Monitor with Orion agents in SAM

An agent is software that provides a communication channel between the Orion server and a Windows or Linux/Unix computer. Orion Platform products, such as SAM, install plugins on agents to collect the data that the agents send back.

In the Orion Platform, agents are used as an alternative to WMI or SNMP to provide information about your selected key devices and applications. SAM uses Orion agents to gather information for component monitors (and their parent application monitors) from target servers across your environment.

The Orion Platform supports the following types of Orion agents:

  • Orion agent for Windows, which run as services.
  • Orion agent for Linux/Unix, which run as service daemons.
  • Orion agent for AIX is also available. Click here for details.

Some benefits of using Orion agents for SAM polling include:

  • Encryption: Neither standard SNMP nor WMI include encryption, as mandated by security standards of many environments.
  • Speed: Agentless protocols such as WMI and RPC protocols were originally created for LANs, not the Internet. Orion agents use HTTPS, which is both bandwidth-efficient and latency-friendly.
  • Reliability: Agents run independently of the Orion server. Agents continue to monitor the host even if the Orion server is down or a network outage occurs. For up to 24 hours, the agent can run independently and all polled data will remain cached on the Agent. When connectivity is restored, the Agent uploads all collected statistics to the main Orion server, filling in gaps in charts.
  • Flexibility: With agents, you can run Perl, VBScript, TCL, and any other Windows script language remotely using the Windows Script Monitor. Otherwise, all Windows Script Monitors execute locally on the Orion server itself; the agent allows you to execute those scripts on the machine where the agent is installed.
  • Fewer ports: WMI requires several open ports to function properly but Orion agents can use "Server Initiated" mode to operate over a single port. TCP port 17790 listens on the host where the agent is installed while the Orion server polls information in a similar fashion to SNMP or RPC. Zero ports need to be opened inbound to the internal network from the DMZ, and all communication occurs across a single NAT-friendly port.
  • Cloud-friendly: Monitoring cloud-based applications and servers using traditional agentless protocols presents many issues. In addition to the encryption and port issues mentioned above, WMI cannot traverse NAT boundaries and its frequent communication doesn't tolerate bandwidth congestion or high latency conditions well. Also, many ISPs block RPC traffic to guard against hackers.

Agentless monitoring has its own benefits — no additional software to deploy, manage, or maintain; less resource contention on target servers; faster setup; fewer security concerns. Regarding agent vs. agentless monitoring for templates, application monitors, and component monitors, pick the best option for your environment.

To learn more about Orion agents, including requirements, configuration, and troubleshooting, see the Orion Platform Administrator Guide. To learn more about agent benefits, see this THWACK post.

Overriding agent and agentless monitoring

You can override data collection behavior in specific instances, depending on the application monitor or template, to collect data through a preferred polling method as agent or agentless. For example, for the User Experience Monitor template you may not want to measure response time locally from the server where the application is installed. In that case, you can switch the application to poll without using an agent.

Generally, agents provide richer data streams while adding load to the application, while agentless can only pull limited data (based on the API and security access permissions) but can isolate the load to an external resource and do not impact the application as severely.

Different features are available based on monitoring methods, as described in these articles:

Communication type

Agent communication can be deployed as either Active or Passive:

  • Agent initiated Communication (Active): The Agent initiates communication with the server on the default port of 17778 (this can be changed if needed). Open this port on the server firewall so the Agent can connect. No change to the Agent firewall is required.
  • Orion Server initiated Communication (Passive): The Agent waits for requests from the server on the default port of 17790 (this can be changed if needed). This port must be opened on the Agent computer's firewall so the server can connect. No change to the server firewall is required.

To learn more, see Agent communication modes in the Orion Platform Administrator Guide.

Templates and component monitors

As described Manage SAM templates and component monitors, each SAM template is a collection of component monitors designed to monitor a server or application. Templates include a variety of options based on operating systems, applications, and services, that you can configure to collect and monitor data for Orion managed nodes.

After being applied to a node, a template becomes an "application" or "application monitor", comprised of component monitors, also known as performance counters. Applications created from templates are used to report metrics based on your needs. See Create your first application and alert to learn about building a template-based application to monitor WMI.

Templates that support Orion agents

The following templates support the Orion Agent for Windows:

  • Apache (Windows)
  • APC PowerChute Agent (Windows)
  • AppInsight for Active Directory
  • AppInsight for Exchange
  • AppInsight for IIS
  • AppInsight for SQL
  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 Services (Windows)
  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 Services (Windows)
  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x (Advanced)
  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x (Events)
  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x (Performance Counters)
  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x (Services)
  • Errors in Application Event Log
  • GoodLink Server for Microsoft Exchange
  • Helix Universal Media Server (Windows)
  • Internet Information Service (IDD) 6
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Events
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Statistics
  • Microsoft IIS SMTP Server
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (Agent)
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (Management Server)

The following templates support the Orion Agent for Linux:

  • Apache
  • CUPS
  • GlassFish (JMX)
  • IBM DB2
  • IBM WebSphere (JMX)
  • JBoss (JMX)
  • Linux CPU Monitoring Perl
  • Linux Disk Monitoring Perl
  • Linux Memory Monitoring Perl
  • MySQL (5.7.9 or later) for Linux/Unix
  • MySQL (5.7.8 or earlier) for Linux/Unix
  • MySQL 8.0 Metrics for Linux/Unix
  • MySQL 8.0 Service Availability on Linux/Unix
  • Nagios Linux File & Directory Count Script
  • Oracle Database
  • Oracle WebLogic (JMX)
  • PostgreSQL
  • Squid (Linux and Unix)
  • Tomcat Server

The following templates support the Orion Agent for AIX:

  • AIX template
  • AIX LPD template
  • Nagios Linux File & Directory Count Script

Component monitors supported by Orion agents

The following component monitors support the Orion Agent for Windows:

  • DNS Monitor - TCP
  • DNS Monitor - UDP
  • Exchange Web Services User Experience Monitor
  • HTTP Monitor
  • HTTPS Monitor
  • ODBC User Experience Monitor
  • Oracle User Experience Monitor
  • Performance Counter Monitor
  • Process Monitor - Windows
  • SMTP Monitor
  • TCP Port Monitor
  • Windows Event Log Monitor
  • Windows PowerShell Monitor
  • Windows Service Monitor
  • Windows Script Monitor
  • WMI Monitor

The following component monitors support the Orion Agent for Linux:

  • Directory Size Monitor
  • File Age Monitor
  • File Change Monitor
  • File Count Monitor
  • File Existence Monitor
  • File Size Monitor
  • HTTP User Experience Monitor
  • HTTPS User Experience Monitor
  • JMX Monitor
  • Linux/Unix Script Monitor
  • Nagios Script Monitor
  • ODBC User Experience Monitor
  • Process Monitor
  • Oracle User Experience Monitor
  • SNMP Monitor
  • TCP Port Monitor
  • TomCat Server Monitor

To effectively monitor Linux/Unix systems with the Orion agent for Linux, the agent must be installed on the target Linux machine, the node must be managed using the agent within the Orion Platform, and your environment must be configured properly. See Configure Linux/Unix systems for use with SAM templates and component monitors.

The following component monitors support the Orion Agent for AIX:

  • Directory Size Monitor
  • DNS User Experience Monitor
  • File Age Monitor
  • File Change Monitor
  • File Count Monitor
  • File Existence Monitor
  • File Size Monitor
  • HTTP User Experience Monitor
  • HTTPS User Experience Monitor
  • JMX Monitor
  • Linux/Unix Script Monitor
  • Nagios Script Monitor
  • ODBC User Experience Monitor
  • Oracle User Experience Monitor
  • Process Monitor
  • SOAP Monitor
  • SNMP Monitor
    • SNMPv3 with encrypted mode is not supported.
    • To poll SNMP details correctly, you need to manually enable the SNMP daemon.
  • TCP Port Monitor
  • TomCat Server Monitor