Thursday, November 5, 2009

To AB, or not to AB

If you are looking to develop custom monitoring solution in ITM, ITM gives you two options, viz. an eclipse GUI based Agent Builder tool or Universal Agent (UA). Which one would you choose? While the agent builder is shiny and easy to use, UA solution has its own advantages. Read on to know some of the pros and cons of each approach.

Agent Builder based solution makes sense for the following scenarios.

1) If you want to deploy something real quick and easy, then Agent Builder is a good candidate for your needs. Once you are familiar with the agent builder interface, you can create a custom monitoring agent literally in minutes. Moreover, there are not many typos/mistakes you can make with the Agent Builder's GUI based approach.

2) If you generally prefer GUI method over CLI methods, you will like Agent Builder more.

3) If you want to pull from data sources such as JDBC, WMI, NT Event Log, Service Control Manager, etc, then you should be build an agent builder agent with few clicks. UA will require lot of work as you may have write your own code to pull data from these data sources.

4) If you want to integrate the custom monitoring deployement with your current agent deployment methods, then obviously agent builder is the way to go. Deploying agent builder is very much the same as deploying any other agent.

Universal Agent based solution makes sense for the following scenarios.

1) If you want to minimize the number of agents you want to manage, then you are better of with UA. For example, if your requirement is to deploy 'n' custom monitoring solutions, typically agent builder would require 'n' agents, whereas in case of UA, one agent should be able to perform all 'n' monitoring activities.

2) Let me prefix this statement with a caveat. Check with your IBM representative for all licensing related information. Since one UA can handle multiple monitoring tasks, the licensing costs of UA based solution is typically lower than that of Agent Builder.

3) If you have been using UA for a long time, you can deploy the UA solution as quickly as an Agent Builder solution. More over, UA works pretty reliably.

4) If your monitoring requirements needs advanced summarization capabilities, then UA provides more advanced features than agent builder. Again, some of these tasks can be done using by modifying the itm_agent_toolkit.xml file, but it is just that the Agent Builder capabilities in this regard is not fully known yet.

Hope this information is helpful in your next custom monitor deployment.


Justin Eagleson said...

2.5) Use the AB to generate the metafile, which is visible in the data files, and deploy it as a UA. Of course this only works with UA-supported data sources.

Great post Venkat!

Venkat said...

Very creative suggestion to get the best of both worlds! Thanks Justin.