HostMonitor's Main Page RMA Manager
Version 3.24
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network monitoring package RMA Manager is an auxiliary application for HostMonitor. It is included into Advanced Host Monitor package. Enterprise license for Advanced Host Monitor already includes a license for RMA Manager. Holders of a Lite, Standard or Professional licenses may buy an additional license for RMA Manager separately.


Intro    How to do    Menu    System Requirements    Price

main win To manage an array of Remote Monitoring Agents (RMA) you may use RMA Manager utility. It allows you to change settings for hundreds of agents installed on remote systems at one time and from one location. Both RMA Manager and HostMonitor are using the same list of Remote Monitor Agents. Working with this list you may select group(s) of agents and then perform the following actions over the whole group:

  • obtain information about an agent: version, platform, list of tests supported by the agent, list of allowed tests, etc;
  • change agent configuration: change TCP port, timeout, password; enable/disable tests, change different management parameters, etc;
  • reload agent (restart application);
  • force agent to reread settings from its ini file;
  • terminate agent
  • and even upgrade agent's code remotely.

RMA Manager splits Passive RMA and Active RMA between 2 lists on the screen. However information about all agents stored in the same file (agents.lst).


How to do:

  • How to add new agent to the list

    To add a record for a (new) agent you should choose appropriate list: Passive RMA list or Active RMA list. Then you may click on "New agent" button or press Insert key in the list of agents or select "New" item from "Agent(s)" menu. When the dialog "Agent Connection Parameters" appears set the following parameters for the agent:

    Passive RMA

    Passive RMA is small application that accepts requests from HostMonitor, performs test (or action) and provides information about test result back to HostMonitor.

    agent connection parameters
    • Agent address:
      provide the host name or an IP address of the system where RMA is installed
    • Item name:
      name of the agent (this name will be displayed in agent's list, and will be used by HostMonitor for agent identification). By default RMA Manager uses agent's addresses as names but you may specify any other name that you like
    • Port:
      TCP port that will be used for communication between RMA Manager (or HostMonitor) and the agent. Here you should specify the same port that you have already specified when that agent was installed and configured on a remote system (by default agent uses port #1055)
    • Timeout:
      communication timeout in seconds. A maximum amount of time that RMA Manager or HostMonitor will wait for an answer from the agent. Please note: this timeout should be big enough to allow an agent to perform a test before sending an answer to HostMonitor. When, for example, you are launching an external test and an external program needs 15 seconds to perform this test then the timeout should be set to 15 seconds plus an amount of time that is necessary for data exchange between HostMonitor and an agent.

    • Password:
      here you should provide the same password that you have specified when an agent was installed and configured on a remote system.

    After you have finished entering the above information click "Test/Get info" button to check the settings of an agent or click "Ok" button to check the settings and close dialog. RMA Manager will try to establish connection with an agent and get information about agent: platform, version, comment, etc. Also RMA returns information regarding system where it is running on: hostname, Windows version, Service Pack, etc.
    If connection with an agent was established, RMA Manager updates all agent information and sets status of the agent to "operable". If RMA Manager was not able to get proper information from an agent, it sets its` status to "no answer" (if no answer from agent received) or "bad answer" (if some error code was received from an agent, e.g. wrong password).

    Active RMA

    Active RMA - Remote Monitoring Agent that is not waiting for TCP connection from HostMonitor like Passive RMA. Active RMA itself establishes connection with HostMonitor and RMA Manager. This allows you to install RMA inside private network protected by firewall without necessity to open any TCP port (Passive RMA requires 1 open TCP port). Also Active RMA allows you to monitor system that does not have fixed IP address, e.g. system that is connecting to the network using temporary dial-up connection.

    There are just 2 obligatory parameters
    • Name
      unique name of the agent. You should not assign the same name for several agents. If you do so, HostMonitor will accept connection from 1st started agent and reject connection from other agents with the same name
    • Password
      minimum six character length password. An empty password using is not permitted.
    The password is required for every communication session between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager. All traffic between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager is encrypted and the password itself is never transmitted through the network without encryption.
    Note: you should use exactly the same name and password that were used when you setup Active RMA on remote system using rma_cfg utility.

    Note #1 (RMA Manager): The manager cannot connect to Active RMA due to nature of the agent. If "Accept Active RMA on TCP port #5057" option is enabled, RMA Manager waits for incoming connection from the agent. This option located beside Active RMA list; you may easily change TCP port utilized by the manager but you should remember that RMA should be reconfigured as well.

    Note #2 (Active RMA): If "Allow remote management" option is enabled, RMA tries to connect to RMA Manager every 30 sec. If appropriate RMA Manager's record for the agent is not created yet, RMA Manager will reject such connections; once connection is established it will be kept until you close it forcedly. If "Allow remote management" option is disabled, RMA will not work with RMA Manager at all.

    See also: additional comments.

    If connection with an Active RMA was established, RMA Manager updates agent information and sets status of the agent to "connected". If RMA Manager was not able to get any information from an agent, it sets its' status to "no answer". If TCP connection request was received but some error occurred (e.g. wrong password), RMA Manager sets "bad answer" status. If communication session was established correctly and then RMA has been disconnected, the manager sets status to "operable".


    Backup agent
    Since the version 6.00 HostMonitor allows you to setup primary and backup agents. Using this feature, HostMonitor is able to balance load between agents and use the backup agent when primary one does not respond. Yes, RMA is pretty stable software however system may not respond due to some hardware or network error.
    When you have installed second agent you may choose one of the following "Load balancing" options:

    • Backup only
      In this case, HostMonitor will request the main agent to perform the tests and will switch to backup agent only in the case of the primary agent not responding.
    • 50/50
      With this option selected, HostMonitor will balance requests for service between the agents. Even if you specify a single primary agent for all your tests, some tests will be performed by primary agent and other by backup RMA. If the primary or the backup agent does not respond, tests will be performed by another (paired) RMA.
    • "Redundant check" mode
      This option available for Passive RMA only. When "Redundant check" mode specified for 2nd (backup) agent, HostMonitor uses selected agent as "backup" agent as well (this means HostMonitor sends request to backup RMA when cannot establish connection with primary agent). Plus HostMonitor sends request to 2nd RMA every time primary RMA returns "bad" test result (e.g. "No answer", "Unknown host", "Bad"). This means test can be performed from 2 different locations and "Bad" status will be used when both checks performed by both agents fail. Yes, you can use "master-dependant" test relations for such checks and for other much more complicated schemes. However new option allows you to simplify setup, you need just 1 test item instead of 2 items.
      The following table illustrates how HostMonitor performs test using 2 agents in "Redundant check" mode:
      1st RMA result2nd RMA resultTest status
      "Good" status Not used "Good" status
      "Unknown" status "Good" status "Good" status
      "Unknown" status   "Unknown" status   "Unknown" status  
      "Unknown" status "Bad" status "Bad" status
      "Bad" status "Bad" status "Bad" status
      "Bad" status "Unknown" status"Bad" status
      "Bad" status "Good" status "Good" status
    Note 1: 

    "Primary agent" - the agent that is specified for the test execution. As you may specify different agents for different test items, the same agent can be a "primary" and "backup", depending on the situation. For example, you may use AgentA to perform set of WMI tests and use AgentB to perform SNMP tests. In case of an emergency AgentB may execute WMI tests as well (AgentB is backup agent for AgentA). AgentA may perform SNMP tests in the case of AgentB failing (AgentA is backup agent for AgentB).

    Note 2:  Options on Misc page in the Options dialog (HostMonitor application) allow the behaviour of the tests when primary agent does not respond to be specified. "If backup agent is specified and connection to primary RMA failed" parameter allows you to choose one of the two options:
    • Set "Unknown" status, log the error, then repeat test using backup agent
    • Request backup agent without reporting error


  • How to edit connection parameters for the agent

    To change connection parameters for an agent, select it from the list and press Enter (or choose "Edit connection parameters" item in "Agents" menu). An "Agent Connection Parameters" dialog will pop up, there you may setup connection parameters (agent address, port, timeout, password, etc) like it was already described in previous abstract ("How to add new agent to the list").


  • How to obtain information about agent(s)

    When you create a new agent record in the list, RMA Manager tries to connect to a specified agent and gets information from it. However you can refresh/reload this information at any time. Just select a set of agents (or select just one record), and choose "Refresh info" item from the menu "Agent(s)" or press CTRL + I.
    RMA Manager will then try to connect to each agent being selected and gets the following information:
    • Agent: an internal name of an agent;
    • Platform: OS platform that this agent is designed for;
    • Version: the version number of the agent;
    • Developer: the company that created RMA software;
    • Comment: the content of a comment field that you or system administrator had provided when a remote agent was installed and configured.
    • Host: information regarding system where the agent is running on: hostname, Windows version, Service Pack, etc.
    If a connection with agent was established, RMA Manager updates all information and sets the status of an agent to "operable". If RMA Manager was not able to get information from an agent, it sets the status to "no answer" (if no answer from an agent was received) or "bad answer" (if some error code was received from an agent, e.g. wrong password).
    Active RMA notes:
    - "Connected" status is used for Active RMA only. It inticates that agent is connected to RMA Manager.
    - See also: Note #1 and Note #2.


  • How to reload/terminate agent(s)

    You may reload or terminate an agent on a remote system. It is obvious, that to be able to perform either of these operations an agent should be running and an option "Enable remote management from address" should be enabled. An IP address specified in "Enable remote management from address" of that agent should match the address of the system where you are currently working with RMA Manager.
    To reload/terminate agent(s), select a group of agents (or just one agent) in the list and click "Reload agent"/"Terminate agent" button on the tool bar (or use similar item from the menu "Agents").


  • How to upgrade agent

    First: to upgrade an agent you need at least to have a newer version of agents` software.
    Second: an agent of older version should be already running on the remote system.
    Third (a): If you want to update passive agent, "Enable remote updates from address" parameter of the agent configuration must be enabled and an IP address specified by this option should point to the machine where you are currently working with RMA Manager. Of course all operations with agent(s) are encrypted and password protected however this option provides additional security (an extra security is never superfluous :-)
    Third (b): If you want to update Active RMA, "Allow remote management" parameter of the agent configuration must be enabled and agent should be connected to the manager (this process may take some time, see Note #2).

    So, to upgrade agent(s), select a group of agent items in the list and click "Upgrade agent" button on the tool bar (or use similar item from menu "Agents"). The dialog will prompt you to select the file with newer version of agents` software code. After this RMA Manager will send this file to all selected agents. Agents then will write that file to the hard drives of their remote systems and restart themselves. After the completion of this operation an agent with a new code will run on each of the remote systems.
    Note: agents have been compiled into standalone executable modules: rma.exe (passive agent) and rma_active.exe (active agent)

    Similarly you may upgrade the configuration utility (rma_cfg.exe) on the set of remote systems*. The only difference is in using the menu item "Upgrade configuration utility" instead of "Upgrade agent" and selecting new version of "rma_cfg" utility for upgrade.


  • How to change agents settings (Passive RMA)

    configuring agent You may change settings of many agents at one time. Obviously those agents should be running. An agents` setting "Enable remote management from an address" should be enabled and an IP address specified there should point to the machine where you are currently working with RMA Manager. This is an additional measure that together with password protection and encryption of all communications between RMA Manager and an agent provides extra security.

    To view/modify agent(s) configuration, select group of agents in the list and click "Agent configuration" button on the tool bar (or use similar item from menu "Agents"). RMA Manager will then connect to a first agent from the group and after getting its` configuration settings will display them in the dialog window. The following individual settings and groups of settings are available:

    Comment:
    here you may specify a comment (actually you may type any text here, it could be a simple recognizable name or an identifier for this agent). This helps to identify agents easier.

    Connection parameters

    • Port
      specifies the TCP port number which RMA utilizes to listen for incoming connections. Default setting is #1055.

    • Timeout
      the maximum amount of time (in seconds) that agent will keep waiting for the complete request packet from HostMonitor (after initial TCP connection established) before dropping the connection.

    • Password
      minimum six character length password. Using of an empty password is not permitted. The password is required for every communication session between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager. All traffic between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager is encrypted and the password itself is never transmitted through the network without encryption.

    Security settings

    • Accept connections from any IP address
      enabling this option will allow RMA to accept control commands from any IP address (as long as the incoming connection provides correct password)

    • Accept connections from following addresses
      specifies the list of IP addresses. After enabling this option RMA will accept remote connections only from the addresses in this list (password is required as always). Usually you have to add just one address to this list, namely the one for the system where HostMonitor is running.
      To add an address to the list press Insert key, to remove an address from the list press Ctrl+Del, to edit item press Enter or double-click it.

    • Enable remote management from address
      this option sets the IP address from which it is allowed to control and manage RMA. Using RMA Manager installed on the system with that IP address you will be able to change agent's settings remotely, also you will be able to restart and terminate an agent.
      Note: Instead of single IP address you may specify a list and/or a range of IP addresses. IP addresses in the list should be separated by comma. Dash is used to define a range of addresses. Example: "127.0.0.1,  192.168.13.10 - 192.168.13.99,  165.14.22.1".

    • Enable remote updates from address
      this option allows remote updates of the RMA code (e.g. when a new version is available) from the IP address being provided. You may provide single IP address or you may specify a list and/or a range of IP addresses. IP addresses in the list should be separated by comma. Dash is used to define a range of addresses. Example: "127.0.0.1,  192.168.13.10 - 192.168.13.99,  165.14.22.1".

    • Enable following tests
      specifies the list of tests methods allowed for execution by this RMA. To enable a test mark the corresponding check box, to disable a test unmark the box near it.

    • Enable following actions
      specifies the list of actions allowed for execution by the agent. To enable a action mark the corresponding check box, to disable a action unmark the box near it.

    Logging

    • Successful audit log to
      here you may specify a log file where agent will store information about successfully accepted connections. This log has no use when everything works well (it then just takes space on the hard drive), but you may found it really helpful when a sophisticated network problem has to be fixed. If you specify just the name of the file (without a full path), an agent will store a log in the same directory where it was started from.

    • Failure audit log to
      you may specify another log file where an agent will store information about rejected requests. E.g.: connections from an IP addresses that are not allowed or connections with invalid password, etc. Log file is a simple text file that contains date of the event, remote IP address from which an attempt of connection has occurred and information about the error. If you specify just the file name (without path), an agent will store it in the directory where it was started from.

    After you have made changes to the settings above, you may refine the list of agents that will accept these settings (an "Apply to" list). By default this list contains all those agents that were selected before you have pressed the "Agent configuration" button. You may remove or add new agents from/to the list.
    After you click "Apply" button the new settings will be sent to the agents. You may click "Cancel" button if you have changed your mind.


  • How to change agents` settings (Active RMA)

    configuring agent You may change settings of many agents at one time. Obviously those agents should be running, "Allow remote management" parameter of the agent configuration must be enabled and agent should be connected to the manager (this process may take some time, see Note #2).

    To view/modify agent(s) configuration, select group of agents in the list and click "Agent configuration" button on the tool bar (or use similar item from menu "Agents"). RMA Manager will then request first agent from the group and after getting its` configuration settings will display them in the dialog window. The following individual settings and groups of settings are available:

    Agent identification
    • Name
      Unique name that identifies an agent. You should not assign the same name for several agents. If you do so, HostMonitor will accept connection from 1st started agent and reject connection from other agents with the same name
    • Password
      Minimum six-character length password. An empty password using is not permitted. Several RMA agents may use the same password. The password is required for every communication session between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager. All traffic between RMA and HostMonitor or RMA and RMA Manager is encrypted and the password itself is never transmitted through the network without encryption.
    • Comment
      Here you may specify a comment (actually you may type any text here, it could be a simple recognizable name or an identifier for this agent). This helps to identify agents easier. HostMonitor and RMA Manager will display the content of these fields when they work with remote agents.
    Note: when you setup agent record using HostMonitor or RMA Manager GUI, you should use exactly the same name and password that were used when you setup Active RMA on remote system using rma_cfg utility

    HostMonitor connection parameters
    • Host
    • Port
    These parameters specify where HostMonitor is running and what TCP port should be used for connection

    Allow remote management
    • Host
    • Port

    If you enable remote management, you should specify IP address or hostname of the system where RMA Manager is running. RMA Manager and HostMonitor can be started on the same system and we recommend to do this. In this case you should use different TCP ports for connection. Default settings: HostMonitor listens for incoming connections from RMA on TCP port 5056, while RMA Manager utilizes port 5057.
    Note1: It is not necessary to have RMA Manager running all the time. If RMA cannot connect to RMA Manager it will try to establish communication every 30 sec.
    Note2: If you start RMA Manager on the same system where HostMonitor is running, HostMonitor tells all connected RMA to establish connection with RMA Manager immediately (if "Full management" option is enabled for the agent).

    Enable the following tests
    Here you may specify the list of tests methods allowed for execution by this RMA. To enable a test mark the corresponding check box, to disable a test unmark the box near it.

    Enable the following actions
    Here you may define the list of actions allowed for execution by the agent. To enable an action mark the corresponding check box, to disable an action unmark the box near it.

    Logging

    Successful audit log to
    Here you may specify a log file where agent will store information about successfully accepted connections. This log has no use when everything works well (it then just takes space on the hard drive), but you may found it really helpful when a sophisticated network problem has to be fixed. If you specify just the name of the file (without a full path), an agent will store a log in the same directory where it was started from.

    Failure audit log to
    You may specify another log file where an agent will store information about rejected requests. E.g.: connections from an IP addresses that are not allowed or connections with invalid password, etc. Log file is a simple text file that contains date of the event, remote IP address from which an attempt of connection has occurred and information about the error. If you specify just the file name (without path), an agent will store it in the directory where it was started from.

    Also HostMonitor's system log should be useful when you face some connection problems.

    After you have made changes to the settings above, you may refine the list of agents that will accept these settings (an "Apply to" list). By default this list contains all those agents that were selected before you have pressed the "Agent configuration" button. You may remove or add new agents from/to the list.
    After you click "Apply" button the new settings will be sent to the agents. You may click "Cancel" button if you have changed your mind.


Main menu:

File
Export -Exports list of agents into CSV (comma separated values) file
Import -Imports list of agents from CSV file
Exit -Closes RMA Manager
 
Agent(s)
New - Brings up "Agent Connection Parameters" dialog and allows you to to add a new record for a (new) agent into the list
Edit connection params - Allows you to change agents' network connection parameters
Remove agent - Removes agent's record from the list (doesn't do anything with an agent itself)
Refresh info - Establishes connection with agent(s) and retrieves agents information (version, status, etc)
Agent configuration - Allows you to modify configuration of the agent(s)
Reload settings - Forces selected agent(s) to reread their settings from ini file
Reload agent - Reloads (application) selected agent(s)
Upgrade agent - Upgrades the code (using specified executable module) for selected agent(s)
Terminate agent - Terminates execution of selected agent(s)
Select all - Selects all agent records from the list
 
Help
Help -Displays Help
Home page -Starts default web browser, opens home page of the RMA Manager on www.ks-soft.net
WWW Forum -Starts default web browser, opens web forum on www.ks-soft.net
Support -Allows you to send e-mail to our tech support staff
About -About RMA Manager
License -License information, registration


Additional comments:

Note: We recommend you to start RMA Manager on the same system where HostMonitor is running. In this case RMA Manager sends message to HostMonitor that, in turn, tells all connected Active RMA to establish connection with RMA Manager (if "Full management" option is enabled for the agent). Otherwise Active RMA will connect to RMA Manager within 30 sec time frame.
Also, if you start RMA Manager on system where Advanced Host Monitor package is not installed, you will need to synchronize agents.lst files manually (copy modified file into the folder where HostMonitor is installed).

Export/Import:

The list of agents may be exported into CSV file (menu "File" -> "Export..."). After some modifications that file may be then imported back again into RMA Manager (menu "File" -> "Import...").

Import Passive RMA list from CSV (comma-separated value) file.
The file should begin with header line "Address,Name,Port,Timeout,Password,BackupAgent,BalanceMode"; the following lines contain information about the agents (1 agent per line).
E.g.
Address,Name,Port,Timeout,Password,BackupAgent,BalanceMode
292.168.1.101,"RMA in UK office",1055,12000,"pppp"
292.168.1.101,"RMA in UK backup",1055,12000,"pppp","RMA in UK office"50/50
252.188.1.102,"RMA in USA office",1055,12000,"www"


Import Active RMA list from CSV (comma-separated value) file.
The file should begin with header line "Name,Password,Timeout,KeepConnection,BackupAgent,BalanceMode"; the following lines contain information about the agents (1 agent per line). Note: Timeout and KeepConnection parameters are not used in current version however we recommend you to set these fields to "10000" and "yes" accordingly.
E.g.
Name,Password,Timeout,KeepConnection,BackupAgent,BalanceMode
"active1-mainftp","pswdpswd",10000,yes,"active2-backup",Backup
"active2-backup","pswdpswd",10000,yes



Minimum system requirements

  • Windows XP SP2, Vista SP2, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2, Server 2008 SP2/R2 or Windows Server 2012
  • Internet Explorer 6 or higher (application can work without IE but help system will not be available)
  • TCP/IP connection (LAN or Dial-up)
  • 2 MB of free disk space
  • Minimum screen resolution: 800 x 600
Recommended:
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Internet Explorer 10+
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher

How much does it cost?

When you purchase an Advanced Host Monitor ENTERPRISE edition you will get the license for RMA Manager at no cost. Otherwise the license costs $90 USD. You can order RMA Manager using credit card, Switch and Solo debit cards, check/money order or wire transfer. If you are concerned about submitting your order and/or credit card information online, you may register the RMA Manager via phone, fax or postal mail.
Details..