FAQs and additional resources
The following topics provide answers to frequently asked questions about BMC Helix Discovery:
What is the performance impact of running BMC Helix Discovery?
Running BMC Helix Discovery should have a minimal impact on your environment. The discovery techniques used are non-intrusive, lightweight, and agent-free.
What can BMC Helix Discovery discover in the network?
BMC Helix Discovery is IP-based and can discover any host system with an IP connection including servers, workstations, network nodes, printers, wireless access points, and so on. In actuality, though, we aim BMC Helix Discovery at datacenter discovery, and it is optimized to that purpose. For this reason, we do not explicitly support more client-side items, such as wireless access points, workstations and so on. Any support for those that does exist is a side effect of our support for server-side discovery, and we're unlikely to invest in improving it.
What discovery techniques do you use?
BMC Helix Discovery uses a range of discovery techniques where appropriate. These include:
- Network scanning (looking for services on well-known TCP and UDP ports on IP-reachable machines).
- Remote command execution (looking at specific processes running on each node, querying package managers and querying established inter-process communications mechanisms).
- SNMP (MIBs provide a rich source of management information).
Will any network security need to be disabled for the discovery process?
Obviously, the BMC Helix Discovery appliance needs to be able to reach areas of the network in order to discover hosts. However various methods of providing secure access are possible without disabling firewalls and access control policies, including using VPN tunnels and using Windows proxy BMC Helix Discovery appliances. Some IDS systems might identify certain activities (such as port scans) as suspicious.
What is the impact of my applications running on platforms that are not supported by BMC Helix Discovery?
The discovery process will identify endpoints on such computers if they are visible from other hosts. You will need to complete details of programs running on them manually, though it might also be possible to categorize some of the components of the applications running on the unsupported platform either by which port it, or its counterpart, is listening on.
Can the product introduce any risk into my network or application infrastructure?
To provide a clear picture of your total IT infrastructure, BMC Helix Discovery will actually reduce risk in your network by allowing you to weed out rogue elements that do not meet corporate policy, are out of date or provide potential security holes.
The BMC Helix Discovery discovery process uses standard techniques that should not de-stabilize elements of the infrastructure.
Since there are always risks with deploying new technology, BMC's implementation plan involves analyzing areas of potential risk and achieving the right balance of risk and reward. BMC's test plan is also aimed at minimizing risk, ideally including testing in the customer's test environment.
Do I need to install any software on other computers?
The BMC Helix Discovery ethos is agent-free management. BMC does not believe the logistical challenges associated with having an agent on every node is justifiable, so no BMC Helix Discovery-specific software needs to be installed on other computers. The BMC Helix Discovery user interface is entirely web-based.
Why is agent-free discovery so important?
Agent-based discovery relies upon a level of control of asset deployment that does not exist in most businesses. It also implies a significant cost overhead to maintain agents on each platform, including approving, testing and deploying the agents. Finally, agents might not be available for the range of target platforms that your organization uses. We use standard techniques that have individually been authorized and deployed.
Does BMC Helix Discovery integrate with other products?
Yes, BMC Helix Discovery integrates with the following products:
- BMC CMDB: BMC Helix Discovery can synchronize discovered data to BMC CMDB using CMDB synchronization.
- Rest API: The REST API is intended to be used by a script or program that wants to interact with and control a BMC Helix Discovery appliance from a remote machine.
If you forget your user interface (UI) password to log in to BMC Helix Discovery, you can reset the password at the command line.
If you have any other questions about BMC Helix Discovery, contact Customer Support.