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Machine ID Settings in LabStats

LabStats has a couple of settings that can be very useful for maintaining your instance and keeping duplicate stations to a minimum:

  • Hostnames are Unique
  • Serial Numbers are Unique

Used properly, these settings can heavily reduce the amount of time spent massaging stations into the proper state for accurate gathering of data. They’re mainly designed for stations with multiple MAC Addresses (like having multiple NICs or USB wifi devices, for example), though they can be used as a fallback option for managing non-persistent VM environments. Reach out to us at if you’d like to further explore that possibility.

You can find these settings under Admin > Settings > Client Settings. Before activating either of these options, please review the explanation of how they work below to identify if they will do what you are looking for. We’ll start off with standard check-in behavior.


When a station checks-in, the first thing that LabStats does is look at the MAC Address and compare that with the MAC Addresses that it already has on record.

  • If there is a match, it simply assigns the incoming data to the existing station.
  • If there isn’t a match, a new station is created with the information that LabStats received. Usage data coming in under that MAC Address will then be tracked as part of the new station going forward.

This can lead to duplicate stations if a machine has certain multiple MAC Address configurations. A good example of this would be laptops, as they have both a wired and wireless option for internet connection and therefore have two MAC Addresses. The same would apply to a desktop machine that has a wireless connection option.

Machine Identification Settings

In order to manage these configurations, we have the Machine ID settings. Under Admin > Settings > Client Settings, you’ll find the Machine ID section with three checkboxes. The top two are the important ones here, one being “Hostnames are Unique” and the second “Serial Numbers are Unique”. They perform a very similar function, because they both add an extra step to the station identification process. Here are three examples to demonstrate how things would work if the “Hostnames are Unique” option is checked. For Serial Numbers, the same applies, but using the Serial Number instead of the Hostname.

  1. A machine checks-in, and the MAC Address matches an existing station in LabStats. LabStats will immediately attribute that data to the existing station, and the process ends. This is exactly the same as if the “Hostnames are Unique” option wasn’t checked.
  2. A machine checks-in, but it’s a laptop. When LabStats was first installed, it was connected via an ethernet cable, and this time, it is connecting wirelessly. As far as LabStats knows, it’s just a new MAC Address, but with the “Hostnames are Unique” option checked, it will look one level further. LabStats will now look at the Hostname and see if it can find a match in the database. Since this laptop has checked in before, it finds a match and simply puts the new MAC Address and usage data under the existing station. This station now has two MAC Addresses listed for it, and any data coming in under either will be put here in the future with no need to check the Hostname again. Future check-ins under either MAC Address will simply follow the previous example.
  3. A machine checks-in which has not checked-in to LabStats before. LabStats first checks the MAC Address, and finds no matches. It then checks the Hostname, and still finds no matches. At this point, LabStats creates a new station for this data to be tracked under.

Since they perform the exact same function, the “Hostnames are Unique” and “Serial Numbers are Unique” options should not be used at the same time.

It is also not recommended that they be turned on indefinitely – it is better to turn them on when needed, like while bringing a cart of new laptops online, because you can run into unintended merging with these settings.

With the Hostnames are Unique option; if you have new computers with Hostnames that match their old counterparts, for example, you could have an unintended merge that now requires further work to separate in the event you wish to reuse the old computer.

With the Serial Numbers are Unique option; there are cases where LabStats cannot pull a serial number and so it will be recorded as a blank value. As far as the database is concerned, all records that have blank values have the same serial number and so they would be merged together instead of creating separate records.

If you have further questions, please reach out to us at any time. You can also call us at (208) 473-2222 opt. 2, open up a live chat, or submit a ticket directly. We’re happy to discuss your unique environment with you, explain how best to configure things, and ensure that you’re gathering data in the best way possible!

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