Deploying and Managing Task Agents

From the Agents section of the SMC, clicking the Agents folder displays the Agents screen as shown below. Here, you can deploy new agents and manage the properties of existing agents.

Deploying Agents

Remote task execution involves first deploying agents onto the remote computer. The AutoMate BPA Agent deployment wizard can be used to deploy agents to other computers on your system so they can communicate with AutoMate BPA Server and provide automation execution services across the network.

To deploy an Agent:

  1. From the SMC, click the Agents button and select the Agents folder.

  2. Click the Deploy button. The Agent Deployment Wizard Getting Started screen will initially appear providing important information regarding the deployment process, as shown below. Note that the Deployment Wizard will work only if the following conditions are met:

 

  1. Click the Next button. The Select Destination screen appears (shown below), which allows the selection of computers in which to deploy Agents to. A pull-down menu provides the option to retrieve the computers from an Active Directory list view, a network list view, or the preference to enter the computer name (or IP Address) manually. To select more than one computer, hold down the Control key while selecting.

 

  1. Highlight the computer(s) you want to deploy an agent to and click the Next button. The Registration Information screen appears as shown below. The parameters labeled Username and Password, requires the username and password of a domain administrator or a domain user with administrative rights on the computer(s) where an Agent will be deployed. The parameters labeled Server Username and Server password requires the username and password of an AutoMate BPA Server user configured as an administrator. This allows the server component to properly authenticate newly deployed Agents.

 

  1. After entering the required information, click the Deploy button. The Deploy screen appears:

 

  1. At the end of the deployment process, you are presented with a detailed log window which takes account of Agent deployment and installation results relating to all computers that were originally selected. If the system encountered an error while deploying, it displays a message such as the one displayed below. Click the Finish button to complete the deployment process. The Agents folder will then be populated with the newly deployed agents.

 

Managing Agents

Each agent contains a set of general properties which allows you to view specific details, enter custom notes and assign permissions for that agent. To access an agent's general properties, from the Agents folder, select the desired agent and click the Properties button or double-click the agent. The general properties of that agent appears as shown below.

Details

The Details section displays various attributes pertaining to the specified Agent

Field or Checkbox

Description

Name

The assigned name of the agent

Created By

The user who created the agent as indicated in the Users section of the SMC.

Created On

The date/time when the agent was initially created.

Modified On

The date/time when the agent properties were last modified.

Version Date

The version date/time.

Globally Enabled

Indicates whether or not the agent is globally enabled. This option is enabled by default.

 

Notes

The Notes section provides a location in which to enter descriptive information or custom notes in regards to the specified agent. Notes entered will appear in various reports and other sections of the SMC.

Security

The Security section allows you to set permissions for existing users or user groups on this agent. Instructions are as follows:

  1. Click the Add button. The Add a Group/User screen appears where a pre-existing user or group can be selected, as shown below.

  1. Select the Users or User Groups tab, highlight the user or group and click the OK button. The selected user or group is then added to the Groups or Users list as shown below.

  1. Highlight the user or group and set the available permissions to Allow or Deny. Upon completion, click Apply to save changes.

Below is the set of permissions and the items that they correspond to:   

 

Workflow

Task

Condition

User

User Group

Agent

Agent Group

Folder

Create

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Read

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Edit

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Delete

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Move

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Enable/Disable

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

Manually Execute

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manually Stop

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modify Staging

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

 

Import

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Export

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Agent Properties

Along with general properties, each agent contains a set of agent properties, which are specific settings and preferences that influence the behavior of agents that interpret and execute the workflows and tasks sent by the server. To access agent properties, from the Agents folder, select the desired agent and click the Properties button or double-click the agent. The agent properties of that agent appears directly below the general properties.

NOTE: These properties can also be set under Default Agent Settings in the Options tab. Any property set in the Options tab will display the word Inherited underneath the property. If you reset the property here, it will not inherit from the Options tab.

Default User

The Default User option allows you set a workflow to log a user on and off if they are not present. See the following table for field information.

Property

Description

Default user name

Specifies either a plain user name such as sparky, or a user name/domain combination such as sparky@networkautomation.com. When the latter form is used, the domain field is disabled

Default user password

Specifies the password to be used with the default user name specified above. This can be blank if no password is associated with the selected user.

Default user domain/machine name

Specifies the domain or machine name associated with the user. This option can be left blank if the user is not a member of a domain or if there is only one workgroup for the machine.

Logon keystrokes:

Specifies the keystrokes used to logon to a workstation when a user is not present. The default, which appears when you open the Default User option, tells AutoMate BPA Server 7 to press ALT+U to bring the cursor to the Username field. It then types out the user name. Next, it presses ALT+P to bring the cursor to the Password field, and types out the password. Then the ENTER key is pressed to complete the logon. (Note that the CTRL+ALT+DEL key sequence is not a part of the Logon Keystrokes.)

Unlock keystrokes:

Same as for the Logon Keystrokes field.

Logon keystroke delay

Causes AutoMate BPA Server 7 to pause a prescribed amount of time default is 200 milliseconds before attempting to send the user name and password.

 

Indicators

The Indicators option provides checkboxes that when checked, display indicators for run-time workflows.

Primary Checkbox

Secondary Checkbox or Field (if any)

Description

Show AutoMate Agent Icon in tray

N/A

Allows you to choose when you want to display the AutoMate BPA Server 7 agent icon in your system tray.

Display "Running Workflow" when  a window is running

N/A

Tells the system to display a small window near the System Tray to say when a workflow is running.

 

Display title bar on "Running Workflow" window

Tells the system to display a title bar on the "Running Workflow" window

 

Make "Running Workflow" window always on top

Tells the system to put the "Running Workflow" window on top of the screen as the first screen you see.

 

Use transparent window

If selected, the "Running Workflow" window is transparent.

Enable the task interruption hotkey

N/A

Workflow interruption hotkey Enter this key sequence to interrupt the workflow.

 

 SNMP

SNMP is the Internet standard protocol developed to manage nodes (servers, workstations, routers, switches and hubs etc.) on an IP network. AutoMate BPA Server 7 natively supports SNMP Get, SNMP Set, SNMP Walk and SNMP traps allowing complete automation of your network infrastructure. SNMP also enables integration of AutoMate BPA Server 7 with products such as Microsoft MOM and others.

Field or Checkbox

 Description

MIB files location

A directory where the MIB files are located.  Only files with an extension of .mib are parsed. Click the browse icon to look for the directory. The SNMP actions use these MIB files to translate object names and identifiers to their numeric counterparts.

Listen to traps on local port

The port number that AutoMate BPA Server 7 will use to listen for traps using the SNMP Trap Watcher.  Set this to some other than the default if you already have an SNMP manager installed on your system.  Note, however, that if this port is changed, the SNMP agent must be notified of the proper port in order for AutoMate BPA Server 7 to capture the trap event.

SMTP

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the standard for e-mail transmissions across the Internet. The SMTP option specifies the email server and account for sending emails that are generated by AutoMate BPA Server 7.

Option

Description

Default mail server

Enter the name of the mail server name that will send emails generated by AutoMate BPA Server 7. For example, can be mail.yourcompanyname.com.

Default mail server port

Enter mail server port.

Use authentication

Enter an email address to send emails generated by AutoMate BPA Server 7. For example, mblack@yourcompanyname.com.

 

Enter the password for the email address listed above.

 

Proxy

The proxy options specify the default proxy settings AutoMate BPA Server 7 should use when attempting any network communications. This includes any Internet steps that are set to use the default proxy settings.

Option button/checkbox

Options (if any)

Description

Proxy type

None
Socks4
Socks4a
Socks5

The proxy type to use.  When none is selected, AutoMate BPA Server 7 does not use a proxy for its TCP/IP communication (unless a specific AutoMate BPA Server 7 steps is set otherwise).

Proxy host

 

Hostname

The hostname or host address of the proxy to use. Grayed-out until Proxy type is chosen.

Proxy port

N/A

 The port on the proxy server to use.

Use authentication

N/A

When selected, AutoMate BPA Server 7 will attempt to use the Username and Password specified to authenticate a proxy request.  When not selected, AutoMate BPA Server 7 attempts to contact the proxy server without authentication.

 

UserID

If "Use authentication" is selected, use this username to authenticate proxy requests

 

Password

If "Use authentication" is selected, use this password to authenticate proxy requests.

 

Constants

This option specifies the constants that are configured for use on the agent. A constant is an agent specific, read-only named value unlike a variable, which is not read-only. Use the buttons to add, modify, and remove constants. To add a constant, click first in the Name or Value field. Then click the Add button. A dialog appears that prompts you to add the name, value or comment.

Option

Description

Name

Enter the name of the constant.

Value

Enter the value of the constant.

Comment

Enter a comment.

 

Miscellaneous

This option enables you to set various AutoMate BPA Server 7 options.  

Field or Checkbox

Description

Agent Icon in the system tray

Select an option from the drop-down: always, when a task is running or never.

Automate Agent Port

Enter the port number to use with AutoMate BPA Server 7 agents.

 

Disable Windows Foreground Timeout

Prevents other applications from focusing or changing the order of windows on a system without direct user interaction if another application has been accessed within several seconds. This can prevent AutoMate BPA Server 7 from properly focusing windows using the Focus Window action.  Instead of the window being focused and brought to the foreground, Windows will blink the window in the system tray until it is manually clicked.  Enabling this option to turn off the Windows Foreground Timeout will allow AutoMate BPA Server 7 unobstructed ability to focus windows in an unattended environment.

  

See Also

Agents

Agent Groups

Creating and Managing Agent Groups

Deploying and Managing Agents