Monday, July 31, 2017

Debugging Remote Control in IBM Control Desk


One of the many great features in IBM Control Desk is the ability to have a service desk agent remotely take control of a user's machine for troubleshooting (or repair) purposes. This function leverages the IBM BigFix for Remote Control agent on the target machine and a JNLP file on the server that launches a JAR file on the agent's machine.


The architecture is fairly simple. The JAR file running on the agent's machine communicates DIRECTLY with the BigFix Remote Control agent on the user's machine, which listens by default on port 888. This means that any firewalls between the agent's machine and the user's machine must allow a connection to port 888 on the user's machine.

Installing the Agent on the User's Machine

If you manually install the agent, it prompts you for the server name and port, but these values are ignored if you don't have BigFix in your environment. So if you don't have BigFix in your environment, these two values can be anything you want - it doesn't matter. It also asks you for the port that the agent should listen on. This is 888 by default, but can be changed to anything you'd like.

Launching the Controller Interface in debug mode on the Agent's Machine

This can be done in several ways from the ICD GUI, but going that route doesn't actually allow you to put the Controller interface into debug mode. To do that, you need to copy the TRCConsole.jar file from any of your ICD application servers or from the Administrative Workstation. Search for the file by name and you'll find it. Copy this file to the agent's machine.

On the agent machine, you need to launch the JAR file with the --debug flag:

TRCConsole.jar --debug

This will create a file named trctrace_<date_timestamp>.log in your %HOMEPATH% folder. This file will contain detailed tracing information that can be used for debugging.

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