Network discovery

A network discovery task aims to scan the the network and reports devices found to the GLPI server, so they can be added to the list of known assets.

Once part of the list of known assets, further information can be retrieved from SNMP enabled devices using Network inventory.

Overview

This task uses the following protocols to scan IP networks:

  • Arp local table request with arp -a command or ip neighbor show command

  • ICMP Echo (aka ping) with fallback on ICMP Timestamp scan 1

  • NetBIOS scan (if Net::NBName is available and proper credits provided)

  • SNMP scan (if Net::SNMP is available, and proper credits provided)

Any device replying to at least one of those protocols will be discovered, with minimal information, such as mac address and hostname.

Additionally, if the device replies to SNMP, the agent will attempt to identify it using various methods.

The primary method relies on retrieving the value of the dedicated SNMP variable (SNMPv2-MIB::sysObjectID.0), which is a constructor-specific OID identifying a given device model, and comparing it to the agent internal database (the sysobject.ids file, described in SNMP device IDS database).

If a match is found, model, type and manufacturer are added to the information reported to the GLPI server, allowing simple identification. If no match is found, various heuristics are performed in order to identify the device, with lower reliability.

A secondary method relies on GLPI Agent MibSupport feature which permits to implement dedicated perl module for any kind of device. As an example, when the sysObjectID is reported as linux with the 8072.3.2.10 model-specific suffix, the LinuxAppliance MibSupport module usage is triggered and permits to inventory Synology or Ubiquiti devices.

Discovered devices are then reported to the GLPI servers, where import rules are applied. Devices not matching any import criteria will be kept in a server list of ignored devices.

Running

Pre-requisite

The agent performing the task needs to have the netdiscovery module installed.

The agent performing the task needs network access the target networks, with forementioned protocols, as well as control access, for SNMP: just being able to send UDP packets to a device is not enough, if this device is configured to ignore them. It is even best to use an agent from the same network than the scanned devices so it can access the local system arp table.

As for any other server controlled task, the agent should use either managed or half-managed mode, as explained in Execution modes. If the task is server-triggered, the agent must run in managed mode, and its HTTP port should be reachable from the server.

Command-line execution

A network discovery task can be also performed without a GLPI server, allowing easier control and troubleshooting, with the glpi-netdiscovery command-line tool.

However, this command generates files which will have to be injected in GLPI server using glpi-injector command.

Efficiency concerns

Credentials

Unfortunately, there is no way to distinguish a failed SNMP authentication attempt on a device from the absence of a device. It means the agent will try each available credential against each IP address, in given order, and wait for timeout each time. The most efficient way to address this issue if to only use the relevant set of credentials, and reduce the specific SNMP timeout.

Threads number

In order to scan multiple addresses simultaneously, the agent can use multiple discovery threads. This allow multiple simultaneous request, but also increase resource usage on agent host.

Troubleshooting

  1. The task doesn't run at all

    1. The agent may be lacking the NetDiscovery module: run glpi-agent --list-tasks to check installed modules.

    2. There may be a server/agent communication issue: check you can reach the agent port (62354 by default) from the server host.

    3. The agent may be ignoring server requests, due to a a trust issue: check the agent logs for [http server] invalid request (untrusted address) message.

  2. The task runs, but agent logs show that SNMP is not used

    1. The agent may be lacking the required Net::SNMP perl module: run perl -MNet::SNMP on agent host to check, it should blocks.

    2. There may be no SNMP credentials associated to the network scanned.

  3. The task runs, but no devices get added to my inventory

    The reported items are insufficiently identified to be imported, according to your current import rules, check the list of ignored devices and the list of import rules on server side.

  4. The task runs, but my SNMP devices are not properly identified

    The agent probably lacks the device SNMP identifier in its internal database.

    Use glpi-netdiscovery executable with debug option on the device, get the value from its output, and add it to the sysobject.ids file, as described in SNMP device IDS database to fix the issue.

    glpi-netdiscovery --first 192.168.0.1 --last 192.168.0.1 --credentials version:2c,community:public --debug
    

    Output:

    ...
    [debug] partial match for sysobjectID .1.3.6.1.4.1.311.1.1.3.1.1 in database: unknown device ID
                                                       ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    
  5. Agent crashes

    This is likely to be a TLS multithreading issue. They are multiple ways to reduce the probability of such crash:

    1. make sure you only have one TLS perl stack installed on the agent host, preferably IO::Socket::SSL + Net::SSLeay. Having both stacks at once (IO::Socket::SSL + Net::SSLeay vs Net::SSL + Crypt::SSLeay) usually leads to unexpected results, even without thread usage

    2. use latest upstream release of IO::Socket::SSL, even if your distribution doesn't provide it

    3. reduce threads number during network discovery tasks

    However, the only actual solution currently is to disable SSL completely, using plain HTTP for agent/server communication. If the agent run on server host, that's usually not really a problem.

Footnotes

1

For ICMP Echo & ICMP timestamp definition, see RFC 792:

  • ICMP Echo messages have type 8 for requests and 0 for answers.

  • ICMP Timestamp messages have type 13 for requests and 14 for answers.