Assigning Collectors to Engines

Contents

Assigning Collectors to Engines

Overview

Every Collector must know the address of its assigned Engine to work properly. The address of the Engine was thus typically embedded in the installer of the Collector when generating the installer itself. Hence deploying the Collector on a setup with multiple Engines required to generate a different installer for every group of Collectors that were assigned to a same Engine.

Once installed, each Collector could be reassigned to any other Engine by means of the Collector Configuration tool or the Control Panel extension, when available.

DeployingWithoutCA.png

With rule-based Collector assignment turned on, generate instead a single installer that provides the address of the Portal (and not of the different Engines) to all Collectors. Upon first connection, each Collector receives the address of its assigned Engine from the Portal. Thereafter the Collector can start sending end-user information to the Engine as usual:

DeployingWithCA.png

The Portal manages the assignment process thanks to a configurable set of rules. By modifying the set of rules, dynamically reassign Collectors to different Engines. The rules define the assignment of Collectors not only to Engines, but also to entities, which constitute the base to organize your devices in hierarchies. Therefore, note that activating rule-based Collector assignment overrides the conventional method to assign entities to devices.

In addition to the connectivity between Collectors and Portal, the process of assigning Collectors requires extra connections between the Portal and the Engines. Review the connectivity requirements for rule-based Collector assignment.

Regarding platform support, when rule-based assignment is turned on, the assignment of Collectors to Engines is valid for Windows devices only.

Applies to platforms: PlatformWindows.png

On the other hand, the entity assignment specified by the same rules is valid for both Windows and Mac Collectors.

Applies to platforms: PlatformWindows.png PlatformMac.png

Support for rule-based Collector assignment

Rule-based Collector assignment is offered in V6.19 as an option for fresh installations. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Nexthink and want to activate rule-based Collector assignment, please contact Nexthink Support.

In V6.19, rule-based Collector assignment supports rules with conditions on the IP address and the name of the devices only. Therefore, ensure that your current assignment of entities is based either on IP addresses or device names before migrating to rule-based assignment. Ensure as well that you do not have any roaming devices that switch between Engines and whose assignment is based exclusively on the IP address of the device.

The operations described in this article should only be performed by a Nexthink Engineer or a Nexthink Certified Partner.

If you need help or assistance, please contact your Nexthink Certified Partner.

Writing the assignment rules

Express the rules for Collector assignment in a CSV file that has the tabular structure of the following example:

Engine Entity Field1 Pattern1 Field2 Pattern2 Platform
France Paris ip 192.168.10.0/24 name Par* *
France Lyon ip 192.168.11.0/24 name Lyo* *
USA New York name NY* ip 10.100.0.0/16 *
USA Los Angeles name LA* ip 10.200.0.0/16 *

Each column in the CSV file means the following:

Engine
The name of the Engine to be assigned (case insensitive).
Entity
The name of the entity to be assigned (case insensitive).
Field1
The name of the first device field on which to base the assignment.
Pattern1
The condition pattern that the first specified field must match for assigning the designated Engine and entity to the device.
Field2
The name of the second device field on which to base the assignment.
Pattern2
The condition pattern that the second specified field must match for assigning the designated Engine and entity to the device.
Platform
An additional condition on the platform of the device to proceed with the assignment. In V6.19, the Platform column must always hold the value *; that is, no condition based on Platform is possible.

The columns Field1 and Field2 support the following values:

ip
The last IP address of the device. As pattern for the field, specify either:
  • A single IP address in dot-decimal notation. For example: 192.168.10.1.
  • A subnet in CIDR notation. For example: 192.168.10.0/24.
name
The name of the device (case insensitive). For defining the associated string pattern, use the following wildcards:
  •  ? : Substitutes a single character.
  • * : Substitutes zero or more characters.

To write the CSV file for the rules, use UTF-8 text encoding (max 20 MB). After the header, write each rule in a new line, optionally enclose each item in double quotes (needed to escape special characters), and use the semicolon as delimiter. For instance, the CSV file of our example would look as follows:

"Engine";"Entity";"Field1";"Pattern1";"Field2";"Pattern2";"Platform"
"France";"Paris";"ip";"192.168.10.0/24";"name";"Par*";"*"
"France";"Lyon";"ip";"192.168.11.0/24";"name";"Lyo*";"*"
"USA";"New York";"name";"NY*";"ip";"10.100.0.0/16";"*"
"USA";"Los Angeles";"name";"LA*";"ip";"10.200.0.0/16";"*"


The rule precedence is established from top to bottom. The first rule that is satisfied is applied. For a rule to be satisfied, conditions on both Field1 and Field2 must be fulfilled, that is, both patterns must match.

To upload the resuting CSV file to the Portal:

  1. Log in to the Portal as central administrator.
  2. From the ADMINISTRATION menu at the top, select Collectors under SYSTEM CONFIGURATION.
  3. Click Add new rule under the Rules section.
    1. Fill in the fields in the dialog:
      • For RULE NAME, type in a unique name for the rule.
      • Optional: In DESCRIPTION, describe the purpose of the rule.
      • Under CSV FILE, click Upload new file and select your previously created CSV file.

CollectorAssignmentPortalAdmin.png

Simulating and activating Collector assignment

For a seamless transition from manual to rule-based Collector assignment and to avoid unexpected assignments, simulate your rules in the Portal. The simulation of Collector assignment rules lets you see what the effect of applying the rules would be, without actually changing the currently assigned Engines and entities.

The simulation of assignment rules is thus specially useful in two situations:

  • When switching from manual to rule-based assignment.
  • When testing a new set of rules.

Therefore, before completely switching to rule-based assignment, try the so-called simulation mode. In simulation mode, Collector assignment is still manual, but the Portal lets you simulate the effect of assignment rules. Safely evaluate the readiness of your setup and the convenience of switching to rule-based assignment thanks to simulation mode.

Ensure first that you instructed your Collectors to connect to the Portal and to accept rule-based assignment during their installation. To find out the devices whose Collector can reach the Portal:

  1. Log in to the Portal as central administrator.
  2. From the ADMINISTRATION menu at the top, select Collectors under SYSTEM CONFIGURATION.
  3. See the list of devices whose Collector is communicating with the Portal under Devices. Only the first 100 devices are displayed.
  4. Optional: Click Export to CSV to get the full list of devices.

Once verified that the Collectors communicate with the Portal, activate simulation mode:

  1. Log in to the Web Console of the master appliance as administrator.
  2. In the Appliance tab, select Collector management from the left-hand side menu.
  3. Select Manual Collector Assignment (legacy) but simulation of rule-based assignment is enabled.
  4. Click SAVE. Saving your changes restarts the Portal and all Engines.

CollectorAssignmentConfiguration.png

To simulate your own assignment rules, write the rules in a CSV file and upload it to the Portal as explained in the previous section. From the same Collectors page in the Portal, find your newly created rule in the list and click simulate. The results of the new assignment are displayed.

To definitively activate rule-based Collector assignment:

  1. Log in to the Web Console of the master appliance as administrator.
  2. In the Appliance tab, select Collector management from the left-hand side menu.
  3. Select Rule-based Collector Assignment.
  4. Click SAVE. Saving your changes restarts the Portal and all Engines.

Beware that, once you activate rule-based Collector Assignment, there is no way to revert to manual assignment except by reinstalling the whole product. Indeed, once in rule-based mode, the other options disappear from the Collector management page in the Web Console:

CollectorAssignmentTurnedOn.png

Current active rules are then enforced, but remember that you can always simulate new rules before applying them. To apply a new set of rules, write and upload a new CSV file to the Portal, as explained in the previous section, and click activate from its entry in the list of rules in the Collectors page of the Portal.

Reassignment

Once the Portal has successfully assigned an Engine to a Collector, the Collector receives new assignment information from its assigned Engine. The Collector asks for new assignment information every time that its TCP connection to the Engine is interrupted. Therefore, when you activate a new rule, an impacted Collector will keep its current assignment until the device on which it runs loses its connectivity or is rebooted.

Related references
Related concepts