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Managing Agent Platforms with SNMP. Brian Remick Research Proposal Defense March 10, 2014. Overview. Motivation Agent Management Requirements Network Management Research Overview Architecture Research Plan Schedule and Questions. Motivation. Agent platforms are very complex.

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Managing agent platforms with snmp l.jpg

Managing Agent Platformswith SNMP

Brian Remick

Research Proposal Defense

March 10, 2014

Overview l.jpg

  • Motivation

  • Agent Management Requirements

  • Network Management

  • Research Overview

  • Architecture

  • Research Plan

  • Schedule and Questions

Motivation l.jpg

  • Agent platforms are very complex.

    • Difficult to debug from a software perspective.

    • Difficult to analyze from an administrator’s perspective.

  • No formal management specification.

    • FIPA leaves this up to the platform implementation.

    • Thus, each implementation does it differently (if at all).

Basic requirements l.jpg

Create agents

Destroy agents

Move agents between containers

Change agent state

Basic Requirements

Advanced requirements l.jpg
Advanced Requirements

  • Load balancing

  • Agent mobility

  • Communication pattern analysis

Load balancing l.jpg

Agents can overload resources

System resources (CPU, memory)

Programmatic resources (Slow data structures)

Identification of overloaded agents by:

Communication level

Resource usage

Response time

Platform-specific knowledge

Management system should be able to:

Identify agents that are degrading system performance.

React to achieve balance in the platform.

Redistribute agents.

Create more agents to handle load.

Load Balancing

Agent mobility l.jpg

Agents move between containers/platforms.

Management system must keep track of this.

Identify new agents arriving on platform.

Follow agents to other platforms?

Agent Mobility

Communication patterns l.jpg

Provide framework for communication analysis.

Types of messages sent to/from an agent.




Administrator can use this information to analyze communication patterns.

Identify agent defects through communication behavior.

Closely related to load balancing.

Communication Patterns

Network management l.jpg
Network Management

  • Basic Idea

    • Manage various resources of vastly different types.

    • Scalable, Flexible

    • Non-intrusive

      • As much as possible

  • Components of a network management system

    • Proxy “agents”

    • Communication protocol (SNMP)

    • Management system(s)

Proxy agents l.jpg

Unfortunate terminology.

Related to autonomous agents but not the same.

Distributed pieces of software.

Act as representatives for network resources

Printers, routers, etc.

Implement a standard interface accessible through a protocol.

Exposes attributes / functionality of resource.

Broadcast “traps” back to managers.

Proxy “Agents”

Protocol snmp l.jpg

A standard protocol is used to communicate between proxy agents and managers.

Flexibility is key.

Need to be able to facilitate interface for any resource.

Simple Network Management Protocol

One of the first.

Industry standard.

Protocol (SNMP)

Management systems l.jpg
Management Systems agents and managers.

  • MIB Browsers

    • Provide simple access to proxy agent interface.

    • Get / set values associated with resource.

  • Enterprise Management Systems

    • Sophisticated control over resources.

    • Ability to set thresholds, gather temporal data, graphs, etc.

    • Customizable: views of data, resource graphs

    • Designed for more than strictly network management.

  • Examples

    • HP Openview

Network and agent management l.jpg

Both solve similar problems agents and managers.

Distributed resources

Overload conditions


Management of varying types of resources

Use network management techniques in agent management domain

Network management can be used to meet the requirements of agent management.

Network and Agent Management

Research overview l.jpg
Research Overview agents and managers.

  • Goal: Build an agent platform management system.

    • Based on network management techniques.

  • Details:

    • Needs to meet the requirements mentioned earlier.

    • Using SNMP as the communication protocol.

  • Integrate with enterprise management system.

    • HP Openview

  • Demonstrate

    • Test the system with behaviorial patterns and simulations.

Assumptions l.jpg

Based on FIPA specification agents and managers.

Provides a standard platform specification to work from.

Research could lead to a proposal for the FIPA spec.

Implementation specific to Jade.

Basic framework will be more general.

Access to managed data is assumed.

Platform must allow access to necessary data.


Architecture l.jpg
Architecture agents and managers.

Agent platform layer l.jpg

Need to implement the “proxy agent” for the platform. agents and managers.

Implements a standard interface for agent management.

Hides platform-specific details from the manager.

Implementation in Jade framework:

Actual FIPA-compliant agent living inside the platform.

Allows accessibility to platform-specific information.

Makes use of platform events / Introspection.

Agent Platform Layer

Snmp layer agentx l.jpg

Need to allow proxy agent and managers to communicate via SNMP.


Framework that hides networking details of SNMP (UDP, etc.)

Allows interface definition in SNMP without detailed knowledge of the underlying protocol.

Focus more on effectiveness of interface than protocol itself.

Managers communicate with AgentX

Requests passed on to proxy agent via RPC.

Proxy agent can send traps through AgentX to listening managers.

SNMP Layer (AgentX)

Management system layer l.jpg

Interface with management systems. SNMP.

MIB browser

Enterprise system

Take advantage of enterprise customization

Customized views of containers

Views of communication between agents

HP Openview

Event SDK

GUI customizations

Management System Layer

Research plan l.jpg

Interface definition in SNMP SNMP.

Proxy agent implementation in Jade

Integration with AgentX framework

Management system integration

MIB browser



Patterns of agent behavior


Research Plan

Summary l.jpg
Summary SNMP.

  • System will be able to:

    • Perform basic management tasks.

    • Detect overloaded agents and perform load balancing.

    • Monitor communication between agents.

    • Detect agent mobility.

  • Integrated with industry-standard management tools.

    • HP Openview

Schedule for completion l.jpg

Task SNMP.

Completion Date

Percent Complete

Proposal document



Proposal defense


Interface definition/MIB



Proxy agent implementation



AgentX integration



MIB browser integration


HP Openview plugin


Pattern implementation


Thesis document


Thesis defense


Schedule for Completion