Agentless Monitoring in Operations Manager

System Center Operations Manager can gather performance and availability data on a computer that does not have an agent installed by using a proxy agent that is installed on another computer. Use agentless-monitoring of computers when it is not possible or desirable to install an agent on a computer.

An agentless-managed computer is a Windows-based computer that is discovered by using the Operations console. You assign a management server or agent-managed computer to provide remote (proxy) agent functionality for the computers.

Agentless-managed computers are managed as if there is an agent installed on them. Not all management packs work in agentless mode. For more information, see the documentation for the management packs you are running.

Important

Agentless management of a computer will not work if the agentless-managed computer and its proxy communicate through a firewall. A management server will not collect descriptions for events or publishers that are present on an agentless managed computer but are not present on the proxy agent.

For information about configuring an agent-managed computer as a proxy for agentless-managed computers, see How to configure a proxy for agentless monitoring.

Important

An agentless-managed computer places additional resource utilization on a management server than an agent-managed computer.

To change an agentless-managed computer to an agent-managed computer, do the following:

  1. Delete the agentless-managed computer from the management group by right-clicking the computer in Agentless Managed in the Administration workspace and then clicking Delete.

  2. Deploy the agent to the computer. For more information, first review the planning guidance Operations Manager agents.

Agentless monitoring compared to Agentless Exception Monitoring

Agentless monitoring provides monitoring of computers without agents by using a proxy agent and applying those management packs that support agentless monitoring. Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) redirects hardware, operating system, and application crash information to Operations Manager, which can aggregate, view, and report on error reports that are sent by the Windows Error Reporting service. For information on AEM, see Client monitoring using Agentless Exception Monitoring in Operations Manager.

You can monitor a computer without an agent by using either agentless monitoring, AEM, or both.

To configure Windows-based computers for agentless management

  1. Log on to the Operations console with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Administrators role for the management group.

  2. Click Administration.

  3. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Discovery Wizard.

  4. On the Discovery Type page, click Windows computers.

  5. On the Auto or Advanced? page, do the following:

    1. Select either Automatic computer discovery or Advanced discovery. Automatic computer discovery scans for Windows-based computers in the domain. Advanced discovery allows you to specify criteria for the computers that the wizard will return, such as computer names starting with WKS. If you select Automatic computer discovery, click Next, and then go to step 7. If you select Advanced discovery, continue with the following steps.

    2. In the Computer and Device Classes list, select Servers and Clients, Servers Only, or Clients Only.

    3. In the Management Server list, click the management server or gateway server to discover the computers.

    4. If you selected Servers and Clients, you can select the Verify discovered computers can be contacted check box. This is likely to increase the success rate of agent deployment, but discovery can take longer.

      Note

      If the Active Directory catalog does not contain the NetBIOS names for computers in a domain, select Verify discovered computers can be contacted. Otherwise, the Browse, or Type In option fails to find computers. This affects computers in the same domain as the management server, in another domain with a full trust relationship, and in untrusted domains by using a gateway server.

    5. Click Next.

    Note

    The wizard can return approximately 4000 computers if Verify discovered computers can be contacted is selected, and it can return 10,000 computers if this option is not selected. Automatic computer discovery verifies that discovered computers can be contacted. A computer that is already managed by the management group is not returned.

  6. On the Discovery Method page, you can locate the computers that you want to manage by either scanning or browsing Active Directory Domain Services or typing the computer names.

    If you want to scan, do the following:

    1. If it is not already selected, select Scan Active Directory and then click Configure.

    2. In the Find Computers dialog box, type the criteria that you want to use for discovering computers, and then click OK.

    3. In the Domain list, click the domain of the computers that you want to discover.

    If you want to browse Active Directory Domain Services or type the computer names, do the following:

    • Select Browse for, or type-in computer names, click Browse, specify the names of the computers that you want to manage, and then click OK.

    • In the Browse for, or type-in computer names box, type the computer names, separated by a semi-colon, comma, or a new line. You can use NetBIOS computer names or fully qualified domain names (FQDN).

  7. Click Next, and on the Administrator Account page, do one of the following:

    • Select Use selected Management Server Action Account if it is not already selected.

    • Select Other user account, type the User name and Password, and then select the Domain from the list. If the user name is not a domain account, select This is a local computer account, not a domain account.

      Important

      The account must have administrative privileges on the targeted computers. If This is a local computer account, not a domain account is selected, the management server action account will be used to perform discovery.

  8. Click Discover to display the Discovery Progress page. The time it takes discovery to finish depends on many factors, such as the criteria specified and the configuration of the environment.

    Note

    Computers that are already managed by the management group will not be returned by the wizard.

  9. On the Select Objects to Manage page, do the following:

    1. Select the computers that you want to be agent-managed computers.

    2. In the Management Mode list, click Agentless and then click Next.

    3. Click Change, select the proxy agent that you want to use, click OK, and then click Next.

  10. On the Summary page, do the following:

    1. Leave the Agent installation directory set to the default of %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Monitoring Agent or type an installation path.

      Important

      If a different Agent installation directory is specified, the root of the path must exist on the targeted computer or the agent installation fails. Subdirectories, such as \Agent, are created if they do not exist.

    2. Leave Agent Action Account set to the default, Local System, or select Other and type the User name, Password, and Domain. The Agent Action Account is the default account that the agent will use to perform actions.

    3. Click Finish.

  11. In the Agent Management Task Status dialog box, the Status for each selected computer changes from Queued to Success; the computers are ready to be managed.

    Note

    If the task fails for a computer, click the targeted computer. The reason for the failure is displayed in the Task Output text box.

  12. Click Close. The computers will be listed in the Administration workspace in Agentless Managed.

How to configure a proxy for agentless monitoring

When you set up agentless monitoring of a computer, you select a proxy for each agentless-managed computer. Being configured as a proxy agent allows an agent to submit data on behalf of another source. A management group can serve as a proxy, but this takes up system resources. A best practice is using an agent-managed computer as a proxy agent.

You might also configure a computer to act as a proxy to support specific features of a management pack. For example, the Active Directory Management Pack requires enabling domain controllers to act as proxy agents.

Note

If a proxy agent is removed from management, its agentless systems are no longer managed.

Both the agentless-managed system and its proxy need to have access to the managing server through any firewalls. For more information about interacting with firewalls, see Configuring a firewall for Operations Manager.

  1. In the Administration workspace, click Agent Managed, right-click the computer, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Agent Properties dialog box, click the Security tab.

  3. On the Security tab, select Allow this agent to act as a proxy and discover managed objects on other computers, and then click OK.

How to configure a management server as a proxy for agentless-managed computers

  1. In the Administration workspace, click Management Servers, right-click the management server, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Management Server Properties dialog box, click the Security tab.

  3. On the Security tab, select Allow this server to act as a proxy and discover managed objects on other computers, and then click OK.

How to change the proxy agent for agentless-managed computers

  1. Log on to the computer with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Administrators role for the management group.

  2. In the Operations console, click Administration.

  3. Click Agentless Managed.

  4. In the Agentless Managed pane, select the agentless-managed computers for which you want to change the proxy agent, right-click them, and then select Change Proxy Agent.

  5. In the Change Proxy Agent dialog box, select the computer you want to be the new proxy agent, and then click OK.

Next steps

Monitoring of applications, features, and services are enabled by importing management packs. See What is an Operations Manager management pack for an explanation of what management packs do, and how to import and manage them.