vSphere ESX Agent Manager is a standard vCenter solution that allows other solutions to deploy, monitor, and manage ESX agents on ESX hosts.

ESX Agent Manager performs the following functions:

Provisions ESX agent virtual machines for solutions.

Monitors changes to the ESX agent virtual machines and their scope in vCenter Server.

Reports configuration issues in the ESX agents to the solution.

Integrates agent virtual machines with vSphere features such as Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), Distributed Power Management (DPM), vSphere HA, fault tolerance, maintenance mode, and operations such as adding and removing hosts to and from clusters.

A solution can add functions to an ESX host by deploying an ESX agent virtual machine and an optional vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) that provide this function. For example, a solution that provides a distributed firewall can extend a host with firewall capabilities for the virtual machines that run on it, by installing a VIB, deploying a virtual machine, and integrating them both with DvFilter.

As another example, the EAM Sample Solution deploys an ESX agent and a VIB that add a DvFilter virtual switch to the ESX hosts on which the solution runs.

Every vCenter Server instance contains a running ESX Agent Manager.

Integrating a solution with ESX Agent Manager has several benefits and eliminates potential problems that can occur when you deploy ESX agent virtual machines.

ESX Agent Manager is an intermediary between vCenter Server and a solution. ESX Agent Manager provides a WSDL based SOAP API that you can use to create solutions that deploy and monitor ESX agent virtual machines on ESX hosts, and integrate the ESX agents with Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), Distributed Power Management (DPM), vSphere HA, and other vSphere features.

For a solution to integrate with ESX Agent Manager, it must register with vCenter Server as an extension, and create an ESX agency that defines the configuration of the solution and the ESX agents that the solution deploys.

To integrate with ESX Agent Manager, a solution must meet certain requirements.

vCenter Server handles the authentication of ESX Agent Manager clients, so a solution must first log in to vCenter Server before it can call the methods of the ESX Agent Manager API.

You can configure ESX agencies so that they only mark ESX agent virtual machines as available after the client of the agency has performed additional configuration after provisioning or powering on the ESX agent virtual machine.

With the ESX Agent Manager API, you can obtain status and state data about all the ESX agencies that a solution creates. The status of an ESX agency reflects the status of all the ESX agents that are running in the ESX agency.

The EAM Sample Solution contains classes that you can use to integrate a solution with ESX Agent Manager Manager.