Java Dynamic Management Kit 5.0 Tutorial

Mirror MBeans in the Master Agent

Once the cascading service is active, you interact directly with the mirror MBeans representing the subagent's MBeans. You can access and manage a mirror MBean as if you are connected to the subagent and accessing or managing the original MBean. The mirror MBeans are actual MBean objects registered in the master agent's MBean server with the same object name.

All management operations that you can perform on the original MBean can be performed identically on its mirror MBean. You can modify attributes, invoke operations and add or remove listeners, all with exactly the same result as if the manager were connected to the subagent when performing the action.

The behavior of a mirror MBean is to transmit the action to the subagent's MBean and return with an answer or result. The actual computation is performed by the original MBean running in its own agent.

In our example, we know that there is a timer MBean that was created in the subagent. Once the cascading service is active for our subagent, we operate the timer through its local mirror MBean. We can never have the direct reference to a mirror MBean, so we always invoke operations through the master agent's MBean server.

Example 16–2 Managing Mirrored MBeans

// Here we know the object name of the MBean we want to access, the
// object name of its mirrored MBean in the master agent will be identical.
ObjectName timerName = new ObjectName("CascadedDomain:type=timer");

echo("\n>>>  Ask the Timer MBean to send a notification every 5 seconds ");
java.util.Date currentDate = new java.util.Date();
Object params[] = { 
    new Integer(5),
    new java.util.Date (currentDate.getTime() + new Long (2).longValue()),
    new Long(1000) };

String signatures[]={ "java.lang.String",

server.invoke(timerName, "addNotification", params, signatures);
server.invoke(timerName, "start", null, null);

echo("\n>>>  Add ourselves as a listener to the Timer MBean");       
server.addNotificationListener(timerName, this, null, null);

echo("\nPress <Enter> to remove the listener from the Timer MBean ");
server.removeNotificationListener(timerName, this);

For the managing application, the mirror MBean in the master agent is the MBean. Unregistering a mirror MBean in the master agent will unregister the mirrored MBean in the subagent. If you want to control the number of mirror objects without removing the originals, you must use filters and/or queries of the subagent's MBeans in the constructor of the cascading service MBean.

The mirror and its mechanism make the cascading totally transparent: a manager has no direct way of knowing whether an object is a mirror or not. Neither does it have any direct information about the topology of the cascading hierarchy rooted at the agent that it accesses. If this information is necessary, the MBeans should expose some kind of identification through their attributes, operations, or object names.

Class of a Mirror MBean

Mirror MBeans are implemented as dynamic MBeans; they are instances of the CascadeGenericProxy class. The cascading service gives them the MBeanInfo object that they will expose and establishes their connection with the original MBean. The MBean information contains the class name of the original MBean, not their own class name. Exposing this borrowed class name guarantees that the cascading service is completely transparent.

The symmetry of the Java dynamic management architecture means that this cascading mechanism is scalable to any number of levels. The mirror object of a mirror object is again an instance of the CascadeGenericProxy class, and it borrows the same object name and class name. Any operation on the top mirror will be propagated to its subagent, where the intermediate mirror will send it its own subagent, and so forth. The cost of cascading is the cost of accessing the subagent: the depth of your cascading hierarchy should be adapted to your management solution.

Because the cascading service MBean instantiates and controls all mirror MBeans, the CascadeGenericProxy class should never be instantiated through a management operation, nor by the code of the agent application. We have described it here only to provide an example application of dynamic MBeans.

Cascading Issues

In this section, we explain some of the design issues that are determined by the implementation of the cascading service.

Dynamic Mirroring

Any changes in the subagent's MBeans are automatically applied to the set of mirror MBeans, to ensure that both master agent and subagent remain consistent.

When an MBean is unregistered from the subagent, the cascading service MBean removes its mirror MBean from the master agent. When a new MBean is registered in the subagent, the cascading service instantiates its mirror MBean, sets up its connection to the new MBean, and registers the mirror with the master agent's MBean server.

Both of these mechanisms scale to cascading hierarchies: adding or removing an MBean in the master agent will trigger a notification that any cascading service connected to the master agent will receive. This will start a chain reaction up to the top of the hierarchy. Removing an MBean from the middle of a hierarchy also triggers a similar reaction down to the original MBean that is finally removed.

Dynamic unregistration only applies to subagent MBeans that are actually mirrored. Dynamic registration is also subject to filtering, as described in the next section.

MBean Filtering

When the cascading service MBean is instantiated, you can pass it an object name pattern and a query expression. These will be applied to the list of MBeans in the subagent to determine those that will be mirrored in the master agent. The filtering will be in effect for the life of the cascading service connected to this MBean.

Filtering the mirrored MBeans reduces the number of MBeans in the master agent. It also provides a way of identifying mirror MBeans in the master agent, as in our example where cascading is limited to MBeans in the CascadedDomain.

Both the object name pattern and query expression will be used to filter any new MBean that is registered in the subagent. If the new MBean meets the filter criteria, it will become visible and mirrored in the master agent. Since the query expression applies to attribute values of the MBean, you must be careful to initialize the new MBean before registering it so that its values are significant when the filter is applied by the cascading service.

Naming in Cascading Agents

Mirror MBeans are registered in the master agent with the same object name as the mirrored MBean in the subagent. If the registration fails in the master agent's MBean server, no error is raised and no action is taken: the corresponding MBean will simply not be mirrored in the master agent.

The most likely cause for registration to fail is that the object name already exists in the master agent. An MBean cannot be registered if its chosen object name already exists in the MBean server.

If your management solution has potential naming conflicts, you will need a design that is guaranteed to assign unique object names throughout the cascade hierarchy. You can set the default domain name in your subagents or use the MBeanServerId attribute of the delegate MBean to give MBeans a unique object name.