Endpoint Management : Tivoli Common Agent Services
Tivoli Common Agent Services is well know endpoint management & provisioning tool which matured enough over the world wide customer expectations for providing a manageable & extensible infrastructure. Common Agent Services vastly improves the customer experience while simultaneously reducing the effort required to develop and deliver management solutions that involve deployed agent technology.
Acknowledging the potential of CAS, its widely used in the IBM products that involve agent deployment technology. Main IBM products which use CAS as a agent – agent manager solution includes IBM System Director, Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM ), Tivoli Productivity Center (TPC).
Common Agent Services Infrastructure consist of basically two parts along with the shared API ( for exploiters ).
Most products in Tivoli today have unique endpoint code implementations. This means that customers must deploy new agents to their server or user machines whenever they install new management applications. The human effort required to install, configure and monitor the differing agent implementations becomes a management task in and of itself in order to manage the IT infrastructure. Agent implementations also consume run-time resources on their hosting machine, so the amount of redundant function provided by each agent implementation (e.g. listening ports, run-time daemons, memory) represents wasted resources that the customer has to dedicate to IT management.
The ultimate goal of the Common Agent is to consolidate the number of unique agent code implementations and to foster collaboration across various services and management products. The common agent accomplishes this by providing:
- A runtime container and a well-defined component model based on open standards (OSGi)
- Lifecycle management of deployed components and services
- A number of services that may be exploited across multiple management applications
The ultimate goal of the Agent Manager is to consolidate all tasks for managing the lifecycle of any registered agents in the customer environment. These tasks include:
- Managing the security infrastructure used by agents and management applications
- Maintaining an accurate directory of agent URLs
- Support for complex customer environments, including firewalls and DMZs
- Endpoint management
- Provisioning of patches, upgrades and remotely installing endpoints
- Provide visualization for the management infrastructure.
Because management applications also participate in the security infrastructure, the Agent Manager will also provide:
- Visualization of management application information (registration information).
The Agent Manager exists in the context of, and derives its value from its integration with, the complete management infrastructure including both management application and common services.
The Agent Manager supplies Common Agents and Resource Manager (server side products) with credentials signed by the Agent Manager Certificate Authority. Participants within the CAS environment will have to have a certificate signed by the AM, as well as trust store to establish the chain of trust within CAS. Products which haven’t registered with the Agent Manager will not be able to participate with the Agent Manager or Common Agents.
Shared API (Common Agent Services SDK)
Common agent services provides a shared API which has to be used by the exploiters for registering / integrating their products to the common agent services. Exploiters need to implement shared API for registration/deployment of the subagents ( which run on the OSGi container provided by the CAS ).
Similarly, CAS SDK needs to be used by Resource manager ( often the product server, which uses the CAS ) for registering itself to the agent manager. After registration of the resource manager only, a product can manage the workflows/ tasks to be performed over the endpoints.