Dynatrace OneAgent: New & upcoming improvements

We’re continuously improving the functionality and scalability of Dynatrace. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the newly added and upcoming features of Dynatrace OneAgent.

New deployment mode for OneAgent on Linux

We’ve received feedback about the fact that OneAgent for Linux needs superuser privileges to operate. There are good reasons for such a requirement and our solution adheres to the highest security standards. Despite the fact that OneAgent running with superuser privileges is safe, there are some heavily-regulated customer organizations that can’t implement such a setup due to their internal security policy.

Beginning with OneAgent v1.141, it’s now possible to deploy OneAgent in non-root mode. We’ve tested this approach in an Early Access Program (EAP) over the last several months. This option is now available as a public beta release.

The new operation mode for OneAgent on Linux satisfies the requirement for a non-superuser monitoring solution. Once OneAgent is deployed in non-root mode, it begins working without superuser privileges while retaining all the same functionality for discovery, monitoring, data grouping, pushing to Dynatrace clusters, and automatically instrumenting numerous supported technologies with deep monitoring modules, plus auto-upgrade all components. All steps for OneAgent deployment in non-root mode are fully automated and can be initiated by invoking the installation with the following parameters:

$ sudo ./Dynatrace-OneAgent-Linux.sh NON_ROOT_MODE=1

Keep in mind that fully-automated OneAgent deployment requires that the installation script be run through sudo. This is the first and only time you need to grant full elevated privileges for OneAgent. The privileges are dropped instantly following OneAgent deployment.

For more details, see the updated OneAgent installation guide. Before you deploy OneAgent for Linux in non-root mode, ensure that your Linux version is supported.

Non-root mode is provided as a public Beta solution. Any comments or questions? Please provide your feedback at Dynatrace Open Q&A and tag your comments with non-root and oneagent tags.

Improved monitoring of AIX hosts

We know from our existing customers and market research that many of you are running hosts on AIX and that these hosts are often used to run business-critical services and applications. Several months ago, we announced that OneAgent is capable of monitoring Java and Apache/IHS services. While this release was well received, you have asked for more.

We’re happy to announce that we’re getting close to releasing a full-stack OneAgent for the AIX operating system as a public Beta. This version of OneAgent will expand existing AIX monitoring capabilities for Java and Apache/IHS with enriched host-monitoring capabilities, improved installation, deep-monitoring instrumentation, and an automatic update mechanism. The new version of OneAgent has already been tested in EAP mode over the past few months. We’re grateful for the feedback we received from many of you.

This public Beta release will be another step on the road to optimized AIX host monitoring. We’re already planning on supplementing OneAgent with new AIX monitoring abilities in the coming months. Stay tuned for a more detailed update.

Support for Windows Server Containers

The monitoring of Docker technology and services operating in container services is already available for Linux. Many of our customers, however, deploy containers on Windows hosts and therefore require deep monitoring of this technology as part of their APM solution.

To address this demand, we are now working to enable monitoring of Docker for Windows in configurations that support Windows Server Containers. This project is close to reaching the public Beta stage. We’ll be announcing this functionality soon, so stay tuned for a blog post dedicated to this topic.

Other OneAgent improvements for Windows

OneAgent for Windows is being enhanced with three important updates.

The first change relates to how the OneAgent installation is performed. Currently, the installation of OneAgent for Windows is executed in two stages. Stage one unpacks the files of stage two and passes on the parameters and settings for further installation steps. The files required for stage two are deployed to a temporary folder. Such two-stage deployment has been reported to cause issues in cases where the selected temporary folder isn’t available, or in presence of particularly strict antivirus detection settings that raise false-positive alerts and block execution of the second stage of deployment. We’re currently working on simplifying the deployment process and effectively removing this two-stage architecture.

The second improvement relates to the location of writable files that are created by OneAgent on Windows. The immediate motivation for this change is a Windows convention to keep directories that contain runtime data and need to be write-accessible to everybody out of the C:\Program Files(x86) directory. This project is now largely complete and is available with OneAgent v1.139 and above. However, we’re still adding minor improvements to how this process works. As an immediate consequence, all OneAgent log files are now accessible at a new location.

The third important improvement we’re working on relates to how user accounts are created and used on Windows hosts. In a typical situation, the OneAgent installer creates local user accounts automatically. This causes issues in cases where the host is a Domain Controller or user can’t otherwise be created automatically. The solution to this problem is being worked on currently. We expect this solution to be released in two stages, with the first stage planned to be released shortly.