Contact Us Book Meeting

Data Collection Framework

The DCF is a custom application developed by our engineers to collect data from a number of inventory systems implemented across our client’s estates. This supplemental tool is designed to maximize our clients’ investments in whichever preferred discovery and inventory agents they already have deployed. This replaces manual and script-based collection methods which can be time consuming for our clients and are more vulnerable to errors and inconsistencies.

The DCF can be scheduled to run periodically, which means that once it is configured to our clients’ specifications, no manual effort on their part is required when collecting the data. However, as the data is collected on site, clients retain full control and can manually review the records, if necessary, before sending to Livingstone via our SFTP. The data is then processed by our data team and loaded into Hub where it is used to populate our intelligent dashboards and reports, review optimization opportunities, and to create effective license positions (ELPs).

The greatest advantage of using the DCF is the automation of data collection from multiple systems by a single application, while keeping the configuration in one place (it only needs to be installed on one machine).  Additionally, and crucially, it significantly reduces the volume of data that needs to be transmitted due to change detection being performed, meaning that only the changes each cycle are uploaded.


Data Processing

The DCF is able to connect to dozens of inventory tools and discovery agents, each of which will have its own data structure and preferred format. The DCF takes these non-standard datasets, and outputs standardized data which makes it easier for our internal teams and Hub to recognize, process, deduplicate, and transform the inventory data into actionable insights and advanced reporting. The DCF automatically performs change detection to reduce the amount of data being sent and processed each cycle, which significantly reduces processing time and ensures that Livingstone’s view of customer estates are always comprehensive and current.


Once we have the data, Hub maps the datasets from distinct inventory tools and discovery agents against one another, building up a through and holistic overview of an estate: deduplicated, current, and comprehensive. This is the starting point of our intelligent reporting, from here, the Hub can transform this overview into any number of valuable insights which will enable our customers to control and optimize their software and cloud estates. For more information on how the Hub uses this data, please click here.

Data Security

One key thing to note about our DCF tool is that it does not index an estate for hardware or software itself, instead, it connects to well established inventory tools and collects the data from those discovery agents. This is to say, the DCF is only concerned with the collection of data, rather than discovery. Customers can be assured that our collection, transfer, and storage of data is always undertaken using the most stringent security protocols while adhering to industry standard security and encryption practices.

For the data transfer, the DCF uses SFTP public key authentication to ensure that all data is transferred and encrypted/decrypted securely. For this, a pair of public and private key files are generated with only the public key disclosed to Livingstone: placing full control of customer data with the customer. The technology behind these keys is OpenSSH RSA 2048-bit asymmetric encryption, which is an industry standard.

For storage, any data that is received by the SFTP server is at rest on an encrypted storage drive using AES 256 encryption, which, again, is industry standard. We have additional processes in place to ensure that this data can only be accessed on the SFTP server by authorized Livingstone personnel, IT administrators, or automated processes that move the data off the SFTP server to be processed by Livingstone's Hub. Some of our international clients have additional security requirements which state that their data is to not leave the country of origin. For these clients, Livingstone maintain a number of international SFTP servers and instances of Hub though Amazon Web Services.


Our data handling practices have been certified secure by ISO27001. Please click here for more details. 


We Connect to 50+ Discovery Tools and Inventory Agents

We pride ourselves on our reach and our ability to connect with over 50 different discovery tools and inventory agents, some of which are displayed to the right. We can securely connect to multiple tools per customer and perform deduplication to ensure that while using multiple data sources, we provide a singular view into hardware, software, and cloud estates. We want to help our customers maximise the investments they have already made in thier preferred inventory agents, and offer a wide reaching range of connections to industry leading discovery tools. Our engineers are happy to build new connections to alternative tools should our range not quite capture a customer's requirement to cover the tool they have deployed in their system.

Want a full list of the tools we connect to? Please get in touch