Simple ideas are the best…

Network inventory of rack servers.

Network inventory of rack servers.Recently, one of our partners came back from a prospect and asked whether we can discover VMware annotations and custom attributes. On a VMware ESX(i) server, a user can add an annotation for each virtual machine describing its purpose. With VMware vCenter a user can add as many custom attributes to a VM. Custom attributes can be useful to define company internal information such as organization names or number to which this instance belongs or to define cost locations that get billed for a virtual machine. Virtually any information can be attached to a VM.

The propect was asking us whether we can collect this information. Technically, this is very simple. Although, the power of combining JDisc Discovery custom attributes with VMware’s custom attributes is so obvious, we haven’t thought about it. Just imagine, you discover all your virtual machines, collect all custom attributes defined within VMware and then use our custom reports to define your own reports based on VMware’s values. A report that lists all virtual machines belonging to an organization is then just a matter of a few mouse clicks.

We started to implement this feature and that’s how it’ll work: Whenever we discover an annotation or custom attribute from a VMware server, we create a new JDisc custom attribute that maps to VMware’s custom attribute. Whenever we collect a VMware custom attribute from a virtual machine, we store the value within a JDisc custom attribute. If the custom attribute does not exists, then JDisc creates it on the fly.

This powerful feature will make it into one of the next builds that we are going to release within  the next few weeks.

About The Author

Thomas Trenz
I own and manage JDisc and its network inventory and discovery products. Before I started JDisc, I worked quite a long time for Hewlett-Packard developing software for network assessments and inventory projects. Feel free to contact me on Linked-In or Xing.

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