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Community Manager

Cisco AppDynamics unveils our robust new agent lifecycle management solution and its benefits 

In November, we released a robust agent lifecycle management solution that leverages a Smart Agent which orchestrates the entire agent lifecycle management tasks through an improved centralized user interface and advanced Smart Agent CLI. 

One Smart Agent is installed on a host that can manage the Machine Agent and any number of APM agents that are running on the same host. Each host running applications for APM just needs one Smart Agent.  

Instantly identify agent versions with Smart Agent. Do you need to meet compliance requirements? Smart Agent supports your immediate adherence. Execute necessary upgrades automatically and at scale. Benefit from readily available detailed historical records that enhance transparency and foster trust. Smart Agent's capabilities are specifically designed to cater to agile environments with speed and efficiency.

This solution focuses on three main areas:  

  • Accelerates Time-to-Value with faster deployments and easier upgrades, reducing time and effort  
  • Simplifies software compliance with agent version auditing, bulk upgrades, and rollback 
  • Increases agility to employ the latest functionality, future-proofing your investment   


In this article... 

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What is included in agent management functionality?

For those looking to simplify their agent lifecycle management tasks, the November 2023 release of the Smart Agent, with the improved agent management user interface, brings the following insights and functionality regarding Agent status, inventory management, filtering, reports, and logging: Agent Status, Inventory Management, Filtering, Reports, Automation, LoggingCLI for advanced functionality.

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Agent Status 

Clearly understand the agent’s state, such as: 

Agent Status with Smart Agent


Know when the agents are healthy and in compliance 

Update available 

Be informed when updates that are applicable to your running environment(s)  are available, such as when an enhancement or patch was issued 

Out of date 

Know which Agents are no longer supported, have extended their support life (generally, >1+ year old), or are identified for urgent update 


Know whether an agent’s state is unknown, to address immediately

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Inventory Management 

Gain a holistic overview of the agent lifecycle and environment, including: 

Smart Agent Inventory Management 

Agent mapping 

Know which application, tier, and node the agents support 

Agent version 

Per agent, easily know what versions are running 

Smart Agent 

Know whether the agent is being managed by Smart Agent 

Monitoring status

Know whether the agents are actively monitoring applications, or whether they are disabled (meaning no collection is taking place)

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Filtering capabilities 

Zero in on which agents or environments need to be investigated, for example, during compliance investigations. 

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Report generation 

Export a data grid of the entire agent inventory environment into a CSV format for use in other reporting programs. 

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Automation capabilities 

Efficiently install and upgrade at scale and execute other bulk actions such as rolling back failed upgrades or choosing the appropriate version.

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Address common upgrade challenges with historical logs that aid in troubleshooting, should upgrades not be successful. 

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Utilizing CLI for Advanced Functionality in RedHat and Debian Deployments 

For more advanced functionality, a CLI can be used for RedHat and Debian deployments, which provides capabilities that can be incorporated into an existing workstream to perform functions such as: 

  • Support deployments during build time, such as when you install the agent when building the application environment for a cluster. 
  • Provide deployment options for both the Smart Agent itself and language/machine agents. 
  • Leverage an attach-configure-file that will ensure the application is instrumented accordingly upon application restart. 
  • Install, update, configure, rollback, and uninstall agents with advanced control options such as agent version, where to download, connection options (i.e., SSH), install directory, and more!

Keep reading to understand how all this works, and where we are going! 

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How it works 

To get started, you will need to install a single Smart Agent on each host machine running applications that need to be or are already being monitored.

This installation process uses existing deployment methods for our other language library agents, or more appropriately the Machine Agent. As such, you can download the agent from our portal and then distribute it through your existing CI/CD tooling pipelines, or any method you prefer. For example, a JFrog Artifactory or distributed through the Smart Agent CLI.

Once the Smart Agent is present on the host machine and has been registered with the Controller, which is nothing more than a simple configuration file change, you can carry out all the agent lifecycle management operations from within the user interface or through the Smart Agent CLI 

NOTE | See the details in the Documentation under Smart Agent, user interface, and Smart Agent CLI

It’s just that simple! 

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Supported environments 

Languages and infrastructure agents 

As of the November 30, 2023 release, the following agents are supported: 

  • Java 
  • Node.js,  
  • AppDynamics Machine Agent 
  • Python 
  • PHP  
  • Webserver

Check the documentation for the most up-to-date information.  

AppDynamics Products 

Smart Agent is available for both AppDynamics cSaaS and On-Premises version 23.11 (November 2023).  

This solution does require both the Smart Agent and the updated Controller. 


Agent Management through a controller UI supports both greenfield and brownfield use cases. In either scenario, you will just simply need to install the Smart Agent, just once, on any machine hosting applications needing to be, or are currently being, monitored by AppDynamics.  

Once that simple task is complete, the user interface will use the Smart Agent to orchestrate all the agent management operations that are necessary, though a Smart Agent CLI does exist.

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Preliminary requirements 

To use the orchestration features through the improved user interface, you need admin user privileges. This allows you to manage agents via the UI.

Also, the Smart Agent should be installed on any machine you want to manage.

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Agent management user interface

From Home, click Agent Management. You can also access Agent Management from the user profile menu selection (top right corner). 

Figure 1 - Entry points to Agent ManagementFigure 1 - Entry points to Agent Management

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Existing agent inventory 

Once on the Agent Management home page, you can view the inventory of all your existing agents. You will quickly see the status of all your agents, whether they are out-of-date or need to be updated, for example. You will also see, and can filter by, the agent type, its version, and which application, tier, or node it applies to, or whether they are being managed by the Smart Agent.  

Figure 2 - Main Agent Management menuFigure 2 - Main Agent Management menu

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What’s next in agent management? 

Very shortly, we will be providing auto-discovery capabilities that reduce the need for deep application or domain knowledge. By enabling operations teams with the information as to which applications are running on a host, and what language they are written in, any guesswork is practically eliminated.

This reduces the enormous amount of effort typically involved with onboarding new applications for APM, which also alleviates the overhead from needing to engage multiple teams that have deeper domain knowledge. With the auto-discovery aspect of Smart Agent, your team will be sure and become more efficient and effective.

Additionally, look for upcoming features like scheduling tasks.

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Additional resources

Stay tuned for upcoming articles that explore agent lifecycle management. Meanwhile, do explore this initial series here in the Knowledge Base. 

Don't miss the Smart Agent forum to find more content, weigh in on discussions, and ask your own questions.

See more information in the Documentation:

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Last update:
‎01-24-2024 09:05 AM
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