There’s lots of discussion in the Microsoft forums, myITforum mailing list and in the Windows-Noob forums (http://www.windows-noob.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9046-slow-software-inventory/) about how slow the software inventory cycle is in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Current Branch (CMCB) or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (CM12). The slow software inventory cycle in SCCM 2012 and CMCB is a hidden issue with Software Inventory and many people are not aware of how it will impact them.
What happened? In CMCB / CM12, software inventory was changed to be a low priority thread. This was done so that there would be a much smaller impact on client PCs. However, the major drawback is that it takes a very long time to complete the software inventory.
What else does this mean? Similar to CM07, the CMCB / CM12 client will only process 1 of the 4 inventory cycles at a time (hardware, software, software file collection, and discovery data collection). In my case, this can be a major headache if I need to perform a test and one of the steps is to force a hardware inventory when the software inventory cycle is in process.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, I forced a FULL hardware inventory cycle to occur on a PC around 1:30 p.m. However, CM12 did not perform the hardware inventory until after the software inventory cycle (which was already underway) was completed, and then it performed a software file collection inventory. By the way, the software file collection inventory didn’t take long at all because there was nothing to collect!
In the second screenshot you can see that the software inventory cycle took 4 hours (12:31pm – 4:35pm) to complete. This is actually fairly quick by CM12 standards. CMCB is no better as it uses the exact same processes.
At last the hardware inventory cycle was performed as soon as the software file collection cycle ended which I already indicated didn’t take long at all.
Given this delay and the value of the data returned, I don’t like using the software inventory cycle. I only have this cycle enabled for some client work. If not for this reason, I would recommend turning it off. Especially if you are like me and need to force a hardware inventory, you’ll have to wait for the slow software inventory cycle to complete.