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Altiris Task Server Best Practices - Part 5: Managing and Troubleshooting Task Server

Created: 31 Oct 2007 • Updated: 09 Apr 2009 | 10 comments
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Once configured, the day to day operations and management of Task Server and its clients should be minimal. The bulk of your work is in scoping, installation and setup. However, there are some areas to be aware of, in terms of data growth and maintenance. Here are some tips to help you know where (and where not to) go.

Best Practices: Managing Task Servers

You should make sure that you have correctly configured Data purging for Task Servers to meet your reporting requirements. This is set by default to 30 days, and is set to run on the daily schedule by default as well. A best practice would be to change this to run on a custom schedule that runs daily, but not on the Daily shared schedule, as there are a substantial amount of other items that run on that schedule, and this could cause a substantial load on the Notification Server. See the figure below for the console location to change this.

Click to view.

The Task Data Purge Policy dialog.

Best Practices: Managing Task Server Agents

Once a Task Server is used by an agent, the agent will not attempt to use another Task Server until the agent has been restarted.

Task Server Common Problems and Troubleshooting

  • If a task doesn't start immediately after running it, the most likely cause is that the tickle service on the NS is not running or not functioning properly, or that the client(s) haven't registered with the Task Server
    • Check the NS logs as well as diagnostic logs on the client(s) to determine if there is an error condition. Even if the tickle service is not working, tasks should still run within 10 minutes
  • If you run a server task its output will not be visible, so avoid adding user interaction to server tasks
    • You should choose to save the script output (accessible from the "Advanced" button when editing a task) if you need to see it
  • When sending a task to a server/client that is being viewed in Terminal Services, you may not see the task execute
    • The task will execute from the session that the Altiris client is in
  • The Altiris Agent client-side functions of "Update Configuration" and "Send Basic Inventory" are not used to activate any Client Task Agent functions. While they may assist in testing agent connectivity, they DO NOT affect the use of the Client Task Agent.

Appendix A: Task Server Port Information

Task Server Ports

  • TCP Port 50120 (Task Server Data Loader)
  • TCP Port 50121 (Altiris HTTP Server connection to host )
  • TCP Port 50122 (Altiris HTTP Server connection to host)
  • TCP Port 50123 (Tickle Server)

Task Server Client Ports

  • 50124 (To receive Tickle Packets)

Appendix B: Task Server Logging Information

  • Task Servers installed on a Notification Server will use the a.log files
  • Remote Task Servers use a log file named TASKMANAGMENT.log, found in C:\program files\altiris\client task management\logs\taskmanagement.log
  • On a client machine, the agent.log files contain all Task Server-related logging information.

Appendix C: Installing Solution-Specific Sub-Agents

Software Delivery Agent For Task Server Installation

To install the Software Delivery Agent For Task Server,

  1. Open the Notification Server Console and click Manage > Jobs. In the tree view, click Task Server Configuration> Software Delivery Agent For Task Server Installation
  2. Select the collection Without Software Delivery Agent For Task Server Installed. Verify that the collection contains all computers that need the agent installed. By default, this collection includes the All Computers collection.
  3. While still in the tree view, click the Software Delivery Agent For Task Server Rollout policy.
  4. Enable the policy, and then click Apply. The next time the computers in the collection update their configuration, they will download and install the Power Management Task Agent package.

Other solution-specific agent installation instructions will be added as they become available.


Altiris Task Server Best Practices - Part 4: Creating and Managing Tasks

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carlsson's picture

do you need to have
task Server installed and configured to run tasks?
or is it just more efficient to have this ??
We currently have NS setup without Task server.
1 NS server 3 package servers. Deployment server works fine but tasks fail regularly ??



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ciscoman's picture

Any suggestions how to troubleshoot when a software delivery task does not execute because the software does not download in the cache folder.How does Software delivery task for Task Server work.


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bkaulins's picture

This article has been very helpful with our roll-out.

We are using task server and some tasks show as failed for some of our remote users due to "task timeout" Where can I extend the timeout?

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mack_jason's picture

First of all thanks for the post.

In your ideas to consider when choosing what types of hardware resources to use as remote Task Servers you state that XP wont work but Windows 2000 will? What is the reasoning behind this. The only other place that I have seen this statement is in KB 38364. In the task server "official" documentation it states that the min req is Win2K and says nothing about XP not working.

I understand that there is a connection limitation of 10 with XP, but that is the same with Windows 2000. Can you help me understand this? I'm about to roll out about 30 task servers and looking at a beefy desktop with XP.

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BRING's picture

Thanks for the Comments - I appreciate the review. It is nice to have others check out my work and put it to the test.

Practical experience is the primary reason that I noted that XP won't work. My experience has proven over time that Task Server behaves very erratically when used on an XP host We also noticed that agent registration was not consistent or persistent. Most of these XP Task Servers were also Package Servers, and were servicing between 500-1000 client machines. I also should have been more specific and said that Windows 2000 SERVER works well.

You can try one of the beefy desktops with XP. My guess is that it will work - but I would be very nervous about loading it too much.

I still stand by the statement however, that I would not use XP as a Task Server in production, especially large scale production. Our inconsistent results, combined with the required consistency of have Task Server respond when required is why that is there.

I hope this helps

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haim96's picture

i have a lot more then 500 machine under one task server.
from time to time i'm getting http errors in the NS.
any good recommendation for IIS settings?


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jloubser's picture


In our environment we use proxy servers to control our Internet access. When you install the task agent on the local device (user device), it enters the proxy into the registry under HKLM/Altiris/Communication/Proxy/xxxxx. Having this setting there prevents the agent from registering and communicating with the task server. If you delete the entry and restart the agent it just puts it back. If you disable the proxy settings in IE then it works fine...What to do? I can't disable the proxy settings in IE.

Any help will be appreciated


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haim96's picture

 it maybe related  to the fact that XP have limited number of session connections and other server OS don't...

we run task servers on win2003 and they work fine most of the time.
but from time to time the agent stop communicate with NS and i need to reset 
the services on the task server.

i wonder why this happen... if someone know how to resolve this it will be great.

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BRING's picture

Make sure you  have updated to Task Server 6.x Sp2.  There were some known agent registration and communication issues in 6.x Sp1 that have been resolved.

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Yagnanarayana Dande's picture

I am able to send basic inventory from the Solaris Client Computer.
                     aex-cta ts

is not not showing any details.
But when I run a task on the Client Computer then it is showing the details properly.
Is this expected behavior or is something going wrong?

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