Agent-based and Agent-less approaches
An "agent" is a lightweight software program that runs on a computer with the primary purpose of collecting information from an application infrastructure component over the network to a central location.
With an "agentless" approach, the data is collected without installing agents. This is accomplished by obtaining data from the application infrastructure component using an available interface.
The primary benefit of an agentless approach is that is not necessary to install or maintain an additional software program on each computer from which information is needed. In some instances, an "agentless" approach may be the only available option for data collection, as is the case when the application infrastructure component to be monitored is a hardware appliance (e.g. IBM MQ Appliance).
Where applicable, the "agent-based" approach to data collection offers some specific advantages. For example, agents can store some data on the machine where they are installed, allowing monitoring to continue even if contact is temporarily lost with the management server. Without an agent, the management server collects data from the agentless managed system using remote calls to that system. If the two systems cannot communicate, information is not collected. '
AutoPilot management & MONITORING: Agent-based & Agent-less
AutoPilot offers both agent-based and agent-less technology for data collection, middleware monitoring and middleware management.
The AutoPilot Workgroup Server oversees a group of IBM MQ nodes (servers). The Workgroup Server collects information from these messaging server nodes and stores it in its configuration database. The Workgroup Server is used to issue management commands to messaging servers remotely and is capable of carrying out instructions at any level (e.g. Workgroup Server, Node, Queue Manager, Queue, Channel, Listener, Cluster, Authentication Information, Service, etc.).
For agent-based deployment, one agent instance is installed on each IBM MQ node. Server to agent registration is automatic: when started, the agent sends a registration request to the AutoPilot Workgroup Server; the Workgroup server responds and starts new threads for each messaging server. If a network connection is broken, the Workgroup server sends a request at a specified interval (configurable for every node) to re-establish the connection. Upgrades of new versions of deployed agents can be rapidly accomplished via a simple automated software delivery procedure (stop agent; deploy new version of agent; start agent).
If agent-less deployment is preferred or required, the AutoPilot Workgroup Server uses a Connection Manager to communicate with messaging servers without installing agents on the nodes. The Connection Manager sends remote requests via MQ server-conn channels to connect and issue management commands and receive replies and events.
An agent-less deployment has very few limitations. All monitoring functions and most management functions can be accomplished with an agent-less setup. There are a few noteworthy functions that require an agent: creation and stop/start of queue managers via the AutoPilot management web interface; view/edit details of queue manager log files via the AutoPilot management web interface.
Advantages of agent-based and agent-less approaches
Summary of Advantages of Agent-based vs. AGENT-LESS
- Can use the same software distribution mechanism as for MQ installation and upgrades
- No administrative headache setting up MQ Channels and implementing security on the channel level including SSL and key management
- Agent-less is less efficient than agent-based in large environments with more than 50 queue managers
- New MQ Nodes and MQ Servers are automatically discovered by broadcast rather than manual channel definitions
- Less performance impact on MQ Servers – the data can be pushed by agents versus polling in the case of agent-less – more efficient approach
- Local execution of automated actions directly on MQ Servers – no dependency on the management server
- Create, start & stop Queue Managers
- Access and view local MQ log files
- Automated actions can be executed regardless of the connection to the management server