The Agentless Management is one of the number one new features they list about ProLiant Gen8manageability.
ProLiant servers have always had great manageability. Historically speaking, this manageability was provided by OS-based SNMP Agents or WBEM Providers and these Agents and Providers will continue to be available in Gen8.
The Nirvana of Agentless Management is that our customers will get all core management functions, for internal system components, including health monitoring AND alerting straight from iLO without ANY drivers or Agents installed. This functionality is almost effortless to configure and will function regardless of the OS or the state of the OS. All the customer needs to do is plug in the iLO network cable and plug in the power cord and the server will be inherently manageable via iLO. iLO will monitor the health of the server and send SNMP alerts.
The subsystems supported by iLO that are covered and “regardless of the operating system” are as follows:
- Temperature Sensors
- Power Supplies
- SmartArray controllers (including cache modules) and
- Both Logical and Physical Drives (internal to the server) that are connected to the SmartArray controller.
- iLO supports Inventory and Configuration, Health Status, SNMP Alerting, Pre-Failure Alerting, Redundancy Status and Alerting, and SNMP Data Collection.
All of this is done by the iLO firmware working in conjunction with the ProLiant System ROM and the SmartArray firmware. No drivers, no agents and regardless of the OS. The OS can be Windows Server 2008, a server running the Hyper-V role, a beta version of a future Window Server operating system, some “other OS” or no OS at all. The server can be in a bare-metal, pre-OS state and still have its health monitored and still have a rich set of alerting. Additionally, the server OS can even be in a halted or non-functional state
What happens when there is a system fault – like a fan failure, for example?
First, iLO will detect the fan failure. Next, iLO will log the fan failure and the loss of fan redundancy to the server’s Integrated Management Log. iLO will then send two SNMP alerts (the fan failure alert and the redundancy lost alert) to up to three alert destinations. But that’s not all. iLO will also log detailed hardware telemetry information to our new Active Health System and, if the customer has subscribed, a replacement part request can also be sent all the way back home to HP.
See the video on iLO Active Health Agents here:
How does this compare to the competition? Does anyone else have Agentless Management?
Some others may claim Agentless, but I think they are going to fall far short of what iLO provides. They may have some built-in stuff that sends a generic trap saying something like “Sensor 7 – State De-Asserted”. It’s then up to you to go figure out what is Sensor 7 and whether or not a De-Asserted state is a good thing or a bad thing. The iLO Agentless support will send the same, rich SNMP trap as the OS-based Agents. Customers will have a smooth transition from OS-based Agents to iLO Agentless.
There are still some things iLO (running as firmware below the level of the OS) doesn’t know. That’s where your Agentless Management Service comes in. Can you tell us about the AMS?
Agentless Management Service is a lightweight service that collects OS based management information and provides this information to iLO. Typically it collects server inventory information on installed applications and processes running, system name, IP address, OS installed and some NIC information that iLO has no access to. It runs in the OS context, but it is not an agent in the traditional sense. On Gen8 servers, iLO provides a significant amount of platform management information without an OS based agent. AMS will provide iLO with a richer data set that is OS specific. The information that AMS provides to iLO is a very small subset of the data that the traditional SNMP agents provided, therefore AMS is a very lightweight component. AMS consumes less memory and CPU compared to the in-band SNMP agents. Also, AMS has no network connections, therefore there are no security risks as there is no SNMP stack running in the OS context.
So how does AMS get installed and configured?
On Gen8 servers, AMS will be installed by default, in place of the OS based SNMP agents. It requires no configuration of its own. iLO configuration to enable Agentless Management will apply to AMS as well.
Is there any other functionality in AMS?
Yes, AMS will also log OS based information to Active Health System, another new feature on the Gen8 platform. It will log information like an inventory of installed applications, drivers, and services, bug check codes when there are system crashes, critical events from the OS eventlog, OS startup and shutdown events, device hot/plug events and NIC Link up/Down events. This information may be useful in root causing issues related to the platform.
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