CloudBees Flow is a unified DevOps automation solution providing teams with shared control and visibility across the entire build, test and production application infrastructure. To orchestrate this work in an efficient manner across hundreds – or hundreds of thousands – of machines in geographically distributed locations, CloudBees Flow takes advantage of a scalable, flexible agent architecture. We often hear of two different types of architecture for DevOps automation solutions: Agent-based & Agent-less architectures. Agent-based Automation Architecture uses small pieces of software that run on distributed target systems and are designed to perform work on behalf of the server. These Agents communicate with the central Server, receiving sets of instructions to perform. One of the advantages of an agent-based architecture is that the server does not have to hold resources like threads and network connections representing each system in the deployment. This allows a single server to manage a larger number of target systems. In an "Agent-less" architecture you rely on the operating system resources that open up a remote console to target machines. For example, the technology used on Unix is often SSH (Secure Shell) and on Windows WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation).
Should you go Agent-based or Agent-less?
The differences between agent-based and agent-less architectures have significant impact on your DevOps automation flow - from ease of deployment , security , performance , scalability , HA and more. What are the pros and cons of each architecture? Are "agent-less" architectures indeed agent-less? What do you need to know when implementing an agent-based vs. and agent-less solution? Read this technical brief to learn more on how to choose the most appropriate architecture when selecting the DevOps automation solution that fits your needs.
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