Open sourcing technology from xVM Ops Center - the Common Agent Container

As the first product from Sun to be released under a GPLv3 license, there's a ton of interest and questions coming up around our Ops Center open source plans.

The first piece that is being open-sourced just next week is one of the bits I'm the most involved in - the Common Agent Container, or 'CAC'. We've been working on, and using, the Common Agent Container for several years now, and it's an exciting moment for us all to be able to make it available to the community, especially under the new GPLv3 license.

In fact, since the Common Agent Container allows other code to be deployed into it, in order to give full freedom to other projects wanting to depend upon the CAC project, we've chosen that the CAC itself is going to be released under GPLv3 with the ClassPath exception, which means that whilst the CAC itself is under GPLv3, other projects that may decide to leverage this project can choose whether or not they want to use the GPLv3 license or another license. We'd encourage use of the GPLv3 license of course!

xVM Ops Center heavily leverages the Common Agent Container, which is used as the management services container into which all the Ops Center management and monitoring logic is deployed into, across the master server system (satellite), the sub-net managers (proxies) and even down on the managed machines (an agent using a Java ME deployment)

The Common Agent Container is:

  • A cross-platform Java-based management daemon
    • Solaris, Linux, HPUX, Windows; Java SE, Java ME
  • supporting standard management models and protocols
    • JMX, SNMPv1,v2,v3, RMI
  • and with integrated pluggable security.
  • It is a dynamically extensible container
    • Modules can be deployed, undeployed and managed at runtime
  • which is simple to develop for ant to use.
    • Full NetBeans integration for Common Agent Container module developers
    • The easy learning curve of JMX
  • The Common Agent Container is already used in a wide range of products from Sun Microsystems
    • Integrated in Solaris 10, xVM Ops Center, Java ES MF, DS, PS, N1 System Mgr, Storage Portal, Solaris Basic Registration, ...

We're just about ready to share this with you, it does take time to ensure that we're respecting all the licensing terms fully of both GPLv3 and of those licenses of other open-source projects that this depends upon, and we're in the last stages of this now before the gate first opens. This is going to be the first step of many as we roll out all of Ops Center under GPLv3

I'd really welcome any feedback that you may have with respect to this project, we're doing our best to be transparent and push this out as early as we can to get into the hands of the open-source community to play with and look at.


Support for CIM would be a real feather in your CAC (pun intended). Any plans for releasing such support? IMO, it is going to take strong support for open standards and open technologies - e.g. standard information models like CIM and the associated CIM Profiles, standard export protocols like WS-MAN and SNMP, and open container technology like Common Agent Container (of course), Spring, etc. - to drive significant adoption for a management agent.

Posted by Brandon E Taylor on January 02, 2008 at 12:11 AM CET #

Hi Brandon,

I agree with all your comments, and various work has already been done in some of these areas.

Our CIM support modules are an add-on to the core of the CAC project, and weren't open-sourced in our initial push to get CAC out to GPLv3 open-sourcing for pragmatic reasons - the big one being that it contains code under the SISSL open-source license which we did not have time to audit and clean up properly to push to the CAC project which is under GPLv3. We are currently pushing in this direction.

Posted by Nick on January 02, 2008 at 12:51 AM CET #

Thanks for the response, Nick. Push on, my friend! :-)

Posted by Brandon E Taylor on January 02, 2008 at 02:09 AM CET #

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