Using the BMC BPPM 9.5 Central Monitoring Administration (CMA) Policy Console

Have you ever been frustrated to discover that your monitoring failed because one of your Patrol agents wasn’t configured correctly?  There are so many things that can go wrong with keeping all your agents in sync and up to date.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all of your Patrol Agent configurations could all be automated somehow?

We think so, too.  There is a ray of hope with the release of the BMC TrueSight BPPM CMA Console in version 9.5.  The CMA Console was actually 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 BMC BPPM (TrueSight) CMA 9.5.

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

BMC BPPM CMA Agent Configuration Policies – A Brief History

BPPM 9.0 introduced configuration policies for the first time with the CMA.  A CMA Policy should 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 selector criteria.  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 version 9.0 of the CMA, this dialog might sound familiar…

You want to monitor an Oracle database on Windows?  Great, create a policy for that.  

What about Oracle on Unix?  Okay, create a policy for that, too.

Oracle and WebSphere on Unix?  Create yet another policy…  

Wait, can’t I just add a WebSphere policy to my Oracle on Unix policy?  Nope.

What if I want different thresholds for some of my Oracle databases?  Just create some more policies.  

This is starting to sound like every single monitoring agent needs its own policy created.  How is this better than what I had before?  <silence>

So, 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.

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BMC BPPM CMA version 9.5 to the Rescue

With the release of the 9.5 (TrueSight) BPPM CMA Console, the Policy capability features available grew from three 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 three before.  And the Policy selector capabilities, the items which engages the Policy, has gone from one, the BPPM Tag, to eight, with the added ability of creating simple, or very complex condition statements now. 

With all of those new features, BMC BPPM CMA 9.5 allows for dynamic automation of your Patrol Agent configurations like never before.

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.

BMC BPPM CMA Blackout and Staging Policies

Last but not least, you have the final two new policies.  The Blackout and Staging Policy.  We plan to have an entire blog and webinar devoted to just these two, so be sure to keep an eye out for those. Combined with the 7 Monitoring Configurations detailed above, the BPPM 9.5 CMA Policy Configuration Management now bring together 9 policies in total, to allow for the true automation of your Patrol Agent configurations. Be sure to register to receive our future blog and webinar distributions, where we’ll discuss and show how to create and use these policies, to begin your journey in the beautiful world of Configuration Automation.

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