Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jopr Agent Auto Update Complete

I have completed the agent auto-update functionality. This provides the ability for a Jopr agent running in an environment to automatically detect that it needs to be updated and does so without the need for manual intervention.

The cool thing about this is it is completely cross platform! I've testing on Windows and Linux and I see no reason why this wouldn't work on other UNIX flavors such as HP-UX, AIX and MacOS.

Here's the basics of how it works:

When a Jopr Agent tries to connect or register with a Jopr Server, that server verifies the version of that agent. If the agent is not a compatible version, the server will forbid that agent from connecting/registering and will tell the agent it needs to update itself.

At this point, the agent will shutdown all of its internals, download the latest agent update binary (either from the server or some other download location previously configured in the agent), fork another Java VM that will unpackage the new agent binary and update the old agent with the new binary. The old agent will shutdown its VM and the new agent VM will be started.

From an administrator's point of view, this all happens under the covers and automatically and the agent just looks like it goes offline for a minute or two before coming back online.

Tangential to this, is the addition to several features to the agent plugin. The agent resource metadata now includes several more child services that allow you to configure your agent without having to manually log onto the agent box (i.e. we are using Jopr to manage Jopr!). You can now even change agent JVM settings and restart the agent with those new settings (in case you need to change a -Xmx option, for example). You can read this wiki page to learn about these new plugin features.

All of this code will be forthcoming in our next RHQ/Jopr release.

Here's some additional documentation you can read if curious:

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