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Method for Categorizing Networked Devices into Roles Using Partial Descriptions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000084343D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-02
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 23K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A method for categorizing networked devices into roles by using partial descriptions is disclosed. Quite often the available technical information about an organization?s computing assets is partial, representing more an approximation than a precise inventory. Being able to produce useful categorization of these networked systems despite the incompleteness of descriptive information helps improve the understanding and manageability of a networked computing infrastructure.

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Method for Categorizing Networked Devices into Roles Using Partial Descriptions

A method is disclosed to categorize networked devices into functional roles by combining partial device descriptions and known usage and attribute patterns associated with those roles.

Categorizing devices and computer systems in a network is fundamental to an organization's long or short term information technology goals. Quite often the available technical information about an organization's computing assets is partial, representing more an approximation than a precise inventory. Being able to produce useful categorization of these networked systems despite the incompleteness of descriptive information helps improve the understanding and manageability of a networked computing infrastructure.

The present categorization method combines pieces of information about networked devices from various sources and derives the functional roles which these devices play. Examples of roles relating to computing devices are "Server", "Personal workstation", "Networking infrastructure devices", and "File server", among others. Information on or relating to the devices is observed or collected from different sources as evidence. Specific emphasis is placed on direct and indirect indications of how a device is used by considering a device's capacity and size (a so-called resource silhouette), the services it is observed to provide, its platform type, among other attributes.

Device data is obtained from various sources. Each source represents a dimension of description. The categorization process is the integration of multiple dimensions of information on a device.

Rule evaluations are part of the process which classifies the collected attributes into categories. Rules are in the form of logical expressions which evaluate, combine or correlate any combination of attributes simultaneously. Rules are grouped together to form the test criteria for a specific functional role and are termed usage profiles. Usage profiles embody the signature of a device role. A device may match a profile on the basis of a single piece of evidence or on the sum of secondary indicators. A device may correspond to more than one usage profile and thus be a member of more than one role.

Both the choice of attributes to observe and the definition of usage profiles can incorporate expert domain knowledge about computing system roles in the presence of certain pieces of information.

An example of attribute and rule interaction is the collection of the number of users registered on a computer and knowing that the number of users ab...