Products, components, and bundles

BigFix Inventory discovers software components, and bundles them to products basing on the data contained in the software catalog. Get familiar with these notions to understand the capabilities and performance of BigFix Inventory.

Software catalog
A software catalog is a collection of the definitions of software products, their relations and data (signatures) that are used to detect software as installed or used in an IT environment.

An initial software catalog is included in the tool. You must update it regularly. HCL delivers and maintains the Software Catalog that includes a set of IBM and non-IBM product definitions and signatures.

The following diagram represents the catalog definition for the product Product X. It shows how the various catalog definitions are related and how they provide a structure that supports identification of the software.

Software catalog structure for Product X

The catalog also contains information indicating what license metric each product uses and how the license quantity is calculated.

The software catalog is a knowledge database that contains information about:
Software product (Offering)
A software product is a logical unit of software packaging and sharing that has a managed development and maintenance lifecycle and customer visible attributes. It can be a collection of components, software products whose licensing can be dependent on the licensing of the offering as a whole.
A component is a unit of software that can be detected as installed or running on computer systems independently of other software items. It can be a part of a software product, and might be separately identified, but is not individually licensed.
A signature is a unique set of data that is used to discover a given release of the software component. It is used to identify a distributed software release as installed or running on a computer system. There are two types of signatures:
  • Inventory recognition signatures detect if a product or component release is installed on the system.
  • Usage monitoring signatures detect if a product or component release is running on the system.

A signature can be a file, registry entry, or another identifier, that acts as a fingerprint for identifying software products. The catalog can be augmented with information about custom or proprietary software products in your IT environment.

A hierarchy is a structure that represents software versions, releases, and variations.
A bundle is set of products that are offered under a single entitlement or license with no dedicated components. In the catalog, a bundle is modeled as a software product with setup relationships to all of the software products that it consists of.

When a file system is scanned, components are discovered by matching the relevant information against signatures that are defined in the catalog. Basing on the match, the most suitable product is selected for each component. You can change the default bundling on the Software Classification panel.