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eG Total Performance Visibility

eG Agentless Monitoring


More Monitoring with Fewer Monitoring Agents

For over a decade, network monitoring has been done using SNMP-based polling of network devices from a central management station. On the other hand, for application and server monitoring, monitoring solutions have relied on software agents locally installed on the servers. As operating systems and applications have evolved, enhanced monitoring capabilities are now built into these infrastructure components. Using these built-in monitoring capabilities, it is now possible to monitor servers and applications in an IT infrastructure in an "agentless" manner. With this approach, remote server monitoring is possible where a central data collector will remotely connect to a server and monitor the availability, performance, and usage of a server and the applications that it hosts.


The eG Agentless Monitoring Solution

The eG Agentless Monitoring Solution involves deployment of a central data collector that has access to all the systems that need to be managed in an agentless and remote manner. Since there is no single standard protocol for monitoring server operating systems and applications, eG Enterprise's agentless monitoring solution collects performance statistics on different server operating systems in different ways: SNMP for Novell Netware, OS/400, etc., Secure Shell (ssh) for Unix flavors (Solaris, Linux, AIX, HPUX), and WMI/Perfmon for Microsoft Windows operating systems. Different protocols and mechanisms are used for monitoring applications as well - eg., WMI/Perfmon for Microsoft applications, JMX/HTTP for the WebLogic application, SNMP for Lotus Notes, SQLNet for monitoring Oracle databases, etc.

The eG agentless monitoring architecture

Applications Monitored in an Agentless Manner

Application Type Applications that can be monitored remotely (i.e., agentless)
Web Servers IIS
Databases Oracle, Microsoft SQL, Sybase, Informix, MySQL
Application Servers WebLogic, WebSphere, Coldfusion
Mail Servers Exchange server, Lotus Notes
Microsoft Applications Domain Controller, Active Directory, File and Print Servers, DHCP servers
Messaging Servers IBM MQ
Terminal Servers Citrix, Microsoft Terminal server
Operating Systems Solaris, AIX, HPUX, Linux, OS/400, Novell Netware, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, VMware ESX, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V

Agentless Monitoring vs. Agent-based Monitoring Tradeoffs

There are interesting tradeoffs between the agentless monitoring and the agent-based monitoring approaches.

  Agentless Monitoring Agent-based Monitoring
Ease of deployment Easier to deploy because software installation is required only on the remote data collection system. Agents need to be deployed on all the target servers in the infrastructure. Once deployed, the eG agents require no direct maintenance as they can be auto-upgraded from the central management console.
Security The remote data collector must be allowed to communicate with the target system on different ports. The data collector may also need to be installed with domain administration privileges to be able to access the remote systems. Much more secure than the agentless model. The agent to application / OS communications are handled internal to the server. Hence, no additional firewall rules need to be configured to allow monitoring.
Overheads This approach introduces additional network traffic as the raw performance data is transported to a remote data collector for analysis. The agent installed on a server collects data locally and only the processed final results are transported to the console. Hence, this approach results in lower network traffic and processing overheads.
Breadth & Depth of monitoring Not all applications and operating systems have built-in monitoring capabilities and hence the coverage of the agentless approach is less than that of the agent-based approach. Moreover, the depth of the diagnostic information obtainable from the agentless approach is limited. The agent-based approach provides deeper, broader monitoring. Some of the capabilities available in the eG agent-based solution only include the detailed diagnosis capability (eg., if the CPU usage is 100% which process is consuming CPU?), the eG web adapter for web transaction monitoring, and the eG remote control action capability for initiating corrective actions when abnormal situations are detected.

The agentless monitoring solution is ideal for small enterprises where security or the network traffic involved in the monitoring are not key criteria in deciding a monitoring approach. For more critical, complex environments where in-depth monitoring, root-cause diagnosis, and problem resolution are key, the agent-based approach is more appropriate. The automatic capability of the eG agents ensures that the eG agent-based monitoring solution requires near zero maintenance, similar to an agentless solution.

Advantages of the eG Agentless Monitoring Solution

  • Easy of deployment
    A single data collection point is sufficient to remotely monitor tens of servers in the target infrastructure.
  • Low maintenance
    Since there is a single data collection point, day-to-day maintenance of the monitoring solution is handled with less effort.
  • Complete flexibility
    Administrators can choose which of the servers and applications have to be monitored in an agentless manner and which ones require agents.
  • Tight integration
    Seamless correlation of performance statistics from agent-based and agentless monitoring.