WSUS Inventory collects server information and status information from the WSUS server and populates that data into the Patch Manager database. This data is collected via the WSUS API. An inventory task must be executed in order to use reporting.
Create the WSUS Inventory Task
There are several methodologies that can be used to create a WSUS Inventory task, but the simplest is to right click on the WSUS node in the console, and select "WSUS Inventory" from the menu.
The first screen presented is the WSUS Inventory Options. They provide the ability to handle certain advanced or complex inventory needs, but in 99% of instances, these options will be left at the defaults. In a subsequent post I'll discuss these four options in greater detail. Click on Save.
On the next screen you have the standard Patch Manager dialog for scheduling the task. Schedule the inventory to occur as needed. Typically the WSUS Inventory task is performed daily, but there are scenarios in which you may wish to perform the inventory more, or less, frequently. Be careful not to schedule the WSUS Inventory concurrently with other major operations, such as backups or WSUS synchronization events.
WSUS Extended Inventory (Asset Inventory)
In addition to the WSUS server, update, and computer status data, it is also possible to collect asset inventory data via the WSUS Inventory task. If the WSUS server is configured to collect this asset inventory data, it will be automatically collected by the WSUS Inventory task. To enable the WSUS server to collect asset inventory data from clients, right-click on the WSUS node in the console, select "Configuration Options" from the menu, and enable the first option "Collect Extended Inventory Information".
Using System Reports
With the inventory task completed, you now have access to several dozen pre-defined report templates in the two report categories named "Windows Server Update Service" and "Windows Server Update Service Analytics". The data that is obtained from the WSUS server is re-schematized within the Patch Manager database, optimized for reporting, and presented as a collection of datasources that are used to build reports. To run a report, right click the desired report, and select "Run Report" from the context menu.
Category: Windows Server Update Services
In the "Windows Server Update Services" report category there are 24 inter-dependent datasources available. Ten of them provide 327 fields of basic update and computer information, along with WSUS server data. The fourteen datasources named "Update Services Computer..." provide access to 111 fields of asset inventory data collected by the WSUS Extended Inventory.
Category: Windows Server Update Services Analytics
In the "Windows Server Update Services Analytics" report category there are nine self-contained, independent, datasources. The "Computer Update Status" datasource is the basic collection, and the other eight are based on modifications of this datasource, either by adding additional fields, or filtering the data.
In subsequent articles we'll look in more detail at how to customize existing reports and how to build new reports, including a more in-depth look at datasources and the WSUS Inventory Options.
If you're not currently using Patch Manager in your WSUS enviroment, the rich reporting capabilities are a great reason to implement Patch Manager.