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Using Normalized Software Titles in Service Manager

I’ve been using Normalize CM from BDNA to normalize my software and hardware information in SCCM for quite a while now. I’ve been very pleased with the data and reporting that this product is providing inside of Configuration Manager.

I have friends who are using the product, or variants thereof, from BDNA to normalize data across many products rather than just ConfigMgr. Hearing this made the little wheels in my head start turning. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could see the same normalized software titles in System Center Service Manager that I see in ConfigMgr? I asked. Seems like a fairly simple task so I set out to do just this.

This resulted in the creation of a custom management pack that can be imported into Service Manager, this management pack replaces the software info normally pulled from ConfigMgr with the same normalized titles that are available in my ConfigMgr reports.

The steps to do this are really easy, but there are some caveats to this particular blog. This blog is written assuming you’ve never created a ConfigMgr connector in Service Manager before. If you have previously done so there will be some extra steps. I’m not going to outline those here because there’s no one-size fits all answer. I’m happy to discuss these options with you offline if you are interested.

This solution has been tested using Service Manager 2010 and Service Manager 2012 with a ConfigMgr 2007 connector and using Normalize CM 3.01. If you are using ConfigMgr 2012 or Normalize CM 3.02 this blog is not going to work for you but I intend to blog that later. The steps will be the same but the management pack will need to be updated.

The first thing you’ll need to do is import the attached XML as a custom management pack. This process is pretty straight forward, simply navigate to the Administration node of the Service Manager console, go to management packs and select import. Browse to the xml you downloaded from this blog. Click “import” then “ok”. You will now see a new management pack called “BDNANormalizeCM” in your list of management packs.

You should next create a ConfigMgr connector in Service Manager. I could bore you with the details about how to do so and add a few screen shots here but I assume if you’ve made it thus far you already know how to create a connector. If not you can find details here. Once you created that connector taking all the defaults through the wizard you should “synchronize now”. A little lesson I learned the hard way, if working in a lab and creating new connectors to SCCM whether they be the default ones of this customized Normalize CM connector we are about to build select a collection with a small number of computers. The first time I did this I selected All Systems collection and it took 3 days to complete the initial sync. If you are in production make sure you’ve spec’d your service manager servers correctly and be prepared for this process to take a while.

Once the initial synchronization of the built-in ConfigMgr connector has completed you should see no software listed under configuration items>Software. This normal, don’t be alarmed.









Now it’s time to bring in our normalized software data. This time I will give you more detailed instructions but start out by opening the new connector wizard just like you did when you created the ConfigMgr connector earlier. From the create connector wizard select configuration manager connector and click next. I named mine “BDNA Custom Connector” but feel free to call it whatever you’d like. The next step is where things are a bit different from the previous connector that you created. Instead of select the default configuration manager management pack select the BDNANormalizeCM management pack from the dropdown list.











From here on through the wizard you’ll want to do exactly the same as when you created the default ConfigMgr management pack, ensuring you select the same collection as you previously selected.

Once you’ve created the custom BDNA Custom Connector you should run “synchronize now”. Once this has completed you’ll see that your Service Manager software data is not only populated but it’s populated with normalized software data. This data is available throughout Service Manager. Pretty cool huh?









Keep an eye out for my upcoming blogs that will show how I am even further integrating normalized data within the rest of the System Center suite.

Download the XML file:  BDNA Normalize CM

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