigFile argument on the Scout command line.
  5. Close DailyScheduledTask.xml, taking care that you haven't made any accidental changes while they were open (if you are prompted to save the file, don't!). Leave the Task Scheduler open as you'll use it in the next lab

Lab Summary

In this lab, you have learned how AppClarity integrates with ActiveEfficiency to get catalog updates from the ActiveEfficiency Cloud Service and to get inventory and software usage data collected by the ActiveEfficiency scout or agent. You have observed the ActiveEfficiency Connector as it retrieves data from ActiveEfficiency processes this into the main data tables in the AppClarity database. You have also seen how the various discovery and processing tasks can be scheduled for optimum currency of data.


Next Lab
Ex 6 - AppClarity 5.2 - Exploring Applications, Products and Installations