Questions and answers regarding the agent for Macintosh processes
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Questions and answers regarding the agent for Macintosh processes


Article ID: 176710


Updated On:


IT Management Suite


  1. Does the Altiris Macintosh client have a monitoring/admin GUI application for OS X, as it does for Windows
  2. What Altiris daemons/processes should be running all the time? For example, what is the Altiris “master process”? After I installed the client (and haven’t linked it to a Notification Server yet) the only Altiris processes I see running are “aex-pluginmanager” and “aex-pluginmanager-bin” (to me it looks like one calls the other, and both run as root).
  3. Once I connect the client to our Notification Server, will other Altiris processes run all the time, or will certain processes just run as needed (during tasks such as inventory sync, a software push, and so on)?
  4. Does the Altiris processes startup by registering them as legacy OS X Startup Items, or do you launch them via Apple’s new launchd that was introduced in 10.4?
  5. If the Altiris Mac client dies or hangs, can the Notification Server detect this and alert me?
  6. If I need to do so, can I restart the Altiris process with the standard UNIX “killall <process> -HUP”?


  1. There is a GUI application in the /Applications/Utilities/Altiris/NSAgent/ directory called Altiris Task It allows for refreshing policies (updating configuration), sending basic inventory, and running listed tasks. Note that you need to authenticate to run tasks by clicking the lock icon in the lower left corner. Also, see article 34521 for command lines used by the agent. The article states that it is for UNIX, but Mac and UNIX agents share a common code base so most, if not all, the commands and parameters are the same. Also, note that we place links to the most commonly used binaries in the /usr/bin directory. They all begin with aex*.
  2. You should see both processes. Launchd is the parent for aex-pluginmanager–bin. aex-pluginmanager–bin is the parent for the aex-pluginmanager. They both run as root.
  3. On occasion, you will see other processes, for example, aex-diagnostics and inventory solution binaries (swscan, machinv/hardware, and so on). Normal CPU consumption should be below 1 percent unless inventory is actually running.
  4. We place a file in the /Library/StartupItems/AltirisAgent directory. It is initiated by launchd. The process can be controlled by /Applications/Utilities/Altiris/NSAgent/.bin/rcscript, which is a script. You can review it. You can check the status of the agent process with one of the following:
    • ./rcscript status
    • aex-helper check
  5. The Notification Server cannot detect this unless you run some type of monitor process, such as our Monitor Solution or Site Monitor solution. The aex-diagnostics process will frequently initiate and handle most abnormal situations with pluginmanager but it can hang on occasion.
  6. The rcscript file will do a ‘killem’ on pluginmanager or you can do it yourself. We prefer that you use (or mimic) the script since it does just a bit more cleanup than just kill the process.