Thursday Sep 13, 2007

The Sun Connection Inventory Channel in a Nutshell

So you have a state-of-the-art enterprise data center that employs Sun products and serves clients across the country. Or, you have a mid-tier-sized business that uses a primary storage area network (SAN) and a remote storage location for backup. In either case, you have a number of Sun assets that need to be managed and maintained over time for the system to operate efficiently. Some things to consider are:

  • How to keep track of an ever-changing inventory
  • How to keep your inventory of hardware, firmware, and software up to date
  • How to maintain required licenses and renewals
  • How to easily share data about the system with other asset management tools
  • How to compare the system inventory with that of our vendor

Sun addresses these concerns with a lightweight inventory management tool, the Sun Connection Inventory Channel. This is a free web service for Sun customers to significantly decrease system management costs by automating
the IT inventory process. This allows you to focus more on the priorities of your business.

Some of the ways the Sun Connection Inventory Channel can help you are:

  • Register Sun software and system assets through an easy-to-use  browser interface at a single console with no setup required
  • Organize your assets based on location or business function and use inventory filters to view your product information
  • Generate reports on your products and export your product data to a variety of file formats for use with third party products

 The major elements to the Sun Connection Inventory Channel are:

  • Electronic labeling. The Sun Connection Inventory Channel uses digital identifiers called service tags to register Sun products. Service tags contain basic product information and can be embedded in the product software or firmware. You can download service tags for Solaris 8, 9, and 10. For more information, see the Service Tag FAQ
  • Discovery and registration. Product discovery and registration are done with a wizard-based tool at the Sun Connection Inventory Channel portal.
  • Managing your Sun assets. After discovery and registration, you can use the Sun Connection Inventory Channel to view, organize, manage, and generate standard reports from the data on your Sun products.

To get started, see the Sun Connection Inventory Channel portal. 

Monday Jul 16, 2007

Marley's day at the dog park

Steve Wilson challenged us to put yourselves on YouTube. While I'm not ready to post videos of myself, I am ready to put my dog out there. This really happened, so it seems like a good place to start.

Marley and I were at the dog park a couple of weeks ago and I was chatting with Sue while our dogs played. When she learned that I work at Sun, she asked me about Sun Connection's Inventory Channel. She wanted the inside scoop. We talked for quite awhile and I thought that we'd covered everything. I was surprised when Sue tracked me down at work the next morning (impressive, since she hadn't written down my name or number) and set up an impromptu conference call with one of her co-workers. We went through everything that we talked about at the park, and more.

What is Sun Connection's Inventory Channel?
It's a new web-based service that you can use to register one or more of your eligible IT assets at the same time, and then use it to manage your registered inventory.

How does registration work?
If Sun Service Tags are embedded in your software, hardware, or storage devices, you can register them. Service tags are very lightweight and don't do anything on their own, you control the registration.
To register:

  1. Get the Product Registration Manager.
  2. Go to the Inventory Channel and click Discover Now to find out what's available for registration. You can define the scan parameters, such as scan your local subnet, or enter specific subnets, host names, or IP addresses.
  3. Log in to the Inventory Channel with your Sun Online Account ID and select the product or products you want to register, then click Next to complete the registration.
  4. View your registered assets in the Inventory Channel. If you want to track other information, edit the asset details.

That's it. Once registered, you can group the assets and then export the information in an XML, CSV, or PDF format. Just what the boss wants, without manually updating a spreadsheet ...and, it's free. No cost, nada!

Get more information here, or check out this screen cast to learn how to manage and organize your registered assets.
Want to see Marley in action? Check out his YouTube video.

See you at the park!
Marley and Laura


Tuesday Jun 12, 2007

Sun Connection Inventory Channel Goes Live

The new Sun Connection Inventory Channel is up and running, enabling you to easily discover, register, and manage your Sun products. This is a pretty valuable service, whether you're trying to register a single installation of the Solaris OS, or trying to keep track of all the Sun products in a large network environment.

The whole process for working with the Inventory Channel looks something like this:

1. Set up your products to work with Service Tags.

Service Tags are a set of XML tags that store basic information about your Sun product and the environment in which they're installed. Some Sun products are currently enabled to work with Service Tags out of the box; other products require a patch or additional packages.

For more information about Service Tags, see the FAQ.

2.  Discover the Sun products in your environment.

Go to the Sun Connection Inventory Channel, and click the Discover Now button. The Inventory Channel registration client discovers the Sun products in your environment that are Service Tag enabled.

3. Register your Sun Products.

Once you discover the Sun products in your environment, upload your product information to Sun Connection to register your products.

4. Manage your Sun Products in Sun Connection.

After you register your products, you can perform a variety of management tasks through the Sun Connection web interface:

  • Organize your products in logical groups
  • Create product filters to zero in on particular products
  • Create PDF, XML, or comma-separated reports on your products
  • Track information updates on your products through RSS feeds
For a detailed review of this process, take a look at this animated tutorial





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