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When you collect data from one of your Systems, NIM queries that system, retrieves its current dataset, and loads it into the Vault. A system's data in the NIM vault is then interpreted through the system's data model (see Data models) for use in Filters and other features.

To get started, Collect and load a system.

In addition to performing manual collections, you can configure NIM to perform automated collections. For example, as part of Sync tasks.

Note that there is an important distinction between collecting and loading data. They are not identical operations. Collecting data necessarily loads the collected data into the vault, but loading data does not necessarily collect new data. It is possible to Load a past system collection without performing a new collection. To view all past system collections that are available to be loaded, View past system collections.

Loading a past system collection into the vault is a relatively uncommon procedure. One scenario is when a system's current data has become invalidated or corrupted, and you want to use NIM to provision old data into the system, to roll it back to a previous state. Another reason is to investigate the collection history, to figure out when or why something changed in a target account due to differences between collections.


You should collect data often, especially after altering a system's configuration or data model. There is little to no downside involved in collecting data, and it ensures that the vault is up to date.

Every time a collection occurs, a new folder is created for it in C:\ProgramData\Tools4ever\NIM\sysdata\systems\<system>\<YYYYMMDDHHMMSS>. These folders and all collected data are retained indefinitely. If necessary, you can reload them at any time.

Collection guards in NIM is a crucial tool for maintaining the integrity and reliability of data within systems. They act as sentinels, ensuring that only the expected changes, within defined thresholds, occur in your data collections. Here's how you can effectively use collection guards on a system configured in NIM.

  1. Accessing Guards

    To configure guards for a system, you first need to navigate to the system of interest. Once inside the system's configuration, locate and click on the "Guards" tab. This area is your control panel for setting up and managing your collection guards.

  2. Understanding Guards

    Within the Guards tab, you'll find options for setting up table guards. One of the most critical features here is the "[default]" guard. This is a catch-all guard that applies to any table within your system that does not have a specific guard assigned to it. It's a foundational safety measure, ensuring that even unmonitored tables have a basic level of protection.

  3. Creating and Configuring Default Guard

    To set up a "[default]" guard, you will typically be required to specify certain parameters that define what is considered a normal change in your data. This could be a specific number or percentage difference from the previous successful import. For instance, you might configure the default guard to trigger an alert if any table changes more than 10% from its last import.

  4. Overriding Default Guards with Specific Table Guards

    While the default guard provides a baseline of protection, there may be tables within your system that require more tailored guarding due to their importance or the nature of their data. In these cases, you can override the default guard by configuring an individual guard for a table. This process involves selecting the table and defining the guard parameters that make sense for that particular collection of data.

  5. Configuring Guard Sensitivity

    When setting up guards, either default or specific, you'll decide on the sensitivity. This could be a specific number or percentage difference from the last successful import. If the data in a table changes beyond this threshold, the guard will activate, alerting you to the potentially unintended changes. This feature is particularly useful for spotting anomalies or errors in data handling processes.

  6. Monitoring and Adjusting Guards

    After setting up your guards, it's essential to monitor them and adjust their parameters as necessary. Over time, as you become more familiar with the normal fluctuations of your data, you might find that some guards are too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Regular review and adjustment of guard settings will help ensure they continue to provide the right balance of protection and flexibility.

Collection guards in NIM is a powerful feature that helps maintain data integrity by alerting administrators to unexpected changes in their data collections. By understanding and utilizing these guards effectively—setting up default protections, overriding with specific table guards, and adjusting sensitivity as needed—you can ensure that your data remains reliable and your systems operate smoothly. As with any tool, the key to success with collection guards is a combination of thoughtful configuration and ongoing vigilance.