Configuring usage data collection
To help BMC Software better understand the ways in which BMC Discovery is used in customer environments, the Usage Data Collection feature enables submission of anonymous usage data to BMC Software.
This section describes how to configure usage data collection:
Usage data submission
By default, usage data collection is not activated on the appliance. On activation, the appliance submits usage data once every seven days through the customer's web browser. Ten seconds prior to an attempted submission, the Discovery user interface (below the Logout button) displays a message showing the time remaining until the next submission.
To postpone the submission for a day, click not today. Click more info to pause the countdown and show the data to be submitted.
The data sent to BMC Software is totally anonymous. An appliance ID is used, but the appliance cannot be identified from the appliance ID, it is only used to group submissions from the same appliance. The webserver to which the data is sent is configured not to record the source IP address of submitted data.
BMC Discovery is a high risk system that has access to some very sensitive data in my data center—why does BMC have functionality to share information from BMC Discovery across the internet?
The critical point to notice here is that BMC Discovery is not sharing any sensitive data—there are no details in the data about your environment or IT, and there is nothing in the data that can identify its source. Even the web servers at BMC that receive the submissions of the data are configured to discard (that is, to not log) the originating IP addresses, so that we at BMC would be unable to tie a submission to the customer that submitted it even if we wanted to.
The reason that we have this functionality is so that we can see how our customers use the software, and how to optimally make improvements to it—this will be to your direct benefit, as we can ensure we cater to environments of your size.
What is and what can be sent to BMC?
The data that is communicated back to BMC falls into two categories:
- Statistical usage information—Information such as the version of BMC Discovery, the number of discovery runs configured in BMC Discovery, the number of credentials, which reports are used, the number of different types of items discovered (that is, the server count, switch count, and so on) and how many of those are synchronized to a CMDB.
- SNMP Recognition Rules—Enable or disable this item as required. When you associate a sysOID with a device vendor and model name using the new SNMP recognition rules functionality, that data is sent to BMC for us to include in our content. In this way, other customers will benefit from your capturing this information, and you will benefit from all of the work that they do.
One of the items we send back is the applianceID—the consolidation ID that is generated by your appliance—and we use it to tell when we have received multiple submissions from the same BMC Discovery appliance. We cannot use the ID to identify you, as we never receive that ID from you through any other avenue.
Isn't this a half open backdoor that could be exploited further?
Absolutely not. The data to be sent is hard-coded and displayed in its entirety in the UI. The phone-home logic gathers the data it was written to gather, and then it makes an HTTP POST to the BMC webserver to submit it (using a form submission). It does not receive any result from BMC that it then processes, and there is no facility for BMC to instruct the appliance on what data to send.
How can I ensure that this functionality is not switched on by mistake?
We hope that, having read this FAQ, you'll be happy to switch it on deliberately! If you decide not to participate then you can turn the feature off and it will never ask again to be turned on. Further, only somebody with System permissions can enable this feature which protects you from unauthorized staff switching it on.
Managing usage data collection
You can manage data collection by navigating from the main menu, click the Administration icon. The Administration page displays. From the Appliance section, click Configuration. Click Usage Data Collection tab. The following table describes the fields and their corresponding functions on the Usage Data Collection tab:
Displays whether usage data collection is activated or not, who made the previous change, and when.
Activating this option adds an unobtrusive feedback button to every page. The feedback button opens a User Feedback page. Feedback is submitted anonymously and contains minimal additional information, such as UI page, Product, Edition and Version.
Displays the data submitted by the appliance. The submitted data includes the following:
Recent Submission History
The previous ten data submission history and links to the corresponding audit report.
Activate, Deactivate, and Cancel
To activate usage data collection, click Activate.
Activating and deactivating the Usage Data Collection feature
To activate or deactivate usage data collection, you must have permissions to write system settings (
system/settings/write). After the initial deployment, when you log on to BMC Discovery, a Usage Data Collection popup window asks you to activate the feature. Select one of the following options:
- Activate—Activates the feature and allows submission of anonymous usage data.
- Not now—Postpones the decision to activate the feature until later. The popup window prompt will continue to appear until you activate or deactivate the feature.
- here—Displays the Usage Data Collection tab which shows the data that would be submitted on activation.
Subsequent activation and deactivation of the Usage Data Collection
You can choose to deactivate the feature from the Usage Data Collection tab by clicking Deactivate. If you want to active the feature again, click Activate.