Solidor research



A distributed and dynamic environment for distributed system management



Stéphane Billiart, Christine Morin, Akhil Sahai

Motivations and objectives

The complexity of networks, distributed systems and applications dictate the availability of management environments that allow monitoring of the various available resources, dealing with failures of network elements and ensuring security and good performance.

Astrolog is a distributed and integrated environment for network and system management, designed for the management of the Astrolab platform. Astrolab is an ATM LAN connecting heterogeneous workstations and is used for experimenting distributed systems and applications in the context of a research lab.

Astrolab is characterized by the heterogeneity of its elements and of the operating systems running on its workstations. This diversity is required by the different research prototypes implemented on Astrolab. Thus, Astrolab experiences frequent reconfigurations depending on prototyping activities. Moreover, all users of Astrolab are interested in minimal management information such as, information about machine configuration and network behaviour and performance.

Astrolog is intended for the management of LAN configurations and its design goals are to build a light-weight, simple, portable, evolving and distributed network and system management environment. In Astrolog, no machine is dedicated to network and system management. Astrolog is distributed on the Astrolab workstations.


Astrolog consists of a set of servers and managers communicating with SNMP agents located on the managed network elements. Servers communicate with SNMP agents to collect management information and store this information either in a database or in files.

Managers provide the client side of management applications through a Web interface. Dedicated management applets (charts, hierarchical lists,...) are developped in Java. The number of servers depends on the size of the network. Managers allow operators to do their work through any workstation. Managers are equally intelligent and act as domain managers being in charge of part of the network.

The major advantage of Astrolog approach is that the management environment is highly portable and cost-effective. The Web interface provide a uniform interface on any operating system running a browser.

As far as system management is concerned, we focus in Astrolog in providing uniform management for heterogeneous operating systems (different Unix OS and Windows NT). Astrolog favours the integration of existing scripts and facilitates adding of new functionalities as it is highly configurable.

Astrolog introduces the unique concept of Mobile Network Manager (MNM). The MNM is a manager executing on a portable computer which can be connected to the managed network through a phone line or by a wireless network. To cope with frequent disconnections, communication costs and poor resources of portable computers, management functions are implemented using the mobile agent technology.

MAGENTA (Mobile AGENT environment for distributed Applications) is our local mobile agent environment written in Java. The MAGENTA environment essentially comprises of the lieus and agents. The lieus are static program capable of launching, receiving and providing residence to the agents while agents are mobile programs which move between these lieus. The lieus are integrated with the management components like the managers, and SNMP agents and provide them the capability of utilizing mobile agents and of allowing the agents to access the local resources, if necessary. Agents exhibit the characteristics of autonomy, mobility, social ability, reactivity and proactivity.


The implementation of Astrolog is in progress. The technologies currently involved in Astrolog are SNMP, mobile computing, mobile agents and Java.
Astrolog servers rely on the ISM OpenMaster framework.


  1. Akhil Sahai, Christine Morin. Enabling a Mobile Network Manager through Mobile Agents In Proceedings of the Mobile Agents'98 (and Lecture Notes on Computer Science), Sept 1998, Stuttgart, Germany.
    full version

  2. Akhil Sahai, Christine Morin. Mobile Agents Enhanced Thin Client Approach to Network Management In Proceedings of the IEEE SICON 98, July 1998, Singapore.
    full version

  3. Akhil Sahai, Christine Morin. Mobile Agents for Enabling Mobile User Aware Applications. In Proceedings of the Second International Confernce ACM Autonomous Agents (Agents 98), May 1998, Minneapolis/St.Paul, USA.
    full version

  4. Akhil Sahai, Christine Morin. Towards Distributed and Dynamic Network Management. In Proceedings of the IEEE/IFIP Network Operation and Management Symposium (NOMS) February 1998, New Orleans, Lousiana, USA.
    You can download the gziped postscript version (51K) of the presentation.
    You can also download the gziped postscript version (71K) of the paper.

  5. Stéphane Billiart, Christine Morin Administration système à partir d'un navigateur web. Compte rendu des 2ème journées réseaux JRES97, pp 339-346, Octobre 1997, La Rochelle, France.
    You can download the full version, french only (pdf, 251K)

  6. Akhil Sahai, Christine Morin, Stéphane Billiart. Intelligent agents for a Mobile Network Manager (MNM). In Proceedings of the IFIP/IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Networks and Intelligence in Networks (2IN'97), September 1997, Paris, France.
    You can read the abstract of the paper, or download its postscript version (71K).

  7. Akhil Sahai, Stéphane Billiart, Christine Morin. A Portable and Mobile manager for Distributed System Management. In Proceedings of the Third Joint Conference on Information Sciences, March 1997, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
    You can read the abstract of the paper.

  8. Akhil Sahai, Stéphane Billiart, Christine Morin. Astrolog: A Distributed and Dynamic Environment for Network and System Management. In Proceedings of the 1st European Information Infrastructure User Conference, February 1997, Stuttgart, Germany.
    You can read the abstract of the paper, or download its postscript version (46K).


Astrolog is being caried out in the context of Dyade, an industrial collaboration with Bull. You can visit the Astrolog page on the Dyade server.

Serge LASSABE contributes to the development of the project.


dernière mise à jour : 17 02 2000

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