Get started with Discovery

Discovery finds computers, servers, printers, and a variety of IP-enabled devices, and the applications that run on them. It can then update the CIs in your CMDB with the data it collects.

Discovery uses probes, sensors, and optionally, information contained in patterns, to explore any given computer or device, starting first with basic probes and then using more specific probes as it learns more. Starting with the Helsinki release, Discovery can also use patterns, which are a sequence of steps that Discovery uses to identify CIs and make updates to the CMDB.

Discovery phases

Discovery, also known as horizontal discovery, follows these phases:
  • Scanning
    Discovery sends the Shazzam probe to the network to see if specified ports are open on the network and if they can respond to queries. For example, if Shazzam finds a device that responds on port 135, Discovery knows that it is a Windows server.
  • Classification
    If Discovery finds devices, it continues to send probes to find the type of device at each IP address. For example, Discovery would send the WMI probe, which is used for Windows devices, and find out that the Windows operating system on this server is running Windows 2012. Classifiers specify which trigger probes to run for identification and exploration.
  • Identification
    Discovery tries to gather more information about the device, looks at those attributes, determines if it has a CI in the CMDB, and reconciles that information by either updating the CI or creating a new CI. Discovery can use additional probes and sensors to do this, or it can use the operations that you configure in patterns. Identifiers specify the attributes that the probes look at when reconciling data with the CIs in the CMDB.
  • Exploration
    Discovery tries to gather information about applications running on the device, and attributes about the device, such as memory, network cards, drivers, etc. Discovery then maps applications to devices and to other applications. In this phase, Discovery also uses additional probes and sensors, or it can use the operations that you configure in patterns.

Horizontal discovery and top-down discovery

The Discovery application performs horizontal discovery, which means that it finds devices on your network and several attributes about those devices including the operating system, software, memory, etc. It can also establish relationships between the applications and the device, and between applications. But it does not draw relationships between CIs that are part of specific business services.

This contrasts with top-down discovery, which Service Mapping performs. Top-down discovery finds and maps CIs that are part of business services in your organization, such as an email service. Service Mapping utilizes horizontal discovery to find devices in the scanning and classification phases, and top-down discovery to map business services.

You can use the pattern designer to create patterns. Starting with the Istanbul release, both Discovery and Service Mapping can use the same pattern; however, you define steps in the pattern differently for the two applications.