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Srdan

New to Automate - Question(s)

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

I am completely new to automate, MSP and RMM tools. We are planing to do some MSP-kind work with our clients, so I started exploring the possible solutions, and came over CW automate (after trying out Solarwinds RMM, NinjaRMM and Kaseya VSA).

Right now I am in the trial with Automate, and trying the most typical features, agent deployment, software deployment and patching.

My first issue I am coming across is that automatic deployment, or even manual via network discovery, is flimsy at best:

Readiness check tells me that I need to install .NET, while Win10 already all have .NET 4.8 by default. When I install 3.5 manually, the message disappears, and then it says I need credentials. And those are entered at all 3 places: location, probe and deployment manager. Even tried entering manually in the computer object itself. In my domain it deployed on two machines of 20 automatically, and even some machines said simply incompatible due to not being a computer... huh? (I did set it in the location properties, network devices).

While I do know that I can deploy by hand or AD, I was hoping to deploy in a workgroup, without an issue, since we have some clients with about 50 devices, and I would gladly like to avoid manual installations.

My 2nd issue is following:

First we got the trial account for the cloud. After I deployed some agents, they first went online, and after a minute or so, offline. Debug log of the agent had shown some funky stuff:

LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:17     - Sent Status:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:23     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:28     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:33     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:33     - An exception occurred during a WebClient request.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:33     - An exception occurred during a WebClient request.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - UNCompress Error: Index was outside the bounds of the array.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - Error initializing patch system: Root element is missing.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - UNCompress Error: Index was outside the bounds of the array.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - Error in Patch Stats Loop: Root element is missing.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - Finished Main Prep and Begining Loop:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:35     - Detected different OS Build, resending all hotfix data:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:38     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:44     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:51     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:56     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:21:58     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:03     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:07     - An exception occurred during a WebClient request.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:07     - An exception occurred during a WebClient request.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:08     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:13     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:18     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:23     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:28     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:33     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:38     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:43     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:48     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:53     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:22:58     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:03     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:05     - Scan for Hotfixes Resultcode:2:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:06     - Scan for HotFixes Object reference not set to an instance of an object.:::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:08     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:13     - Status Result Error: :::
LTService  v190.250     - 01/10/2019 15:23:18     - Status Result Error: :::

At that point, I asked for the on-premise trial key. Now the agents remain online. But, after I install the agent (manually), it creates the two services, that are visible in the MMC console. As long as the client is offline (for instance disabled network), those two remain there, and I can modify the logon user (for the probe for instance). However, after enabling the network, the agent will connect to the server, and suddenly the two services disappear from the MMC console! They are still working, I can see them in the task manager, and control server is showing clients as online, but the services are not in the MMC console any more.

The company told me it might be the firewall, though I fail to see how could that be the case, since all the clients and the CW-server are behind the firewall, so no firewall, no web-filtering, no IPS, no web-proxy...

I don't know if that's important, but we use Sophos UTM firewall.

EDIT: later this evening, I even found out for some to me unknown reason, the agents have been removed. Completely. They still exist in the control center, but are completely gone from the client (Win10 Ent VM). And if I re-add it, it will appear in the CC again, but the above cycle repeats... services gone...

So, any comments to these issues?

The best thing: I find the software really good, but from the aforementioned ones, this is the only one which gives me such problems with the agents. Others had other problems, but agents never made a single problem.

Thank you very much!

Edited by Srdan

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is your AV or something quarantining the agents? you story has that feel but I have not seen this behavior...

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@Srdan you may not like this answer but as you're brand new to the MSP Industry in general and not just Automate I would honestly recommend you find yourself a solid Consultant to assist in giving you 

1. Crash course in MSPs in general and how the work is different.
2. Crash course in Automate vs other RMM tools you'll see
3. Crash course in Automate specifics for Automation and Monitoring
 

It sounds like you're making a lot of progress on your own, and you'll find a lot of content both online and here to assist you if you want to continue by yourself but there really is a lot to take in and its just easier to do it over a phone consult training session than typing out a concise manual here.

In regards to your services disappearing, this honestly sounds like a setting you have configured in the Templates. Either the services are changing their name to your brand or their being hidden entirely. A quick tip to find out is from an agent computer at an elevated command prompt (directly on the console) execute net stop ltservice and net stop ltsvcmon. This will display the Service Display name and you can see if those exist in the services console.

Deploying agents is a huge undertaking with many many variations on how to do it. The Probe DOES work a lot of the times, but not everytime and therefore cannot be relied upon. Half of the time it happens is not necessarily its own fault but the fault of PSEXEC which doesn't always have permission to execute on the remote agent. For tips, come into the slack team and check out the !deploy command. You can also hit the channels there for live help, or hit me up if you like. Of course I don't charge so my services are sporadic and not guaranteed ;)

 

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if it was branding he would get a popup that says agent already installed on the reinstall. also, they would not go offline. this sounds like something is actively killing/suppressing the agent.

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See this quote 

Quote

However, after enabling the network, the agent will connect to the server, and suddenly the two services disappear from the MMC console! They are still working, I can see them in the task manager, and control server is showing clients as online, but the services are not in the MMC console any more.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, cciecka said:

is your AV or something quarantining the agents? you story has that feel but I have not seen this behavior...

Well, the thing is there is no A/V really. I deactivate everything I can on the firewall (except the firewall itself), and still the same behavior. On both the CW-server and Win10 clients there are no A/V except the default defender - but that surely cannot be the issue?

5 hours ago, MGreen said:

@Srdan you may not like this answer but as you're brand new to the MSP Industry in general and not just Automate I would honestly recommend you find yourself a solid Consultant to assist in giving you 

1. Crash course in MSPs in general and how the work is different.
2. Crash course in Automate vs other RMM tools you'll see
3. Crash course in Automate specifics for Automation and Monitoring
 

It sounds like you're making a lot of progress on your own, and you'll find a lot of content both online and here to assist you if you want to continue by yourself but there really is a lot to take in and its just easier to do it over a phone consult training session than typing out a concise manual here.

In regards to your services disappearing, this honestly sounds like a setting you have configured in the Templates. Either the services are changing their name to your brand or their being hidden entirely. A quick tip to find out is from an agent computer at an elevated command prompt (directly on the console) execute net stop ltservice and net stop ltsvcmon. This will display the Service Display name and you can see if those exist in the services console.

Deploying agents is a huge undertaking with many many variations on how to do it. The Probe DOES work a lot of the times, but not everytime and therefore cannot be relied upon. Half of the time it happens is not necessarily its own fault but the fault of PSEXEC which doesn't always have permission to execute on the remote agent. For tips, come into the slack team and check out the !deploy command. You can also hit the channels there for live help, or hit me up if you like. Of course I don't charge so my services are sporadic and not guaranteed ;)

 

You are completely right. I did not write that, but we currently follow this plan:

First we are looking for the plausible solutions and are making some plans to see IF we can implement that solution with the customers. Without spending any money first.

The second step is to make a basic concept of what we want to do, think about what our customers need or may need.

And then take a consulting and courses (invest money) in MSPs/RMM and in general how to do it right.

What I'm trying to do alone is merely some basics, determine which software works best for what we need it, and that's at first only two functions: patching and deployment of our own in-house apps. After that we might think of expanding, but right now, our customers put some demands, and we want to cover those.

Certainly I am not looking for the manual on the software. But YOU were right!! The service indeed gets renamed to "Connectwise Automate Agent". How STUPID of me to not think of that!

So, one problem solved.

It remains though why some services got deleted entirely (missing LTsvc folder). I will observe this further, as just yesterday I updated the software to the latest version. Maybe that solved it. And also the reason why I get the message that .NET is missing, although it is there... that can't be the reason for not being able to deploy, as if I would really have to install .NET 3.5 on each computer, I might as well go about installing the agent with a flash-drive...

In any case, I have to "play" with it a little before I go to my boss with a info that I've most likely found the software that suits us and spend time making the concept and doing "more".

Edited by Srdan

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6 hours ago, Srdan said:

It remains though why some services got deleted entirely (missing LTsvc folder). I will observe this further, as just yesterday I updated the software to the latest version. Maybe that solved it. And also the reason why I get the message that .NET is missing, although it is there... that can't be the reason for not being able to deploy, as if I would really have to install .NET 3.5 on each computer, I might as well go about installing the agent with a flash-drive...

 

So I didn't mention this before because this is unlikely to happen to someone who is brand new on Automate unless they've already crossed several versions. We have found that when using GPO to deploy the MSI via Published Applications that the Agent will disappear from computers. @DarrenWhite99 current King of Automate (or  Dad is how people refer to him now? 🤔...I digress...) has a long explanation for why this happens but the short of it is that when Automate gets patched and the version changes, the GPO will re-apply the current version and will fail to install for whatever reason. This causes agents to get half installed or to be completely uninstalled by itself randomly. Without AV this is the closest issue I can think of that gives you the symptoms you're seeing. The bottom line is to NOT use GPO Published Applications to install Labtech despite what the documentation says. Again I urge you to come into Slack and check out !deploy, and !ltposh (and also Darren's !dadjokes). 

I hear the part about not wanting to spend money, again I encourage you to spend the time here and on Slack talking to experienced Automate Admins so that you understand all your options for monitoring and automation, and especially patching. To be frank, Automate is an extremely buggy system, and the documentation is extremely poor and often inaccurate. If you do everything yourself you'll implement a feature the correct way only to find out its wrong, or that it just doesn't work. Despite all that it is the most powerful platform that I've ever used and I love it, and lately they have been getting better but you're still dealing with old code from 2013 that may or may not have been properly debugged. 

 

Here's some of our geekcasts https://www.mspgeek.com/forum/40-the-geek-cast/ and there are more videos on our Youtube channel. We are trying to make more of these and there should be one coming around the corner as well. 

Here's our Downloads, https://www.mspgeek.com/files/ that are full of scripts and monitors and other good things :)

There are more, crazy long posts here by great members who contributed their process of tweaking automate and solving specific challenges to work around the Automate platform. You'll just have to search for them and read them all so you can get a good perspective on things.

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Thanks! I'll check the links... right now I'm going about their Webinars in the University.

I'm new with Slack (we use Teams)... what do I do with the things you gave me?

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they're trigger words that can be used in any of the channels (just send them in a chat) and Slackbot will respond to you. You can also use them in a direct chat with yourself and slackbot will respond there

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