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    Understanding the Agent types available can help you effectively plan your deployment. Before installing the BMC TrueSight IT Data Analytics (IT Data Analytics) product, you need to decide the Agent type that you want to use for data collection later.

    You can collect data both locally and remotely using the Agents available with the product. You can either use the Collection Station or Collection Agent for collecting data. Your selection of the Agent type depends on various factors such as your environment, where your data resides, your company policy, and existence of PATROL Agents in your environment.

    The following information provides deeper understanding about the various Agent types.

    Supported Agent types

    You can either use the Collection Station or Collection Agent while configuring data collectors. Data collectors are objects that contain inputs that define when, how, and from where to collect data. The Agent collects the data from the target host (where your data resides) by running data collectors.

    Collection Station

    The Collection Station is a component that is automatically installed when you install the product. Additionally, you can also install multiple Collection Stations on separate servers.

    The Collection Station serves a dual role – one of data collection and the other of acting as a proxy (or receiver) for Collection Agents that forward data to the IT Data Analytics server.

    Recommendation

    The following recommendations are important to avoid the Collection Station resources getting overburdened in the course of data collection.

    Collection Agent

    The Collection Agent serves a similar role as that of the Collection Station with respect to data collection, but it is designed to be run on remote nodes.

    Note

    Deploying multiple Collection Agents on the same server is not supported.

    The Collection Agent can be further classified into two types:

    • Standalone Collection Agent: This Agent is bundled with the product and does not require the PATROL infrastructure. It is a light-weight mechanism to collect data locally from the target hosts.
    • Collection Agent available for the PATROL infrastructure: This Agent is the same as the standalone Agent, but it is specifically designed to run on target hosts that have existing PATROL Agents installed and running on them. The Collection Agent available for the BMC PATROL infrastructure, can be configured by installing BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics. You can configure Collection Agents on BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics in any of the following environments:
      • BMC PATROL: Use the PATROL Configuration Manager for configuring Collection Agents.
      • BMC ProactiveNet: Use the BMC ProactiveNet Central Monitoring Administration Console for configuring Collection Agents.

    Collection Agents can be useful in the following scenarios:

    • If you want to collect data locally from the target hosts.
    • If you have a company policy that restricts direct communication from the Collection Station to the target host.
      For example, if you cannot open the target host's firewall ports, the Collection Station cannot communicate with the target host.
    • If you already have BMC PATROL components installed in your environment.
    • If you want to enable encryption for the data sent from the Collection Agent to the Collection Station.

    Local and remote data collection

    Data collection can be done with local or remote data collectors. Understanding the fundamentals of local versus remote data collection can help you better plan your deployment. 

    Both local and remote data collectors can run from within the Collection Station or within the Collection Agent. However, in most deployments local collection can be more suitable with a Collection Agent.

    To understand the local and remote collection workflow and the respective data collectors supported, see:

    Local data collection

    Local data collectors are designed to collect data from the same host on which the Agent (Collection Station or Collection Agent) they are being run on resides. Therefore, while creating a data collector the Target Host field is not required while configuring local data collectors (as it is automatically derived based on the Collection Host where the Agent resides). Normally you can use a Collection Agent for local data collection. While a Collection Station can also be used for local data collection, BMC recommends you to limit it to only monitor IT Data Analytics log files. The Collection Station plays a dual role of data collector and receiver and using it for data collection might overload its bandwidth.

    The following figure depicts local collection of data using a Collection Agent (for the BMC PATROL infrastructure):

    Local collection via Collection Agent (for the BMC PATROL infrastructure)

    Remote data collection

    Remote collectors are designed to collect data from a different host than which they are running on. This is done by connecting to the remote target host. For most remote data collectors (except one) you can see a Target Host field in addition to the Collection Host field (where you need to select the Agent). The exception to this is the Receive over TCP/UDP data collector which receives data from any sender that connects to its socket as opposed to connecting out to the target host.

    The following figure depicts remote collection of data using a Collection Station:

    Remote collection via Collection Station

    The following figure depicts remote collection of data using a Collection Agent (for the BMC PATROL infrastructure):

    Remote collection via Collection Agent (for the BMC PATROL infrastructure)


    Local and remote data collectors supported

    The following table provides a list of local and remote data collectors available with the product:

    1 The Upload file data collector can be used for uploading a data file for one-time indexing.

    Collection Station versus Collection Agent

    Data collectors are run within a collection framework that is present in both the embedded Collection Station component that is deployed with the product, as well as the Collection Agent that is installed on the target host or configured by using BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics. While configuring data collectors on the Administration > Data Collectors tab, you need to specify the Collection Host on which the data collector must run. The Collection Host is the host where the Collection Station or Collection Agent resides. At the time of adding a data collector, the Collection Host (Agent) field lists all the connected Collection Stations and Collection Agents available for selection.

    Collection Stations can perform data collection but they also need to serve as the receiver for external data that is forwarded to the IT Data Analytics server.

    BMC recommends you to use a Collection Station in the following scenarios to simplify your deployment setup:

    • In non-production or small environments
    • In trial scenarios
    • Collecting the IT Data Analytics log files 

    In deployments where the Collection Agents are used as the primary Agent for data collection, BMC recommends you to not use the Collection Station for data collection so that it is fully dedicated to the receiver role. This is necessary so that the Collection Station is not overloaded with remote data collectors as it also needs to serve as a receiver for Collection Agents forwarding data to the IT Data Analytics server.

    (In the following figures, Data Queue refers to a mechanism that guarantees data delivery)

    The following figure depicts data collection using a Collection Station:

    Data collection via Collection Station

    The following figure depicts data collection using a Collection Agent:

    Data collection via Collection Agent


    Understanding BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics

    The Collection Agent configured on BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics allows data collectors to run and collect data directly from any host that has an existing PATROL Agent. If you already have PATROL Agents deployed in your environment, then using Collection Agents can simplify the management of the data collectors. By using BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics, you do not need to manage host (or domain) user names, passwords and have as many socket connections in your environment. 

    You can configure Collection Agents by using PATROL Configuration Manager or BMC ProactiveNet Central Monitoring Administration. The primary purpose of BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics is to manage the Collection Agents configured and monitor their health and status. This KM forwards Information about the performance and health of the Collection Agents to PATROL Configuration Manager (or BMC ProactiveNet Central Monitoring Administration) and log data to the IT Data Analytics server.

    The data collector instances running in the Collection Agents are administered using the Administration > Data Collectors tab on the product user interface or CLI commands such as importcollector and exportcollector.

    The following figure depicts data collection using BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics (Collection Agent):

    (Click the image to expand it)

    Data collection using BMC PATROL for IT Data Analytics