New hosted Mender release: Device Tags and Device Name
We are happy to announce that hosted Mender customers can enjoy two new features: Device Tags and Device Name. These features are available in all hosted Mender plans.
The new device Tags feature reduces the cost and time to maintain device information, while ensuring you have up-to-date source of truth about your devices in a single place.
Device Tags are simple key-value attributes attached to single devices. Mender has supported device Inventory for a while already, which are key-value attributes reported by the device. Device Tags complements this by being solely server-side, they are either typed in by the user in the UI or automatically synchronized with another service through the API. Device Tags are never sent to the device directly, rather you can see them from the Mender server, including applying filters, creating groups and deployments to devices based on them.
The most common use for Tags is to supplement some information about a device, such as the customer which owns the device or which building it is located in, without needing to implement some homegrown or 3rd party system to store this information. You can rather add it directly into Mender along with all the other relevant information about your device, saving the cost and hassle of keeping this separate over time.
Tags also opens the opportunity to synchronize device information from 3rd party systems, like ERP systems, into Mender so you can see it all in one place.
Scalability is ensured as Tags use the same underlying infrastructure as device Inventory, which has been in the field and optimized for several years already.
In Mender, devices are uniquely identified by their device Identity, which include key-value attributes, and the device MAC address is the default.
The device Identity attributes are customizable and scalable. However, they are not very human-friendly unless you are good at remembering MAC addresses. Therefore, to complement the Device identity attributes and improve usability for lower-scale or “special” devices (e.g. test/staging devices) we introduce a new concept called device Name.
In the Mender UI, you can now choose to identify your devices using the device Name just like you can for any Identity attribute. Under the Devices tab, click the “gear” icon in the column with the current Device identity attribute (e.g. mac).
Then choose Name.
Once done, your devices will show Name as the first column, which you can use to recognize the devices. You are also able to edit each name directly in the listing.
Under the hood, device Name is a special device Tag with key “name”. This means that you can see and edit it under Device information as well as filter and create dynamic groups based on it as well.