Coming Soon: MAX RM v6.4 – Add Tasks with Monitoring Templates and run them on demand

Monitoring Templates are about to get a lot more powerful with the addition of Automated Tasks. With MAX RM v6.4, you’ll be able to use Monitoring Templates to create centralised, standard lists of Tasks, then roll them out to servers and workstations across your clients with just a few clicks.

You’ll be able to create Templates that consist of just Tasks, of just Checks, or that have a combination of both. You can choose whether you want to add Tasks to the existing ones on your devices, or whether you want to do a full replace of the current Tasks. It will also be possible to pick a Task and run it there and then on a selection of devices, for example if you want to apply an update to a set of servers. All these options can be applied at Client, Site and Device level. 

What does this really mean for you?

  • Save time and effort
    Add Tasks to Servers and Workstations and make changes in bulk, greatly reducing the amount of repetitive work involved
  • Greater standardisation
    Create centralised, best-practice Monitoring Templates to drive greater consistency and accuracy across your client base
  • Better operational oversight
    Combine with Roles and Permissions to manage who can add and edit Templates and who can apply them
  • More real-time
    Run Tasks straight away instead of waiting on the next check cycle, shortening the feedback loop and improving response times
  • Deeper automation
    Use your own custom scripts with Monitoring Templates for deeper automation and take advantage of the ability to automatically trigger Tasks based on failed Checks

The enhancements to the Monitoring Templates and Tasks mean that we’ll be doing away with the “Site Automated Tasks” tab that was available for Workstations (it was never add for Servers). We’re replacing it with the more flexible and powerful Monitoring Templates feature, which also offers a more consistent UI and workflow. Of course, any Tasks on Workstations that are currently ‘site managed’ will remain in place on those devices.

In addition to Monitoring Templates, there’s a great little update to the “Offline mode”  setting on a server: Now you can receive an alert after a specified number of minutes in the event that a server doesn’t report back online. Use the new setting to monitor servers proactively while avoiding unnecessary device overdue alerts.

All the details…
Here’s a run-through of all the enhancements in this release….

“Offline Mode” enhancement
Currently, when a Server is shut down cleanly, you can choose to have it report to the Dashboard that it’s in maintenance mode. This stops you from getting unnecessary overdue alerts.

Previously, if a Server didn’t come back online for some reason you wouldn’t get an alert and the issue may have gone unnoticed. We’ve now improved this with a new “maximum offline duration” setting, so you can specify a number of minutes after which it will send a standard overdue alert (1).

offline mode feature update

Automated Tasks and the Monitoring Templates enhancements
Please note that you need the Release Candidate Agent v9.12.0 in order to add Tasks to devices with Monitoring Templates.

1. To include Tasks in Monitoring Templates, go to Settings > Monitoring Templates > Manage Templates, and create a new template or pick one from the list. When you click Add, you can now choose to add Tasks as well as Checks (2).

templates 5 12. The other way to create a template with Tasks is to copy them from an existing device. For example, if you’ve set an Exchange Server up with exactly the right Checks and Tasks, you can save this to your list of Templates and then apply this template to other Exchange Servers, ensuring they all have the same configuration.

Select the device you want to use as your model, then right-click and select Create Monitoring Template from the device context menu (3). Choose Checks, Tasks, or both, to add them to your new template (4).templates 5 2

3. A Monitoring Template can contain combination of Checks and Tasks (5), or consist of just Checks or just Tasks, it’s up to you (6).templates 5 3 templates 5 4

4. Note that there’s a new required field called “Descriptive Name” (7), just like you have with some of the Checks. This allows you to describe the Task and its purpose more clearly, for better Task management and to help you distinguish between different Tasks when you run them on demand. You will need to fill this new field in before you can save existing Tasks to a Template.templates 5 5

5. To apply a Monitoring Template, select one or more devices in the North Pane, then from the context menu select Monitoring Templates > Apply Monitoring Template. In the example below the device initially has no Tasks (8). After applying the template the Tasks are added (9). It takes about a minute to add the tasks, just refresh the South Pane to see the update. New Tasks will run at their allotted schedule.templates 5 6

6. You can also add Templates with Checks and Tasks at Client and Site level by right-clicking in the Client Tree (10). Now you can roll out Tasks as well as Checks en masse for better standardisation across your estate without the need to add Tasks one at a time (11).templates 5 14templates 5 7

7. Now that you can add Tasks to Servers and Workstations at Client and Site level, we’ll be retiring the current Site Automated Tasks tab (12). Monitoring Templates and Site Automated Tasks don’t really work alongside each other, plus the Site Automated Tasks feature was only available for Workstations and didn’t include Servers. Any tasks that are currently site managed will stay in place and show up as regular Tasks on the Workstations.templates 5 8

The other major improvement to Automated Tasks is the ability run a Task on demand in near real time:

8. Select one or multiple devices in the North Pane, or select a Client or Site in the Client tree, then click “Run Task” to open up the Task Selection dialog (13).templates 5 99. You’ll see a list of available Tasks. These are all the Tasks that are installed across the selection of devices. It also shows you the number of servers and workstations that have the Tasks installed. Select a type of Task (e.g. Clean Temp Files) to run all of the Tasks of that type, or expand the Task type to select a specific Task from the list. Hit the Next button (14).templates 5 10Note that if a device is offline, the Task will be queued and run once the device comes online, so that the update won’t get dropped or lost.

10. As a final confirmation, you’ll see a list of devices that the Task is about to run on (15). You can deselect a device if you don’t want to include it in the update (for example if you have 100 devices at a client and want to run the Task on all but two of them). Click Run to run the Task.templates 5 11

11. The Task(s) will now run and execute straight away, instead of waiting on the next Check Cycle as was previously the case. This will take about a minute, or possibly more if the Task itself takes some time to complete. Refresh the Dashboard South Pane to see the updated results.

Tip! Automatically trigger a Task when a Check fails. For example, you could use the Service Control Task to automatically restart a service when an associated Windows Service Check detects the service has stopped running. To do this, select “Event” under Frequency Method and follow the steps in the dialog (16). Use Checks to trigger Tasks for even greater automation in the Dashboard.templates 5 12

And last but not least, we’ve updated the Automated Tasks Report, with easier-to-use filters, a nicer UI and CSV export of the data, generally bringing it into line with the other recently updated reports. The Active Directory Users report has also been updated.templates 5 13

…And that’s what’s coming in our next release!
We’d like to thank you for the great feedback you’ve given us on Monitoring Templates and the request to have them include Automated Tasks, with lots of great input on our Ideas Site. Please keep the comments coming to help us drive the next set of feature enhancements.

Summary for Service Release:
– Service release focused on new features, bug fixes and performance
– Dashboard v6.4
– Agent v9.10.2 GA, Agent v9.12 RC

Dashboard v6.4
FEATURE: Use Automated Tasks in Monitoring Templates to add Tasks to Clients, Sites and Devices
FEATURE: Run a Task on demand in near real time at client, site and device level
UPDATE: A Task that is run on demand will be queued for offline devices and performed when the device comes online
UPDATE: Tasks now require a descriptive name to help distinguish between Tasks of the same type that have different settings
UPDATE: The Site Automated Tasks tab is removed for Workstations, effectively replaced with Tasks in Monitoring Templates
UPDATE: The Upgrade From Asset Tracking option was removed and it can now be done with Apply Monitoring Template
UPDATE: Server Offline mode now lets you set a maximum offline duration after which it will alert if the server has not come back online
UPDATE: New UI design for the Automated Tasks Report with CSV export and Print function
UPDATE: New UI design for the Active Directory Users Report with CSV export and Print function
UPDATE: Addition of print function to Managed AV Threat Report
UPDATE: Printed Reports to show filter values
BUGFIX: Resolve Wall Chart Dialogue issues
BUGFIX: Fix hex formatting issues with Server Client daily report
BUGFIX: Resolve translation issues on Device Inventory report
BUGFIX: Address issue with script parameter handling when new version of script added
BUGFIX: Add engine descriptions next to check so you know which is which in alert routing
BUGFIX: Ensure MAV entries in User Audit Report have complete information
BUGFIX: Resolved formatting issues in the Columns Tab of the MAV Quarantine Report
BUGFIX: In the user audit report, prevent from setting a “from date” greater than the “to date”
BUGFIX: Resolve Report Print formatting issues when viewed in Firefox
BUGFIX: Ensure the Client reports parse #CLIENT# variable correctly
BUGFIX: Ensure the columns tab in Device Inventory shows the correct icons for Antivirus Update Check and for the Vipre MAV installs
BUGFIX: Ensure the arrow button to collapse the Device Inventory Report shows in small browser windows
BUGFIX: Ensure the table header on the reports is left aligned on the print view

Agent v9.12.0 RC
FEATURE: Use Automated Tasks in Monitoring Templates to add Tasks to Clients, Sites and Devices
UPDATE: Near real-time processing on Run Task commands in the Dashboard
BUGFIX: Ensure Windows 10 reports as such and not as Windows 8.1 in the Dashboard

Agent v9.10.2 GA
Includes all the updates since the current production Agent

UPDATE: Add support for Symantec Backup Exec 2014 and 2015 in Backup Check
BUGFIX: Show detailed error when Bitdefender install fails due to missing Windows patches (previously showed “Pending”)
BUGFIX: Corrected issue in installer related to temp files named “Program” or “Advanced” when installing MAV or Active Discovery

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