Inventory Collection



Inventory Collection (ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection - subsequently called “IC”) is an object used by Refresh process. It represents types of inventory such as VM, Hardware, Operating system, Host etc.

Each IC is defined by persister (ManagerRefresh::Inventory::Persister), stored in a hash called @collections and accessible as persister’s method. It’s name is equal to the IC’s association property (will be described later). One persister usually contains many IC definitions.

Defining an Inventory Collection

We can split this process into following areas:

  • Persister’s helper
    • includes add_collection() interface common to all persisters derived from ManagerRefresh::Inventory::Persister
  • InventoryCollection Builder
    • set of classes used for definition of IC properties (through add_collection())
  • Common definitions
    • Definitions of ICs shared accross providers divided by provider’s type (cloud/infra etc.)
  • Provider specific definitions
    • Recommendations how to structure definitions specifical to provider and type of refresh

Persister’s helper

add_collection() method

This interface is intended to replace older interfaces add_inventory_collection() and has_inventory()

Entry point for creating IC definition. It defines parameters:

add_collection(builder_class, collection_name, extra_properties = {}, settings = {}, &block)

which we’ll see more detailed in this chapter.

It creates ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection and assigns it to persister’s @collections[:vms]

Method can throw exception ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::MissingModelClassError (described later)

- builder_class [mandatory]

There is a builder class for every manager type. Because they’re used as parameter of add_collection() they are wrapped to methods with short name (persister’s methods):

Note: Not all ICs defined in ..Builder::NetworkManager have to be called only from NetworkManager (e.g. in case of targeted refresh) etc.

add_collection(cloud, :vms)

Instantiates cloud builder class, searches for vms method in it, searches for ...::CloudManager::Vm as model_class property and discovers model_class attributes.

- collection_name [mandatory]

Name (also InventoryCollection.association) is unique identifier of IC definition (in scope of one persister).

It has several functions:

  • name of IC
  • key in persister’s @collections hash
  • name of persister’s public method
  • name of method in builder class with common properties (if exists)

Collection name is also used for automated assignments, such as:

  • :model_class (where are collected data persisted) [below]
  • :inventory_object_attributes - “columns” of model_class [below]

- extra_properties [optional]

Properties added to IC at top level priority.
It overwrites both shared and IC specific properties. Added by Builder#add_properties().

- settings [optional]

Mix of builder settings and shared properties for from ICs.
Shared properties are low-level IC’s properties common for all ICs defined in persister. They consist of advanced settings and shared options.

Builder settings can turn on/off various builder features.

Advanced settings

Contains shared properties from UI’s Configuration/Advanced settings, which can be set by user (typically :saver_strategy property).

Applied at lowest level priority so these properties cannot overwrite properties written in code.

Can be found in tab Advanced(yaml editor):

Shared options

Contains shared properties for all ICs defined in persister’s method shared_options(). Usually have properties :targeted, :strategy and parent

Applied at low level priority so these properties overwrites Advanced settings but doesn’t overwrite IC specific properties.

Builder settings
  • auto_inventory_attributes [Boolean] - Enables automatic settings of InventoryObject attributes (“columns” of model_class). Default: true
  • without_model_class [Boolean] - When true, disables automatic derivation of :model_class and doesn’t throw exception when not set manually. Default: false
add_collection(cloud, :vm_and_miq_template_ancestry, {}, {:auto_inventory_attributes => false, :without_model_class => true)

- block

Block will provide you instance of builder_class. It’s place where you can define specific properties. Described in next chapter.

add_collection(infra, :custom_ic_definition) do |builder|
  builder.add_properties(:model_class => ::MySpecialClass)

InventoryCollection Builder

Contains two basic things:

  • Methods for construction InventoryCollection with their properties
  • Common IC definitions usable accross providers
  • Subclasses with IC definitions usable for providers of certain type

Features for defining IC:

  • add_properties
    • basic function to add properties to IC
  • add_default_values
    • properties inside properties, usually containing lambdas with persister param.
    • fills IC object with predefined values
    • lambdas evaluated in persister’s add_collection()
  • automatic model_class derivation
  • automatic inventory object attributes derivation

You can see all functions described in spec link.

Automatic model_class

model_class property contains class where are stored data from inventory.
There are two attemps:

  • find provider specific class
  • find generic class

Provider specific class is composed by:

  • provider module of persister
    • e.g. ManageIQ::Providers::Amazon
  • manager module of builder
    • e.g. CloudManager
  • collection_name (association property) of IC
    • e.g. Vm
  • => ManageIQ::Providers::Amazon::CloudManager::Vm

If this class doesn’t exist, generic class Vm is tested for presence.

Note: Automatic choice is always overwritten by manual setting, either in common definitions or in provider specific definition.

If neither any class matches criteria nor model_class defined manually, add_collection throws ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::MissingModelClassError exception.
You can disable it by builder setting without_model_class => true.

Automatic InventoryObject attributes

inventory_object_attributes property contains possible columns of model_class. These attributes are constructed from setter methods of model_class (model_class#some_method=).
It fits 99% of IC definitions, for there rest you can use builder methods:

  • add_inventory_attributes
  • remove_inventory_attributes
  • clear_inventory_attributes

Or you can disable this feature by builder setting auto_inventory_attributes => false and define your own by methods above.

Common definitions

Many of IC definitions are common to 2+ providers, for example :vms. That’s why their properties were extracted to builder so defining IC in provider is then very simple.


Let’s look how it works:

add_collection(infra, :host_networks)

This simple definition performs following steps:

  • Infra builder == ::ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::InfraManager
  • It searches for ::ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::InfraManager#host_networks method
  • There is manually defined model_class ::Network
  • inventory_object_attributes are derived from ::Network class
    • Important: If model_class is defined in common definitions, provider specific class is not derived automatically even if it exists!

So properties given to InventoryCollection object are following:

  :association => :host_networks,
  :model_class => Network,
  :manager_ref => [:hardware, :ipaddress],
  :parent_inventory_collection => [:hosts],
  :inventory_object_attributes => [:id, :attributes, :device_id, :default_gateway, 
                                   :description, :destroyed_by_association, 
                                   :dhcp_enabled, :dhcp_server, :domain, :dns_server, 
                                   :guest_device, :guid, :hardware_id, :hostname, 
                                   :href_slug, :ipaddess, :ipv6address, :lease_expires, 
                                   :lease_obtained, :region_description, :region_number, 
  :default_values => {},
  :dependency_attributes => {}

Example 2

add_collection(infra, :host_networks) do |builder|
    :strategy => :local_db_find_references,
    :targeted => false
    :ems_id => 1

produces InventoryCollection attributes:

  :association => :host_networks,
  :model_class => Network,
  :manager_ref => [:hardware, :ipaddress],
  :parent_inventory_collection => [:hosts],
  :inventory_object_attributes => [<same as previous example>],
  :default_values => {:ems_id => 1},
  :dependency_attributes => {},
  :strategy => :local_db_find_references,
  :targeted => false

Provider specific definitions

Following conventions should be applied:

  • define collections belonging to CloudManager (using cloud Builder) in concern <persister’s path>/definitions/cloud_manager.rb
  • define collections belonging to NetworkManager (using network Builder) in concern <persister’s path>/definitions/network_manager.rb
  • define shared_options method with common properties, if possible
  • redefine targeted? method to true if it’s persister for targeted refresh


Let’s consider persister for cloud_manager in Amazon:

  • ManageIQ::Providers::Amazon::Inventory::Persister::TargetCollection

Simple definition of :vms is following:

add_collection(cloud, :vms)

It produces IC with attributes:

  :association => :vms,
  :strategy => :local_db_find_missing_references, 		# defined in shared_options()
  :targeted => true, 						# defined in shared_options()
  :parent   => <ManageIQ::Providers::Amazon::CloudManager>, 	# defined in shared_options()
  :saver_strategy => :default, # defined in ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::Shared#vms
  :model_class => ManageIQ::Providers::Amazon::CloudManager::Vm, # derived automatically
  :inventory_object_attributes => [...], 			 # derived automatically
  :default_values => {
    :ems_id   => 1234567, # defined as lambda block
    :vendor   => "amazon",
    :name     => "unknown",
    :location => "unknown"
  } # defined in ManagerRefresh::InventoryCollection::Builder::Shared#vms


add_collection() method is the way how to define InventoryCollection objects and add them to Persister. It simplifies definitions using several IC Builders and its common definitions.
Basic properties, like model class and its attributes can be derived automatically by name of persister’s class and builder’s class.

Persister’s methods has_inventory() and add_inventory_collection() are deprecated now.