Glossary

This glossary contains terms that are relevant to BMC Helix Discovery.

Active Directory Windows proxy

A BMC Discovery application that runs on a customer-provided Windows host which is part of an Active Directory domain or workgroup. The user that the discovery service runs as is configured after the Windows proxy is installed. Where that user is configured on hosts in the domain, the Windows proxy can log in and run discovery commands. The Active Directory Windows proxy does not use any credentials that are entered using the BMC Discovery user interface.

application map

A dynamic, automatically maintained representation of application structures in your environment. An effective application map identifies the key relationships between how your business operates and the infrastructure that supports it. It also becomes the initial, crucial part of Service Impact Analysis by maintaining accurate service models for BSM.

blackout window

A configuration that enables you to prevent access to the CMDB during sensitive times. During a blackout window, all processing of the CMDB synchronization queue is paused, and processing cannot resume until the window ends.

BMC Discovery

Automates the process of populating the BMC Configuration Management Database (BMC CMDB) by exploring IT systems to identify hardware and software, and then creating configuration items (CIs) and relationships from the discovered data.

bonding

Enables you to join two NICs as a single physical device so that they appear as one interface. This is usually performed to provide failover capabilities or load balancing. Also known as teaming.

Collaborative Application Mapping

The process of investigating and understanding the applications in an estate, and creating the model that represents of the application in the datastore.

command-line utility

A tool that you can run on a command-line interface to configure BMC Discovery by obtaining information from specific systems.

component

A general term that is used to mean one part of something more complex. For example, a computer system might be a component of an IT service, and an application might be a component in an application server.

consolidation

The playback of scanned data from multiple scanning appliances to a single consolidation appliance.

Credential Windows proxy

A BMC Discovery application that runs on a customer-provided Windows host and uses credentials supplied by the BMC Discovery appliance to perform Windows discovery.

data aging

Discovered data is regarded as valid at the time of its last successful scan. The nature of IT infrastructure means that frequent, minor changes to configurations, hosts, and software are common. Consequently, discovered data can be regarded as becoming less current with the passing of time. In BMC Discovery when data passes a certain configurable aging threshold, it is destroyed.

Data Integration Point (DIP)

Code that handles communication with target systems. BMC Discovery connects to target systems in defined ways (such as through JDBC drivers, a protocol, or specific credentials), and that connection is determined by the DIP.

datastore

All data used by the BMC Discovery system is held in an object database. The datastore treats data as a set of objects and the relationships between them.

Directly Discovered Data

Data that the Discovery Engine has discovered that has been parsed but not processed. Although the information is not yet classified or understood, it is stored in a structured form that can be queried and reported on, making it easy to construct certain kinds of discovery reports and to develop new patterns.

development appliance (on the customer site)

The appliance on the customer site to test the custom patterns and other customer-specific configurations prior to deploying changes to BMC Discovery on the production environment. The changes are deployed in the customer's production environment only after verifying and confirming that the development appliance is stable and functions as intended.

Discovery

The part of the BMC Discovery system that communicates with host systems, and obtains information from them. Discovery is driven by Reasoning which infers detailed information about hosts and programs and populates the datastore. See also Reasoning Engine.

Discovery endpoint

The endpoint of a single Discovery access, the IP address of the discovery target.

Discovery Run

A scan of one or more Discovery endpoints, specified as an IP address, address, or range of addresses that are scanned as an entity. For each Discovery Run, a node is created that records information such as the user who started the run, the start and end time, and so forth.

event

A change or action that affects the discovery process, such as a software instance that was created or updated. In BMC Discovery, the Rules Engine (ECA Engine) executes rules in response to events.

External events

An event received from an external system used to trigger a pattern.

functional component

A node created by patterns based on Functional Component Definitions. The functional component is a single block of information that combines similar functionality into logical groups that help application owners and data consumers discover applications at discovery time.

Functional Component Definition

The specification that is used to create a functional component. Functional Component Definitions (FCDs) help application owners and data consumers define and develop application structures. The primary goal of an FCD is to help provide tangible data to BMC Discovery during an iterative and collaborative application modeling process to build an appropriate application model.

host

A node in the model which represents a physical or virtual computer system including information about its OS and its physical or virtual hardware. A host is sometimes referred to as an OSI (Operating System Instance). See Glossary.

ID

A unique identifier for a node (also known as a node ID). For a BMC Discovery node, an internal identifier that is used as an index by the database. It is a binary identifier represented in hexadecimal format. An ID is not intended to be human-readable; it is designed to be used by the datastore (for example, 4e4fd2c2ae4ccf123272d8446e486f7374. It identifies a stored node, not the item that the node represents. If the node corresponding to an entity is destroyed, and a new node is subsequently created for it, the new node will have a different ID, but it will have the same key.

inferencing

The act of drawing conclusions about data based on what is known about other data.

key

A unique identifier for the entity that a node represents. Unlike the node ID, the key of a node is persistent.

kind

The type of a node, such as Host or Person. Also referred to as node kind.

lifecycle

The conditions that describe when an entity comes into existence to when it no longer exists. For nodes in the BMC Discovery model, the lifecycle stages are:

  • Current — Describes nodes that exist in the model. BMC Discovery contains evidence that nodes currently exist in your environment.
  • Aging — Describes nodes that exist in your model; however, they represent entities that BMC Discovery has not detected in a certain period of time, and has 'aged out' of the model. BMC Discovery does not always age entities that it cannot identify over a period of time.
  • Destroyed — Describes nodes that have been marked as destroyed (yet remain in the model).
  • Purged — Describes destroyed nodes that have been purged from the model. Purging a node indicates that it no longer exists in the model and it has been removed from the datastore.

logical host

A hardware or software host that is contained in a virtual machine (software), a collaborating host in a cluster (hardware) or a blade in a blade server (hardware).

Model rule

Rules used in visualizations and Start anywhere application modeling.

node

An object in the BMC Discovery datastore that represents an entity in the environment. Nodes have a kind, such as 'Host', and a number of named attributes. Nodes can be connected to other nodes using relationships. Most node kinds have a key that uniquely identifies the entity in the environment.

node ID

See ID.

node kind

The type of a node, such as a Host or Software Instance. The default set of nodes and their associated attributes and relationships are defined in the BMC Discovery taxonomy.

pattern

In BMC Discovery, the Pattern Language (TPL) creates and maintains the model. Each pattern in TPL has a corresponding pattern node in the model, which is related to the nodes that the pattern maintains. Patterns are used to extend the functionality of the reasoning engine.

production hours

The core business hours corresponding to a specific time zone. Typically, Discovery scans are scheduled at non-production hours to avoid any potential impact on the BMC Discovery end users, or target critical systems when they are the busiest, or schedule any CMDB synchronization black-out windows to avoid impacting the AR System and CMDB end users.

provenance

Meta-information describing how inferred information came to exist. It is generated as Reasoning builds and maintains the model. Provenance information is stored as relationships in the model.

Reasoning Engine

An event-based engine that orchestrates and drives the population of different parts of the data model through a series of rules that make up the core functionality of the BMC Discovery product. It is extensible through the use of patterns.

relationship

The way that objects are associated with each other. Relationships are non-directional, and are defined by the roles represented by each object. They are stored in the datastore in the format Node:Role:RelationshipLink:Role:Node.

The connection between two roles in a relationship.

RemQuery

A utility that enables you to execute commands on remote Windows hosts in a similar way to the commercial PsExec utility.

When BMC Discovery requests a discovery action using the RemQuery utility, RemQuery copies a binary (itself) to the ADMIN$ share on the target system, and then installs and runs that binary as a service. Each of these steps requires Local Administrator permissions. The service is then used to execute the discovery scripts. At the end of the scan, the service is stopped and uninstalled, but the executable is left in the ADMIN$ share. If a copy already exists, it is not copied again.

removal

The concept of taking data out of the model using one or more of the BMC Discovery lifecycle methodologies (Aging, Destroyed or Purged).

role

The responsibility or actions of the relationship between two nodes. A node with a relationship to another node acts in a role in the relationship, which indicates its part of the relationship. For example, in a 'Dependency' relationship, one node has the role 'Dependent' and the other has the role 'DependedUpon'.

Rules Engine

Another term used to describe the Reasoning Engine. The Rules Engine processes the rules that are generated from Patterns, in order to maintain the model. The Rules Engine is an Event Condition Action (ECA) engine.

rules

Small fragments of executable code that run in the Rules Engine in BMC Discovery. Rules are generated from patterns when they are activated. Additional core rules are distributed with BMC Discovery.

scanner file

A scanner file is a plain text file that is used to simulate the discovery of a system that is unreachable, or one that you are not permitted to scan. You create a scanner file by running the standard discovery commands on a host and saving the output. Only the standard discovery commands are run on the host; information that is discovered by patterns is not available.

seed data

In Collaborative Application Mapping, a small sample of host names that are involved in the application or component names. The goal of finding seed data is to provide just a few pieces of information to the application owner (typically communicated through e-mail or instant message) that are clues to help determine what to start investigating.

session establishment duration

The time it takes to establish a session to log in to the host. See also Total Duration and Total Discovery Duration.

Start anywhere application modeling

Start anywhere application modeling is a new approach to application modelling, which enables you to choose any entry point, or points into an application, and begin modeling from there. For robust applications, logical entry points differ depending on the view of the user. For example, an application owner might choose where the data is stored as the best entry point, and a user of the application might choose the server to which they connect to access the application. The start anywhere approach also prevents parts of applications from being missed if they are not currently connected to an entry point, such as a URL, which may lead to a load balanced service or web server. You might also choose multiple entry points to model the application.

taxonomy

The template defining the nodes, attributes, and relationships used by BMC Discovery and stored in the datastore. The BMC Discovery taxonomy also defines how much of the data model is represented in the user interface.

total discovery duration

The time it takes to establish a session and to run commands. See also Session Establishment Duration and Total Duration.

total duration

The time it takes to discover and process the data from the target (the duration between the start and end times). See also Session Establishment Duration and Total Discovery Duration.

trigger

The conditions under which a pattern executes. Triggers correspond to the creation, confirmation, modification, or destruction of a node.

Windows proxy

A discovery proxy that is installed on a Windows system, on which the discovery process is controlled by a Linux-based appliance (known as the master). See Active Directory Windows proxy and Credential Windows proxy.

 

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