IBM Support

How can I assign a BigFix client to a specific relay at installation time?

Technote (troubleshooting)


Problem(Abstract)

Steps for how to assign a BigFix client to a specific relay at installation time.

Resolving the problem

When a BigFix client is installed, the only parent the client knows about is the root BigFix server. It knows the BigFix root server through because that is the only parent this is listed in the deployment's masthead (this cannot be changed). Therefore, by default, the client will attempt to register with the root BigFix server as its parent immediately after installation of the client completes.

Information about other relays in the deployment are maintained in the Relays.dat file which is found the deployment's master actionsite of the deployment. For a newly installed client to obtain this relay information it first needs to register with a parent relay or the root BigFix server and gather the deployment's master actionsite (containing the Relays.dat file).

There are reasons you may may not want the client to attempt to register with the root BigFix server upon installation first.:

    1. The root BigFix server may not be reachable. The client either cannot resolve the name of the root BigFix server and get to it across its network or Internet; Or, more typically there is a firewall blocking the connection between the client and the root BigFix server. These conditions essentially orphan the newly installed client from the deployment.
    2. You are deploying hundreds and/or thousands of clients at a single time and all of these clients attempting to register with the root BigFix server creating a denial of service situation as the clients' communications overload the root BigFix server's network connection capacity.
    3. Or, you may not want the client to first register with the root BigFix server for the purpose of simply saving the console clicks of having to re-assign the clients away from the root BigFix server and onto different relays.
A configuration file can be used to specify an initial relay the BigFix client should register with at installation time of the client.

Windows

Mac

Unix/Linux


Windows Clients

Windows Clients (BigFix v7.0+):

Create a one line file by the name of clientsettings.cfg, with the following content, and include this file in the BigFix Client installation folder (setup.exe) to set a primary and backup Relay:
IP:http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
This line expands out and actually sets two settings on the client at the same time:
__RelaySelect_Automatic=0
__RelayServer1=http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/


Alternately, you can be more explicit in specifying these two lines. And even add additional client settings (such as a secondary relay). So, instead of the single line, use the following in clientsettings.cfg:
__RelaySelect_Automatic=0
__RelayServer1=http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
__RelayServer2=http://relay2.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
Note: This technique does NOT work for the MSI version of the BigFix Client install package.

Adding more settings: Tip: As mentioned, you may also want to add additional client settings at the time of installation of the new client, in additional to the relay settings. You would do this by including a line for each client setting to be set during client installation, for example the file might look similar to:

__RelaySelect_Automatic=0
__RelayServer1=http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
__RelayServer2=http://relay2.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
_BESClient_Inspector_ActiveDirectory_Refresh_Seconds=43200
_BESClient_Log_Days=10
...
For more information about the client settings you can set, please visit: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21506065)):

Mac Clients:

As for the Windows endpoints, a similar kind of clientsettings.cfg file is used also by the Mac Client installer to create settings on the Mac BigFix Client at installation time. However, the way to run this customization varies depending on the versions of the Mac OSx operating system and the BigFix Agent that you plan to install. Refer to https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSQL82_9.5.0/com.ibm.bigfix.doc/Platform/Installation/c_mac_installation_instructions.html if you plan to install the BigFix Agent V9.5 on your Mac system, else refer to http://support.bigfix.com/install/besclients-nonwindows.html#osx for instructions covering a wider set of platforms and Mac OSx versions.


Unix/Linux Clients:


For Unix BigFix Clients, the file /var/opt/BESClient/besclient.config is the settings file used (unlike Windows, where the settings are stored in the system registry, Unix uses configuration files).

On installation of the BigFix client if this /var/opt/BESClient/besclient.config directory and file do not exist, the installer creates them with the following default settings:

[Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient]
EnterpriseClientFolder = /opt/BESClient

[Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\GlobalOptions]
StoragePath = /var/opt/BESClient
LibPath = /opt/BESClient/BESLib
The settings needed to assign a relay to your Unix client are:
[Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelayServer1]
value = http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]

[Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelayServer2]
value = http://relay2.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]

[Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelaySelect_Automatic]
value = 0
effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]
The effective current date time must be in a format similar to the following:

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 11:00:00 -0700

NoteThe "effective date = {now}" is invalid. The {} brackets imply the use of inline relevance, and now is a keyword.

To assign a relay to the Unix client at installation time, take the following steps to ensure that you include the default settings as well as the relay settings in the besclient.config file:
  1. On the client machine, make sure the directory exists in which the settings file will be placed (mkdir -p /var/opt/BESClient)
  2. On the client machine, create your own besclient.config file in the /var/opt/BESClient directory with the required following lines:
    [Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient]
    EnterpriseClientFolder = /opt/BESClient
    
    [Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\GlobalOptions]
    StoragePath = /var/opt/BESClient
    LibPath = /opt/BESClient/BESLib
    
    [Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelayServer1]
    value = http://relay.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
    effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]
    
    [Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelayServer2]
    value = http://relay2.domain.com:52311/bfmirror/downloads/
    effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]
    
    [Software\BigFix\EnterpriseClient\Settings\Client\__RelaySelect_Automatic]
    value = 0
    effective date = [Enter Current Date Time In Standard Format]
    
  3. Lastly, make sure that the directory and file are owned by root and not writable by anyone else.
  4. When you run the BigFix Unix client installer to install the BigFix client, the installer will see this directory and file have already been created and it will not try to re-create it or overwrite it.

Note: You will have to adjust the dates as necessary and modify "relay.domain.com" to be your desired relay in these settings.

Tip: You can obtain and verify the actual contents of the besclient.config by assigning a relay manually for a particular Linux client, and then copy the particular lines from its besclient.config file to use on other systems.

Note:For more information on troubleshooting clients that have problems in choosing a BigFix Relay, please visit: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21506065

Historical Number

244

Document information

More support for: IBM BigFix family

Software version: All Versions

Operating system(s): Platform Independent

Reference #: 1505838

Modified date: 03 August 2017


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