BMC TrueSight Operations Management Review

Introducing the BMC BPPM 9.5 Central Monitoring Admin Policy Console

BMC Patrol Agent Configuration Automation using the (TrueSight) BPPM Central Monitoring Administration Console (CMA)

Have you ever been frustrated to discover that your monitoring failed because one of your Patrol agents isn’t configured correctly? After you investigated you were told that someone sent you an email or called and left a voice mail, telling you it some set of systems was ready for monitoring, and you didn’t get them. Everyone knows how adequate email and phone messages are right?

Communication breakdowns involving your Patrol Agent infrastructure are nothing new. They’ve been around for many many years. I know them very well. Everyone is very busy, and that only compounds the problem. There are so many things that can go wrong with keeping all your agents configurations in sync and up to date. Wouldn’t it be nice if this could all be automated somehow?

There is a new ability you need to be aware. The BPPM 9.5 Central Monitoring Administration (CMA) Console. The CMA was introduced with BPPM 9.0, but it wasn’t flexible enough to be useful in very many situations. One of the key features in this new release was the Policy Management interface. Although useful, its ability to truly manage your Patrol Agent infrastructure outside of Patrol Configuration Manager (PCM) was very limited. Well, that all changes with CMA 9.5.

With the release of the 9.5 BPPM CMA Console, and the greatly expanded Policy capabilities, you’ve never been so close to real-time Patrol Agent configuration automation. Say hello to your new little friend, the BPPM CMA Configuration Policy.

BPPM Agent Configuration Policies – A Brief History of the BPPM 9.0 CMA Introduction

BPPM 9.0 introduced configuration policies for the first time with the CMA. A CMA Policy is suppose to replace the need for manually deploying configuration settings using Patrol Configuration Manager (PCM). Unfortunately, with the 9.0 policies you had little choice with respect to the policy “selector criteria”. The selector criterion is the mechanism that engages the CMA Policy.

You were able to specify the use of one item, the BPPM Tag, as the policy selector, which meant that you had to create a separate Policy and BPPM Tag for every possible scenario.

If you worked with the CMA in version 9.0, you know first hand how limited that was. Chances are you looked at it, scratching your head, and moved on.

The 9.0 CMA release allowed you to deploy a simple Policy with three configuration options: Monitor, Threshold and Server Policy Configurations. CMA 9.0 made these three administrative options available for the first time but the overall policy capabilities were limited and ultimately became more work to manage than continuing to use PCM. They’ve been greatly expanded with version 9.5.

The BPPM CMA 9.5 Brings Patrol Agent Configuration Automation 

With the release of the 9.5 BPPM CMA Console, the Policy capability features available grew from three in version 9.0, to a total of nine.

The additional features include seven total monitoring Configuration Policy options, one blackout option and one staging Policy option. Nine in all, compared to only three before. And the Policy “Selector Criteria” specifications, the item(s) which engages the Policy, has gone from one, the BPPM Tag, to eight. The new added diverse selector abilities allow for creating simple, or very complex activation condition now. With all of those new features, CMA 9.5 allows for dynamic automation of your Patrol Agent configurations like never before.

Here are the 7 New BPPM 9.5 CMA Policies and a description of they can be used.

Monitoring Configuration – You can use this feature for filtering or turning the monitoring configurations off or on, based on your selectors. In the associated webinar, I construct one of these policies as an example, showing how they can be used to disable a specific monitor, for a specific OS, running in a specific environment.

Filter Configuration – This is a helpful addition to CMA 9.5. Filter Configuration allows you to specify what monitoring data is not meant to go into the BPPM database. With this new feature, you can specify the attributes and parameters that you want to stream into the BPPM console and see, without storage in the database.

Agent Threshold– This policy allows for setting traditional monitoring thresholds at the Patrol Agent Level. It allows you to specify the alert threshold settings you use to set and deploy within PCM or from the Patrol Console, down the agents. These can now be set, and take effect as soon as the agent checks into the BPPM infrastructure.

Server Thresholds – These thresholds are set at the BPPM server level. You can set Absolute, Signature and Intelligent thresholds within a policy based on the same selectors as the lower agent level.

Agent Configuration – This new policy has several capabilities. It allows for setting up Agent specific settings like the Default Monitoring account. You can also use this feature to specify Polling Intervals for the Patrol Knowledge Module (KM) Collectors. The KM Collector gathers the information at polling intervals, and depending on how you construct the selectors, you can now change these intervals within the CMA console now, outside of PCM.

Server Configuration– This feature is ideal for the policy options in Groups within the BPPM Operations Console. For example, if you have servers associated with an application named, “NewApp,” you can use this policy to group all the servers in one location within the Operations Console. By deploying a tag, “NewApp” to all the involved systems, the Patrol Agents check into BPPM, see the policy and automatically add the servers to the group you specify. If the group doesn’t exist, it will create it and place all the NewApp systems within that group for viewing, automatically.

Configuration Variables – This last option allows for the manual creation of any agent configuration variable you want or need that can be used by the agent. But the key feature of this one is in the ability to import your existing PCM configurations.

This new CMA brings real automation into the daily maintenance associated with your Patrol Agent infrastructure. Quit playing phone and email tag with your system and application administrators and see how to put this to work right now.

To see this new CMA Policy in action, be sure to check out this hands-on video introduction.

To read about and see the CMA put a Patrol Agent Blackout into action, check this out.

Putting the BMC Blackout Policy to Work

To read about and see the CMA handle the Patrol Agent event streams and give you a brand new, centrally focused Event Management mechanism, check this out.

Simplified Patrol Agent Event Management

New Update!!

How to automate New Patrol Agent Package Deployments with CMA Policies.  I'll show you step by step how to use a CMA Policy to automatically baseline your new Patrol Agents the moment they come up on the network, using your existing PCM configurations.

Automating The Configuration Deployment of Your New Patrol Agent Builds

To read more about (TrueSight) BPPM 9.5, be sure to check out the blog on the topic located here.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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