IT Asset Management systems require constant monitoring over assets. As assets are added, updated and deleted in the system, the monitoring system must adapt and depict assets’ current status. With most IT asset management systems, assets data is pushed from the asset to the monitoring system periodically. Such data contains various indicators in addition to identifying information.
Duplicate assets are a result of the monitoring system’s inability to identify an incoming request. When an incoming request, obtaining an asset’s current data, is mistakenly identified as a new asset instead of a repeated asset, the monitoring system will create a new entry instead of updating an existing one.
In order to minimize the chance of this failure, monitoring systems use various methods to try and make sure each asset’s request is properly identified. Such methods include an accurate identification of assets attributes (name, serial number, macaddr and more), or a unique identification of the monitoring agent that is running on a specific asset.
Still, these methods are not full proof. Agent unique identification, can be achieved by allocating a unique id for the agent at installation time, or having the central system allocate such an id for the agent. Both methods have failure points when assets are cloned, and rely on further identification of asset attributes.
Using asset attributes to uniquely identify an asset, has failure points as well. Some sites do not use a unique serial number or mac address to identify assets. In addition, assets names change over time.
It seems that the best practice to minimize the chance of seeing duplicated assets in a monitoring system, is to use a combination of the above methods.