Authors:  Gwyn Davies and Cy Englert.  Published:  October 29, 2019. 

BigFix V9.5 provides new capabilities which provides more flexibility and reduces infrastructure costs. The current version of the BigFix Platform is V9.5.14 which was released on October 28, 2019. BigFix V9.5 provides BigFix Query, Peer Nest, Set and Forget Patching, support for the latest Operating Systems, a Health Check Dashboard and performance improvements.  

BigFix Query 

BigFix Query allows users of the WebUI to quickly retrieve information about an endpoint and run relevance queries on BigFix clients. The speed results from the use of a dedicated query channel that minimizes impact to normal BigFix processing.  

BigFix Query is effectively used to: 

  • Query individual computers, manual computer groups and dynamic computer groups. 
  • Test Relevance expressions as you develop content. 
  • Export query results to a comma-separated value (.csv) file.
  • Create a library of custom queries and keep collections private or share them with others. 

BigFix Query is a powerful, time-saving tool for creators of custom content and operators responsible for day-to-day endpoint management. It can also be used in the latest version of the fixlet debugger, and over the BigFix API.  

Peer Nest 

Peer Nest is an optional feature that permits the sharing of binary files among BigFix clients located in the same subnetreducing network traffic and reduces the need for and cost of relays at remote sites. Peer Nest allows organizations the ability to simplify their BigFix environments while reducing infrastructure costs. 

While Peer Nest is applicable in many environments, particularly when branch office is connected to the data center through a slow link, earlier BigFix versions required the installation of a Relay in the branch office to download and cache large payloads. With Peer Nest, the BigFix clients can share downloaded binaries and therefore reduce the number of communications going outside of the branch office even if a Relay is not installed locally. 

When Peer Nest is enabled, the BigFix clients can self-optimize the download of the binaries required to execute actions. When multiple clients are executing actions requiring the prefetch of a binary file, they check with their peers if the file is already cached in the subnet. If the binary was not yet cached, one client on the subnet is elected to download the file from the relay and share it with its peers. Check out the video.

Set and Forget Patching 

Using the WebUIPatch Policies can be configured to run on a predefined schedule. Establishing Patch Policies allows continuous patching across your enterprise. A patch policy is a set of criteria that defines a patch list — a collection of Fixlets — that meet the patching criteria of a specific set of endpointspatching schedules for different groups of machines, and a set of deployment behaviors.

The use of Patch Policies establishes and maintains a process of continuous security and compliance for your organization. Patch Policies are useful for automatically patching the endpoints in the User Acceptance Test group as the Fixlets become available. This eliminates the typical scheduling effort and can reduce the total patch cycle time. Patch Policies currently supports endpoints running Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

Support for the latest Operating Systems

BigFix endeavors to support new version of supported operating systems as soon as possible so our clients can utilize the latest technology.  Upgrade BigFix so you can take advantage of the latest platform and agent support, including MacOS Catalina, RHEL 8 and Windows Server 2019.  

BigFix Health Check Dashboard

Health Check Dashboard  

The Health Check Dashboard improves visibility and the general health of a BigFix environment. The dashboard tracks important health indicators for Relay Health, Console Health, Server Health, Client Health, and DeploymentOptimization. It speeds the management and support of BigFix components. 

For BigFix system administrators and Master Operators, the Health Check Dashboard significantly improves availability by speeding problem diagnosis and remediation. 

Performance  

We are continually improving the performance and scalability of the BigFix Platform, ensuring you can scale the environment with minimal resources. In BigFix 9.5, we introduced a multi-threaded fillDB service. Instead of one overworked thread that does everything, we have parsing threads and data threads inside of fillDB service. With the new multithreading capabilities, you should expect an increase in overall DB insertion rates and a decrease in the sensitivity to disk I/O latency for database insertions over previous 9.2 versions of BigFix. These performance improvements can also better enable clients to implement the BigFix Server and Database in virtual environments. 

For more informationcontact your HCL BigFix Specialist or Technical Advisor.

Further Reading