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Monitoring Agent Service Status using Port Scan Utility

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128877D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Sep-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-20
Document File: 4 page(s) / 31K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Within any managed environment, one of the problems faced deals with detecting the status of Agents in an automated fashion. Many solutions have been developed, but they often have difficulties with scalability, reliability, or efficiency. This solution utilizes a Port Scanner to determine the agent's availability and provides a methodology for distributing the workload across a tiered environment.

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Monitoring Agent Service Status using Port Scan Utility

Many scripts exist which wrapper the internal system management commands and perform detection of down agents on managed servers. To do this, the system management's functions typically do a function like a network ping. This solution has many problems. The continuous issuing of "ping like commands" is hard on the servers managing the agents. This often causes the processes on the servers to die and therefore access to all managed server agents is lost. This solution is also time consuming. The "ping like" status command by itself may take up to a minute to return with any output. This solution just does not scale well up to thousands of agents. Other solutions involve some heartbeat mechanism. One system management product includes a solution implementing a heartbeat. The agent periodically "checks in" and when it fails to check in, a notification occurs. This solution currently only supports a limited number of agents rather than the maximum number of agents in the enterprise. Another heartbeat method involves using periodic Event Management type function (snmp or a command line) to be sent from the agent and a process on the Event Management Server would process the agents which "checked in". That method would not scale well when dealing with thousands of agents since the detection would be Enterprise wide and the Event Management Server is generally over burdened processing events. Yet another "Heartbeat" methodology has involved integrating a Monitoring product to issue specialized calls to a "collector" at a midlevel manager.

The objective of this solution was to provide some level of detection when agents are no longer "Alive". The solution has to be scalable, fast, limit adverse System Management infrastructure impact, and handle the maximum number of servers being monitored per midlevel manager- approximately 2000. This solution solves the problem of detecting when agent processes are down by by-passing the System Management infrastructure and scanning the active listening port on the Server being monitored. This could be the same port in which all System Management functions utilize or multiple ports that will need to be identified. If this/these port(s) does not respond or is closed, typically System Management functions will fail. This method has very little impact to the System Management infras...