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Topic Title: Accessing Agent workstations via VNC vs. RDC Manager
Topic Summary: Need information about the recommended way to configure and access the Server and Agent workstations
Created On: 05/15/2012 11:04 AM
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 05/15/2012 11:04 AM
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BeckiBloch
Journeyman (50-99)

Posts: 54
Joined: 12/30/2011

Hi,
We are on BPA Server 8 Professional. We have 1 Server running Windows Server 2003 and 3 workstations running Windows XP, SP 3. All are VM's. We currently use VNC to access these 4 VM's. I've made configuration changes to VNC to improve performance but it's still far from optimum. I took over the administration of this application several months ago, and I'm reviewing how we have it set up to see if there are other ways we can improve performance and productiivity, and therefore get more use out of the tool. We're in a catch 22 situation because the tool is under utilized due to the performance issues and quirks. Management won't approve the expense for the Audit because the tool is underutilized. My questions are:
1) Do the workstations need to be logged on for the Agent to launch workflows? If so, why, and if not, what should I be looking out for if we start logging off the workstations?
2) If the workstations don't need to be logged on, can we use Remote Desktop Confiuration manager instead of VNC? My predecessor said there was an issue with Automate not recognizing console 0, which meant VNC was the only (and recommended) option.
3) Does the SMC need to be running on the workstations for workflows to launch?
4) Is there a white paper or confiuration guide that would help me find this information, and other information as questions come up?
5) When working in Task builder, every time a step is added, 2 error message windows come up (see attachment). This happens on both the server and workstations. What is causing this and how do I fix it?

Thanks much for your help - I really appreciate it!



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 05/15/2012 02:24 PM
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Liz Casale
AUTOMATE EMPLOYEE

Posts: 940
Joined: 05/23/2011

Hi Becki,

Thank you for your post. What version of BPA Server 8 are you currently running? Our latest release is 8.0.9. Here is some information based on your questions:

1) The workstations do not have to be logged on for an Agent to launch the workflow. Workflows/tasks Logon Properties can be set to run in the background on a machine if they do not contain any Interactivity actions or any actions that require a user. Otherwise, you can set the Logon Properties up to have BPA unlock/logon to the machine as whatever user you specify. Therefore, if a condition/trigger kicks off and a user is not logged in BPA will logon or unlock the machine as that user and carry out the task.

2) You can use RDP to manage BPA Server. However, you will not be able to see BPA unlock or logon to a machine through RDP to run a task. It is not good practice to use RDP to test logon/unlock. If you log in as the same user through RDP, that user can be logged in twice. If your tasks are interactive, the Event Monitor (BPAEM.exe - Agent Icon in the system tray), needs to be active as the user and in the session correctly.

3) The SMC does not need to be running for workflows to kick off. They trigger depending on the condition assigned to them (scheduled, file condition, etc)

4) If you have BPA Server open and press F1 the BPA Server help documentation will open. You can also take advantage of our forums/online User Resource Center.

5) The intermittment error messages you are running into when using the Task Builder has been addressed in BPA Server 9. While using BPA Server 8 you can try the following steps:

1. Close out BPA
2. Open the Registry
3. Navigate to the following location
4. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Network AutoMation\BPA Server 8\
5. Delete the Task Builder folder
6. Open BPA and try opening the Task Builder

Though you are receiving errors, they should not affect the usability of BPA Server.

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-------------------------
Liz Casale
Technical Support Representative
(213) 738-6966
Network Automation, Inc.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AM5 5.5.5.1; AM6 6.2.8.0; AM7 7.1.3.0; AM8 8.0.9.0; AM9 9.0.3.4
BPA7 7.1.3.0; BPA8 8.0.9.0; BPA9 9.0.3.4
 05/15/2012 03:27 PM
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BeckiBloch
Journeyman (50-99)

Posts: 54
Joined: 12/30/2011

Thanks for your quick and helpful response, Liz! We are running BPA Server 8 version 8.0.9. I have one follow up question.

Follow up to #5) For the changes to the Registry to get rid of the Task Builder errors, should I do this on the server as well as on the workstations? I've attached a screen shot of the Registry entries on the workstations. It doesn't quite match your folder structure so I wanted to verify before I delete the TaskBuilder folder.

Our system is set up so that individual Automate developers outside of IT have their own workstation where they do all of their development and run their workflows, and those of us in IT share a workstation.

Thanks again!
Becki

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 05/15/2012 03:43 PM
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Liz Casale
AUTOMATE EMPLOYEE

Posts: 940
Joined: 05/23/2011

Hi Becki,

You would delete these registry keys from any machine that has Automate installed.

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-------------------------
Liz Casale
Technical Support Representative
(213) 738-6966
Network Automation, Inc.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AM5 5.5.5.1; AM6 6.2.8.0; AM7 7.1.3.0; AM8 8.0.9.0; AM9 9.0.3.4
BPA7 7.1.3.0; BPA8 8.0.9.0; BPA9 9.0.3.4
 05/17/2012 09:32 AM
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BeckiBloch
Journeyman (50-99)

Posts: 54
Joined: 12/30/2011

Hi,
Deleting the registry entries fixed that problem - thank you!

We're still struggling with getting interactive tasks to run. Can you explain a little more what you mean in your response to my question #2 - "If your tasks are interactive, the Event Monitor (BPAEM.exe - Agent Icon in the system tray), needs to be active as the user and in the session correctly."

Here's what we've configured:
Server options --> Default Task Properties --> Logon
When workstation is logged on: Logged on user
When workstation is logged off: Logon specified user
When workstation is locked: Unlock using specified user
Specified user: Use the 'Default User' account specified in the agent options

Task Agents
Default user: it_automate
Default password:
Default user domain/machine name: INTERNAL
Logon keystrokes: {DELAY 3000}{ALT}u{USERNAME}{ALT}p{PASSWORD}{ENTER}
Unlock keystrokes: {DELAY 3000}{ALT}u{USERNAME}{ALT}p{PASSWORD}{ENTER}
Enable software SAS: NOT checked

I added the {DELAY3000} to the logon keystrokes because we're running on Windows Server 2003 (per the online Help)

We are logging into the Workstation where the workflow is running via RDP, scheduling the workflow and logging off. The workflow is failing with an error "Task 'Launch STAR' running on agent 'BNDBPA04PR' failed because: the agent is logged off an could not be logged on. Verify the username and password for the agent is correct."

We are running BPA Server 8.0.9.0 Standard; are there any limitations in that version thatwould be affecting this functionality? Thanks much for your continued help (and patience!) :-)

Becki

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Edited: 05/17/2012 at 10:04 AM by BeckiBloch
 05/17/2012 11:23 AM
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Liz Casale
AUTOMATE EMPLOYEE

Posts: 940
Joined: 05/23/2011

Becki and I resolved this issue by re-authentication the Agent on the remote machine. We then used VNC to watch BPA unlock/logon to the remote machine.

 Category Survey


-------------------------
Liz Casale
Technical Support Representative
(213) 738-6966
Network Automation, Inc.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AM5 5.5.5.1; AM6 6.2.8.0; AM7 7.1.3.0; AM8 8.0.9.0; AM9 9.0.3.4
BPA7 7.1.3.0; BPA8 8.0.9.0; BPA9 9.0.3.4
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