Software Inventory Licensing Aggregator – Is Microsoft license management giving you a headache?

Software Inventory Licensing Aggregator

The most common question I have been asked, “How do we track Microsoft licenses in our environment?” From Service Providers who deploy Microsoft licensing on demand with the Microsoft SPLA program.

It is a common misunderstanding of what needs to be reported and more so how to track the consumption of the licenses.

In September 2015, Microsoft released Software Inventory Logging Aggregator. Software Inventory Logging Aggregator can be deployed in a data centre, to help track and manage Microsoft license consumption.

Whilst still in it’s infancy, the product relies on a Windows Feature, Software Inventory Logging, to upload the license data to the aggregator on a schedule.

Data is stored in a SQL database, and SILA (Software Inventory Logging Aggregator) is configured using Windows Powershell cmdlets. SIL (Software Inventory Logging) and the SIL Aggregator rely on SSL certificates for authenticated communication.

Data can be exported monthly to an excel spreadsheet, for reporting and/or compliance purposes.

Data SIL Collects Over Time

  • Unique Windows Server installs in your data center
  • FQDN
  • Identifying GUIDs
  • Number of physical processors and cores
  • Number of virtual processors (if a VM)
  • Model and Type of physical processors
  • If hyper threading is enabled on physical processors or not
  • Chassis serial number
  • High-water mark count, and identity, of simultaneously running Windows Server VMs (if a host running a hypervisor) on each host, over time
  • High-water mark count, and host name, of simultaneously running managed (System Center agent present) Windows Server VMs on each host, over time
  • Name of System Center agents installed on VMs counted in managed high-water mark
  • Count and location of SQL Server installations over time (only SKUs and editions that require a license)
  • Lists of software installed in Add/Remove Programs

I found SILA to be a useful tool to bring awareness and license tracking to data centre environments.

Deployment can be a little tedious with SSL certificates. Once configured correctly it is seamless to produce the required data for reporting/compliance purposes.

Arron Stebbing

Arron Stebbing

Arron is a VMware vExpert (2013-2016) and former VMware A/NZ vChampion (2011-2014). He is well versed in cloud technology, and has been a key contributor to architecting and building cloud services for some of Australia’s well known service providers. Arron is a regular speaker at events and community contributor. Follow @ArronStebbing on twitter and visit Arron Stebbing on LinkedIn
Arron Stebbing

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About Arron Stebbing

Arron is a VMware vExpert (2013-2016) and former VMware A/NZ vChampion (2011-2014). He is well versed in cloud technology, and has been a key contributor to architecting and building cloud services for some of Australia’s well known service providers. Arron is a regular speaker at events and community contributor. Follow @ArronStebbing on twitter and visit Arron Stebbing on LinkedIn
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7 Comments

  1. Hi Aaron.
    It seems that not many people have setup SIL successfully and blog about it. I just try to but fail transferring data to the aggregator. I am using a self-signed certificate, dont know if this is the problem.
    Any hints, tipps, tricks you experienced and want to share with me ?
    Thanks in advance / R.

    • Hi Roman

      I had some issues with self signed certificates myself – i think moved to a full ca environment which i got SIL working with.

      I will find some time to test more with self signed certificates and see if i can produce a follow up article with some tips and tricks for you.

      • It also doesn’t work for me with self-signed certificates, it could at least generate some error message to eventlog … :/

  2. Hi, I am attempting to test the SIL tool, but having the aggregator point to the physical host itself is turning out to be a security concern. Is there no way to configure the aggregator to pull the SIL data directly from the VMs?

    • Why? If the host and VM is yours? This a duty of the owner of that host, so he has to provide these reports anyway.

      • Thank you, I am testing this in a lab and the admins I am working with took issue with this point. Good to know this will not be an issue in a Production environment.

  3. Setting up a CA is not a trivial matter. If system requires that, MS needs to be more upfront about that or include some ability to use self-signed certs.

    The fact they are forcing folks to use this in order to claim Core Grants for Server 2016 is just nuts. There has to be an easier way for us as admins to get them the info.

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