Introducing the Relevance language

IBM BigFix allows large networks of computers to be easily monitored and patched in real time using Fixlet technology. A Fixlet inspects a client computer and reports back to central servers. This allows a patch or an update to be efficiently applied to just those computers where it is relevant, and no others. It also enables the retrieval of various computer properties that can be collected, analyzed, charted and archived.

The heart of the Fixlet technology is the Relevance language that allows authors to interrogate the hardware and software properties of your managed clients using Inspectors. With the Relevance language, you can write expressions describing virtually any aspect of the client environment. Some Fixlets are simply designed to return Relevance information to the servers, but most of them suggest actions that can patch or update the client computer. The actions, in turn, also take advantage of Relevance expressions.

Fixlet messages and Relevance expressions by themselves can only notify the user or the administrator. Actions, on the other hand, are specifically designed to modify the client, so there is a clear dividing line between a Relevance expression and its associated action - typically a human is required to deploy the action.

Dividing the labor in this fashion, using Relevance clauses to benignly inspect the client and actions to fix them (upon approval), the IBM BigFix applications provide an unprecedented blend of both safety and power.

Relevance expressions are designed to be human-readable. This allows users and administrators to examine them before deploying any associated actions. The language gives you access to thousands of computer properties using Inspectors. The values returned by the Inspectors can be used for calculations and comparisons, allowing the Fixlet to determine relevance and target a computer for action.

This guide is your reference for the Relevance language. With this guide and the appropriate platform-specific Inspector Guides, you will be able to write Relevance expressions that can trigger Fixlet messages. You can learn how to create actions by reading the IBM BigFix Action Language Reference.

This reference is for IT managers who want to write Fixlet messages for computers managed by the IBM BigFix. The standard IBM BigFix package includes tens of thousands of pre-packaged Fixlets and associated actions, but you can to expand on these offerings with custom content tuned to your specific enterprise and security configuration.

This reference is also for IT managers who want to better understand the Relevance expressions that trigger a Fixlet message. Although the language is designed to be human-readable, it is possible to make sophisticated expressions that require careful analysis. This will allow users to understand the Relevance clauses embedded in action scripts as well.