Agent-based Remote Software Management - Overview

Agent-based Remote Software Management (ROPE) project is established to investigate the posibilities for improving software maintenance using remote operations. The purpose of the project is to create and implement an agent system suitable for performing management operations remotely, on target system without suspending its regular operation.  

The ROPE project started in 1999, in cooperation between our industrial partner, Ericsson NikolaTesla company in Zagreb, Croatia. The project ROPE was finished in 2005 and further research is continued in project A-STORM.

The method proposed is called Remote Maintenance Shell (RMS). RMS is introduced as solution for remote software operations and maintenance and provides the protected environment for software deployment and testing without suspending or influencing its regular operation. It supports software delivery to a remote system and operations for remote installation/uninstallation, start/stop, tracing, maintaining several versions of software, selective or parallel execution of two versions, and version replacement.

Basic RMS concept consists of a management station and of the remote systems distributed over the network. The management station is responsible for software delivery to the remote systems and for the conduction of remote operations on them. The software under maintenance (application) must be adapted to RMS. The Application Testbed is an application-dependent part, which has to be built along with the application. When the application is ready for delivery, it is migrated together with application testbed to the target system.


Figure 1 - RMS concept

All remote software operations are based on mobile agents. Remote Maintenance Shell is a user that determines agents' tasks, injects agents into a network allowing them to roam toward the target node, and return to their home node to report results.

RMS is developed in the Java programming language and use JADE as the underlying agent platform.

In our case study, MA-RMS was used to manage MonALISA, a software for monitoring large distributed systems, employed in test Grid environments in CERN.