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Footprint & Description for the NS7 Agent for Unix, Linux & Macintosh

Created: 11 Feb 2011 • Updated: 11 Feb 2011
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Product Description

Symantec Management Platform (SMP) provides a set of services that IT-related solutions can leverage. Solutions plug into the platform and take advantage of the platform services, such as security, reporting, communications, package deployment, and Configuration Management Database (CMDB) data. The platform services also provide a high degree of consistency between the solutions, so that users do not need to learn multiple product interfaces. Symantec Management Platform includes the following components:

•    Configuration Management Database (CMDB)
•    Notification Server
•    Symantec Management Console
•    Altiris Agent for Windows, and for UNIX, Linux, and Mac
•    Monitor Solution
•    Network Discovery
•    Reports
•    Software Management Framework

Inventory Solution lets you gather inventory data about the computers, users, operating systems, and installed software applications in your environment. You can collect inventory data from the computers that run Windows, UNIX, Linux, and Mac. After you gather inventory data, you can analyze it using predefined or custom reports.


The following information is a high-level overview of the footprint of the SMP Agent for Unix, Linux and Mac (ULM) 7.x. The information was gathered from a system running RHEL 5.3.

All of this information holds true across all supported platforms: RedHat Linux, SuSe Linux, Solaris, AIX and HP-UX. Certain settings, such as the linux init.d structure, will apply to the corresponding structure on these other platforms.

Installed Solutions and plug-ins on this test machine are:

  • Altiris Client Task Agent
  • Altiris Client Task Scheduling Agent
  • Altiris Base Task Handlers
  • Altiris Inventory Rule Agent
  • Altiris Software Management Framework Agent
  • Altiris Inventory Agent
  • Software Management Solution Agent
  • Symantec pcA Agent
  • Altiris Inventory Pack for Servers

Default installation directory: /opt/altiris/notification

Base directory structure and size based on results of ‘du –h .’ command:

















Total directory tree size of: /opt/altiris/notification/


Total size, including the Agent, Inventory, Inventory Pack for Servers and pcAnywhere packages is: ~33 MB.

Note: Deployment of additional solutions, software packages, etc. will increase the size of this directory tree on managed client systems.

The following files are also included as part of the Agent installation:

  • /etc/init.d/altiris             3.8KB

The following 14-byte soft links are installed. These point to /etc/init.d/altiris. There are configuration settings to specify which run levels will start the Altiris Agent.

  • /etc/rc0.d/K01altiris 
  • /etc/rc1.d/K01altiris 
  • /etc/rc2.d/S99altiris 
  • /etc/rc3.d/S99altiris 
  • /etc/rc4.d/K01altiris 
  • /etc/rc5.d/S99altiris
  • /etc/rc6.d/K01altiris

The following ~50 byte soft links are also created. The default location is /usr/bin. The availability and location of these files is configurable.

  • aex-cta
  • aex-diagnostics  
  • aex-filesurveyor 
  • aex-helper
  • aex-inv-helper        
  • aex-invrulescollector 
  • aex-ira-helper
  • aex-mkmanifest    
  • aex-pluginmanager
  • aex-refreshpolicies
  • aex-sendbasicinv
  • aex-swd-defer
  • aex-swdapm

Memory, CPU, Time and Elapsed Time

The following results are from an RHEL 5.3 client with no active processes running other than the idle Agent. Note that process 3636 is a child process of pid 3632.

    # ps -Ao comm o %p o %mem o %cpu o time o etime | grep aex

    Command                 PID       Mem       CPU        Time             Elapsed Time
    aex-pluginmanag       3632      0.3          0.0          00:00:00       02:24:51
    aex-pluginmanag       3636      1.0          0.0          00:00:01       02:24:51

While the agent is checking in with the NS server, sending basic invenetory and refreshing policies, CPU usage could be between 1% and 5% for ~ 1 minute or less. While Inventory Solution is running and gathering hardware, configuration and software information, CPU usage could be between 2% and 50% or more for the duration of the inventory scan.

Approximate CPU usage is a configurable parameter in the NS console. These parameters affect the ‘nice’ setting of various commands running on the ULM clients. See the following screen shot.

Agent Capabilities

The agent installs as a service and runs at startup, based on the configured run-level options. It is the main process that communicates with the Symantec Management Platform. It also reports basic inventory to the NS and monitors other process. It receives configuration information for all policies from the NS, manages the scheduling of polices and reporting of execution results.

All agent communication to the Notification Server, package servers, site servers, etc. is via http/https communications. The configured http/https ports in your environment must be open across the network to allow client machines to communicate properly.