The Remote Administration function provides the capability to directly manage an Automate client from any machine on a TCP/IP network where the Automate Task Administrator is running. Once connected to a remote Automate, a user can add, remove, modify, and debug managed tasks and enable/disable task triggering on the remote machine.
A user can execute tasks on a remote machine where an Automate task service resides as well. This article will provide comprehensive information regarding Automate's Remote Administration function. It will cover such topics as configuring and starting Remote Administration, working with managed tasks, deploying tasks, and managing and executing remote tasks.
Automate is a collection of applications, all working together to act like one integrated component. Two of these applications are the Automate Task Administrator (AMTA.exe) and the Automate Task Service (AMTS.exe). The Task Service is responsible for maintaining the task database file (AutoMate11Taskfile.atl) and global application preferences, as well as monitoring for conditions that would cause a task to trigger. It also initiates, maintains, and monitors running tasks. It has no graphic user interface (GUI) and is meant to operate silently in the background until needed. Communication with the Task Service is achieved using an Automate client application that connects by way of TCP/IP on a dedicated port (default port is 11010, although this can be modified). The Task Administrator is one such client application, and provides a "front-end" to the Task Service. The Task Administrator includes a GUI that provides the user an easy method of adding, removing. and organizing managed tasks, setting Task Service preferences, deploying tasks, and much more. The Task Administrator is the essential tool used to administer Automate.
Generally, when a user starts the Task Administrator, it attempts to contact the Task Service on the same machine. Once the Task Administrator window is open, the user can click the Connect option (File > Connect) and specify another Task Service located on a remote machine to connect to. In this manner, the Task Administrator isn't concerned what Task Service it is connected to, whether it is the local or remote machine, it makes no difference. All the functionality a user has for the local machine is available on any machine once Automate connects to it.
Configuring Remote Administration
The Remote Administration feature is in the Automate Task Administrator under Options > System Settings > Remote Administration. This feature allows remote administration between the Enterprise Edition and Agent or between two compatible full versions (for example, between Automate Professional and a remote Automate Professional) which allows for bi-directional connections, task management, and deployment. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of remote connections available. Additionally, Remote Administration can be disabled at any time (even from a remote machine) by disabling the Allow remote administration option. An Automate Agent also includes this option and can be accessed remotely by way of the Enterprise Task Administrator.
Since an Agent does not include a GUI, Remote Administration is automatically enabled during the installation process. However, for added security, the Remote Administration feature is disabled by default on Automate Professional or Enterprise Editions. To use Remote Administration, you must first enable it on the remote machine you want to administer and define a password. To do this:
- Start the Automate Task Administrator on the machine to connect to using remote administration.
- Select Options > System Settings > Remote Administration.
- Select the Allow remote administration option.
- Enter the password to use for authenticating the connection in the Password and Confirm Password boxes.
- Click Apply. A remote Task Administrator can now connect to this Automate Server, if they supply the correct password.
The Automate Enterprise Edition can connect to remote Automate Agent installations, remote Automate Professional installations or other remote Automate Enterprise installations. However, Automate Professional installations can only connect to other remote Automate Professional installations. It cannot connect to a remote Agent or Enterprise installation. Automate 6 Task Administrators are guaranteed to be compatible with a remote Automate 6 Task Service as long as the remote Automate installation is running the same or a lower version. However, a lower version cannot connect to a higher version. For example, a local Task Administrator which is version 220.127.116.11 is guaranteed to connect to a remote Automate service which is version 18.104.22.168. On the other hand, a connection failure will occur if the opposite scenario is to be accomplished.
Starting Remote Administration
Remote Administration requires at least two separate machines connected on a network using the TCP/IP protocol. One machine must have the Automate Task Service running (the remote machine) and another machine must have the Automate Task Administrator running (the local machine). The Task Administrator (AMTA.exe) and the Task Service (AMTS.exe) does not necessarily have to be running on the same machine.
To start Remote Administration from the Task Administrator on the local machine, do the following:
- Confirm the Task Folder view is visible in the Task Administrator. Do this by clicking View > Windows, and then selecting the Task Folders option. The Task Folder view is not required for Remote Administration to properly function, but it assists in simplifying navigation from one machine to another.
- Select File > Connect, or click Connect Toolbar. A window titled 'Connect' will appear.
- On the Connect window, in the Host box, optionally enter one of the following:
- Computer Name (e.g. MAINSERVER)
- Hostname (e.g. [email protected])
- IP address (e.g. 22.214.171.124)
- Enter the password to authenticate the connection in the Password box.
- Select Remember and Reconnect to have Automate remember the Hostname and Password of this machine for future connections.
- Click OK.
The Task Administrator will attempt to connect and authenticate the remote machine. Once connected, a new computer icon will appear in the Task Folders window (left window pane). When selecting this new computer, all the folders and tasks that reside on the remote machine will be present on the local Task Administrator. Primarily, the user is viewing tasks that reside on the remote machine by way of a virtual Task Administrator. While connected to a remote Automate Task Service, you can view, configure, and edit its System Options (similar to viewing / editing your local Task Administrator's System Options) by going to the System menu and selecting the proper remote host (specified by hostname, computer name or IP address). For each connected computer, a new System > Options item appears, allowing the ability to view/modify the preferences of the remote machine, as well as enable/disable task triggering.
Working with managed tasks
When working with managed tasks and task files on a Remote Automate installation, what you are viewing is relative to the remote machine. For example, when you view the properties of Managed Task A, the task file may be indicated as
C:\MyTaskA.aml. This is actually on the remote machine's
C:\ drive, and not your local drive. Likewise, when adding a new managed task, the task file is placed in the default Automate task directory of the remote machine (as set in the remote machine's preferences).
When creating a task or modifying steps of an existing managed task, the Task Builder appearing on the screen is on the local machine. Because of this, the user only has access to the local hard disk. It is important to understand that certain actions or triggers may not function properly unless the settings are modified to reflect the system properties relative to the remote machine the task will run on. For example, a Start Service action is used to start a service that is located on the remote machine, but not locally. When the user clicks the drop-down list box on the General tab of this action, the service will not.
Automate makes building tasks quick and easy, and its network deployment features allows sending these tasks to one or more machines possible with just a few mouse clicks. Do the following:
- On Task Administrator, highlight the task(s) to deploy (numerous tasks can be selected by holding down the CTRL key).
- Click Deploy.
- Highlight the machines to deploy the tasks to in the window showing all connected machines.
- To run the task on the target machine immediately after it is deployed, select Run Immediately.
- Click OK. The task(s) will now appear on the Task Administrator of the remote machine(s).
Tasks can be deployed to a number of connected machines by holding down the CTRL key. Besides deploying tasks located in the local Task Administrator, they can also be deployed from one remote Agent to another. If the task already exists on the target machine, you will be prompted for what to do.
Since Enterprise and Agent installs are mutually exclusive, an Agent does not rely on the Enterprise installation or other Agents to run a task. When connected to a remote Automate Agent, you can add, remove, or modify managed tasks, modify the associated steps of the managed task, enable/disable triggering, and run tasks on a remote machine. However, once a task is sent to an Agent, there is no interaction that takes place between the Agent and the Enterprise edition when the task launches. Because of this, network bandwidth utilization is kept to a minimum.
Running tasks remotely
While connected to a remote machine, you are working directly with that machine's Automate installation. Therefore, if you select a managed task and click the Run button, the task will run on the remote machine, not on the local machine. You will, however, still receive failure and error notifications locally if your Task Administrator is set to do so in its local options.
Running remote tasks locally
To run a remote task (task located on a remote machine) locally, you first need to deploy the task from the remote Task Administrator to your local Task Administrator. Another option is to copy or move the task from the remote machine to your local machine, and then run it from your "Local Tasks". To do this:
- Select the remote managed task.
- Select Copy or Cut, and then using the Task Folder, browse to your Local Tasks.
- Paste the managed task.
- Run the task.
This method also works for moving a managed task and its associated task file to your local machine.
Applies To: Automate 5, Automate 6