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uberAgent

uberAgent 6.2 Preview: Persistent Output Queue (Disk Buffering)

  • by Dieter Schmitz
  • September 1, 2021

While we’re finalizing version 6.2 of our user experience monitoring & endpoint security analytics products uberAgent UXM and uberAgent ESA, let’s take a look at another cool new feature: persistent output queues.

What Are Persistent Output Queues?

Persistent output queues (POQs) buffer the generated events on the endpoint’s disk before uberAgent attempts to send them to the backend. Only when an event has been delivered successfully is it removed from the POQ’s buffer.

uberAgent’s persistent output queues ensure that no data is lost even in situations where the backend is unavailable for prolonged periods of time. The most important use case for POQs is with laptops.

On mobile devices, uberAgent was traditionally coupled with Splunk’s Universal Forwarder due to UF’s persistent queue functionality. With uberAgent’s new built-in persistent output queues, it’s not necessary anymore to deploy Universal Forwarder just for its disk buffering feature.

Behavior Without POQs

Without persistent output queues, events are buffered in memory. If events cannot be sent to the backend, uberAgent keeps them in the in-memory buffer so that they can be sent at a later time. The memory buffer is limited to 10 MB per receiver by default. If the size limit is reached, new events are discarded until the buffer size drops below the limit.

uberAgent’s in-memory buffer protects well against data loss during shorter periods of network unavailability. It meets its limits, however, when endpoints might be rebooted while offline.

That is where persistent output queues come in.

POQ Internals

With POQs enabled, all events are stored in SQLite database files. A background thread reads the data from the database and sends it to the backend servers. Events that were transmitted successfully are removed from the database. uberAgent’s POQ code has been carefully optimized to minimize disk IO.

POQs are configured per receiver (backend). If multiple receivers are configured, persistent output queues can be enabled for each receiver independently.

uberAgent’s persistent output queues are fully compatible with all supported backend types: Splunk, Elasticsearch, Apache Kafka, and Microsoft Azure Monitor.

POQ Configuration Options

As expected from uberAgent, persistent output queues offer a lot of flexibility. Configuration options include the maximum retention time, the maximum used space, and the location on disk.

Maximum Retention Time

Persistent output queues keep a timestamp for each event. Based on the maximum retention time defined in the configuration, events that are older than the maximum are deleted from the POQ files. The default retention time is 120 days.

Maximum Size

To keep disk usage in check, POQs enforce a size limit. The default maximum size of 500 MB can be adjusted as needed. When a queue’s maximum size is reached, old events are purged to make room for new data. This behavior is different from uberAgent’s in-memory buffer, which keep the earliest events. The persistent output queue, on the other hand, keeps the latest events.

Storage Location

By default, POQ files are stored in the %PROGRAMDATA%\vast limits\uberAgent\Output Queue directory on Windows and in /Library/Application Support/uberAgent/Output Queue on macOS. Of course, the storage location of POQ files can be changed to any directory that is writeable by the agent.

About uberAgent

uberAgent is an innovative Windows and macOS user experience monitoring and endpoint security analytics product. Its highlights include detailed information about boot and logon duration (showing why and when boots/logons are slow), application unresponsiveness detection, network reliability drill-downs, process startup duration, application usage metering, browser performance per website, and remoting protocol insights.

About vast limits

vast limits GmbH is the company behind uberAgent, the innovative user experience monitoring and endpoint security analytics product. vast limits’ customer list includes organizations from industries like finance, healthcare, professional services, and education, ranging from medium-sized businesses to global enterprises. vast limits’ network of qualified solution partners ensures best-in-class service and support anywhere in the world.

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