Deploying the Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets

You can manage Bare Metal Targets from the BigFix infrastructure by installing and using the Management Extender for Bare Metal targets.

With this component, you can manage targets that do not have the BigFix client installed.

The Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets is a plug-in that runs locally on one or more Bare Metal Servers in your environment. When a target PXE-boots to the server, the plug-in queries the PXE server and extracts information on the known bare metal targets. The targets are then reported to the BigFix server database, and you can manage them through the BigFix console. From the console, the tasks that are directed to these targets are forwarded to the local Bare Metal Server to which they belong.


Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets flow

The targets that have completed a PXE boot in the last 48 hours are reported in the BigFix infrastructure. This means that any target that did not connect to the bare metal Server within this time frame is not reported to the BigFix server, and is not visible from the Console. You can change this threshold to suit your needs. See Configuring the plug-in behavior in the BareMetalExtender.ini file.

The available target information is refreshed every 10 minutes. You can modify the refresh interval by editing the settings.json file. See Changing the plug-in settings.

Installing the plug-in

The Management Extender for Bare Metal targets requires the installation of the Proxy Agent as a prerequisite. To install and run the correct proxy agent, complete the following steps on the relay in your environment, which is also the Bare Metal Server:
  1. From the BES Support site, search and run Fixlet Install BigFix Proxy Agent (Version 10.0.x) or Install IBM BigFix Proxy Agent (Version 9.x.x), depending on your relay version.
  2. If your relay is at BigFix version 9.2 or 9.5:
    1. From the BES Support site, search and run Fixlet Install BigFix Proxy Agent (Version 9.X.X), depending on your relay version.
    2. When you deploy the action, the list of applicable relays is displayed in the Take Action menu. Select one or more relays from the list and click OK to complete the installation.
    3. Run the task Deploy Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets (ID 150)

The plug-in is installed in the path C:\Program Files(x86)\BigFix Enterprise\Management Extender. The service is started automatically.

After the Bare Metal targets PXE-boot, you can view and manage them from the console. A set of tasks are available to manage these targets. For more information, see Managing Bare Metal Targets.

Configuring the plug-in behavior in the BareMetalExtender.ini file

You can change the behavior of the plug-in by configuring parameters in the BareMetalExtender.ini file .

The LastReportTimeThreshold parameter defines the time window that is taken into account to determine if the bare metal target that completed a PXE boot is still active. The default is set to 48 hours. You can configure this threshold to suit your specific needs and environment.

To change the reporting threshold for the bare metal targets, switch to C:\Program Files\BigFix OSD. Edit the BareMetalExtender.ini, and modify the value of the corresponding parameter:
LastReportTimeThreshold=48

Changing the plug-in settings

You can also customize parameters in the settings.json file.

You can decide the logging detail by modifying the configuration options. To increase the logging level for troubleshooting purposes, edit the C:\Program Files (x86)\Bigfix Enterprise\Management Extender\Plugins\Bare Metal Extender\settings.json file. For example, to change the logging level from 3 to 4:
"ConfigurationOptions" -d v 4  
To change the circular logging default values, edit the -m X:Y setting, where X is the maximum file size in Megabytes, and Y is the maximum number of log/trace files. The default value is -m 10:10. For example, to change the maximum number of trace files from a value of 10 to a value of 5:
"ConfigurationOptions": "-d -v 3 -l \\\"C:\\Program Files\\BigFix OSD\\BareMetalExtender.log\\\" -t \\\"C:\\Program Files\\BigFix OSD\\BareMetalExtender.trc\\\" -m 10:5",
The target information is retrieved and refreshed on the server every 10 minutes. If you want to modify the default refresh interval for retrieving this information from 10 to 15 minutes, overwrite the default value, as shown in the following example:
"DeviceReportRefreshIntervalMinutes": 15, 
The DeviceReportExpirationIntervalHours parameter defines the expiration period after which a bare metal target is considered inactive and can be erased. After this period has expired, the plug-in will stop tracking information for the target. The default value for this interval is 168 hours. You can modify the expiration period by locating the corresponding string:
"DeviceReportExpirationIntervalHours": 168, 

After this interval has elapsed, the entry for the target in the Subscribed Computers can be erased. For information about deleting bare metal target entries, see Deleting bare metal target entries.

After you make changes to the settings in this file, the Proxy Agent service must be restarted for the modifications to take effect.

Starting the service

You can start the Proxy Agent service by running the Start Proxy Agent Fixlet (75).

Uninstalling the plug-in

To remove the Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets, complete the following steps:
  1. Run the Remove Management Extender for Bare Metal Targets Task (ID 151).
  2. Remove the Proxy Agent from the BES Support site, run the task TROUBLESHOOTING: Uninstall BigFix Proxy Agent (ID 1795)

    If your relay is BigFix version 8.2 or 9.0, see Deprecated and Superseded functionalities

Troubleshooting

Logs for troubleshooting are on each Bare Metal Server in %ProgramFiles%\BigFix OSD\BareMetalExtender.trc. The default logging level is 3. You can change circular logging options in the settings.json file. See Changing the plug-in settings.