How to use automatic tagging

In addition to manually defining tags for Agent devices and software, it is possible to use automatic tagging facility for Windows -based Agents.

Applixure Agent reads information distributed to the Windows registry by Group Policy or other means, and passes on this tagging data to the Applixure service when the Agent synchronises with it. This tagging data is then automatically associated with the said Agent device in the reported Applixure data and, if removed from the Windows' registry, disassociated from it automatically.

Use of automatic tagging enables more dynamic way of maintaining custom information related to agent devices without having to manually define and maintain the information through Applixure Web UI. Using Applixure Group Policy template makes it possible to further target different set of devices with differing automatic tags by utilizing OU structure.

In this article, instructions are given for setting registry values manually for automatic tagging purposes whether by doing so individually or distributing necessary registry values by some systems management software and/or scripting.

Please note that if distributing any automatic tagging settings by Group Policy, policy-based settings will override any automatic tagging settings done directly into registry for the devices receiving those GPOs.

 

Modes of auto-tagging operation

Applixure auto-tagging functionality supports two different ways of defining automatically created tags: tag data read from a registry value and tag data explicitly given. Both can also be used at the same time.

 

Tag data read from the registry value

Auto-tagging currently supports making a reference to contents (data) of one specific registry value in one specific registry key which is then read in by the Applixure Agent upon Agent's startup as the value for the tag.

As an example, this could be used to read organisation's custom asset information written to each device's registry upon image deployment or some single state of the machine or application written automatically to registry during use.

To define automatic tag value read from the registry, you must create new registry key called Tags under Applixure's main registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Applixure, with the following registry values:

Value name Value type Data  Notes
ReadAutoTag REG_DWORD 1  
AutoTagKey REG_SZ

Registry key to read value from, e.g.:
"HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation"

Please note that only HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (or HKLM) registry hive is supported as destination.

AutoTagValue REG_SZ Registry value name to read data from, e.g.:
"TimeZoneKeyName"

Only following value types are supported for reading:

  • REG_SZ
  • REG_EXPANDSZ
  • REG_DWORD
  • REG_QWORD
AutoTagType  REG_SZ Tag value type (category) name for the read tag value, e.g.:
"Timezone"
Optional, tags without defined tag type name will be associated with nameless auto-tag type 

After creating these registry value, the registry should look like this:

auto-tags-1.png

Please note that the maximum length of the tag value in Applixure is 250 characters, and longer string values present in the registry value data will be truncated accordingly.

 

Tag data listed explicitly

Another possibility for defining multiple automatic tag values is to list them explicitly.

This makes it possible to associate multiple custom tag values per agent device, such as organisational units, cost centers or other meta information that you might want to maintain per agent basis and make it possible to change automatically when role or owner of the device changes.

While most automated and flexible way for this is to use Applixure Agent's Group Policy template, you can also define multiple automatic tags in the registry directly.

To define automatic tag values set directly for the Agent device, you must create new registry key called Tags under Applixure's main registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Applixure, with the following registry values:

Value name Value type Data  Notes
EnableAutoTags REG_DWORD 1  
AutoTags REG_MULTI_SZ

Tag values (with optional type), one per line:
"Department:Sales
Machine model:Basic laptop"

Tag type (category) name and the tag value is separated with colon (":"), first part being the tag type name and second the actual tag value.

If no colon is used, the whole line is read as the tag's value and associated with nameless automatic tag type.

After creating these registry value, the registry should look like this:

auto-tags-2.png

Automatic tags in the Web UI

In the Applixure Web UI, when looking at the individual Agent device, all automatic tags associated with it based on the information distributed in the manner described above will show up as tags with italic text alongside with manually defined normal tags:

auto-tags-ui-1.png

Unlike manually defined tags, automatic tags cannot be removed, edited or associated/disassociated with the Agent device through the UI. They are automatically created, associated, disassociated and finally removed (if no longer associated with any devices).

In the Tagging -section of the Environment's settings, you can view all currently defined automatic tags listed after manually defined tags but their properties cannot be changed:

auto-tags-ui-2.png

 

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