How Does Licensing Work

The number of agent licenses purchased has two different effects on how Sysdig is used.

  1. The agent count defines the maximum number of agents you can deploy. E.g if you purchase 100 licenses, you can install 100 agents, potentially divided between Reserved and On-Demand agents.

  2. In AWS, it also determines the number of AWS objects that can be viewed in the Sysdig Monitor Dashboards (unrelated to the number of agents actually installed). In other words, if you have 100 licenses purchased, you can only see 100 AWS objects per region, per service type. See AWS Services Licensing for details.

To see how many licenses (and therefore object views) are permitted in your AWS environment, check the Settings >Subscription page.

To get an accurate view of which hosts have agents installed, apply the Agent Summary dashboard, using the smallest time interval allowed (to avoid seeing historical data).

Reserved vs On-Demand Agents

Reserved agents are purchased and used on an ongoing monthly basis. On-demand agents can be licensed hourly, for short-term needs. For example, an organization might schedule scale testing for two days and license an extra 500 on-demand agents for that time frame. The distinction between reserved and on-demand agents is financial, not technical; when on-demand agents are used they perform exactly like reserved agents.

Connect Agents to the Backend

The Sysdig platform uses a concurrent licensing model in determining when to allow an installed agent to connect to the back-end servers and report on host metrics. This means you can install Sysdig agents onto any number of instances. However, only the licensed number of agents will be allowed to connect and send metrics for recording and reporting.

Agents connect on a "first-come, first-served" basis and in the event of an over-subscription (more agents wanting to communicate than are licensed) they will attempt to reconnect on a periodic basis. Once an existing communicating instance goes down and disconnects, the next agent attempting to connect will be allowed in.

To avoid having agents refused connection due to over-subscription, monitor the number of established and allowed connections. To see how many licenses are in use, see the Settings > Subscription page. Use this information to either purchase additional license capacity from the UI, or to shut down lower-priority agents via normal orchestration and system administration means.

Technical Details

Multiple Installs: An agent is essentially an "install" of the software. If your system changes external IP addresses, or if you shut down a VM image and bring it back up elsewhere, this will remain the same agent connection. However, identical installs that are simultaneously sending data (usually an accident) will be considered two connections. A MAC address is used to identify a host for licensing purposes.

Time Lag for License Release: When shutting down a host for any reason, the agent's license will not be immediately released. This permits the agent to retain its licensing slot for short outages or a reboot. The time-out interval can take up to 20 minutes, and if the connection has not been re-established within the interval the license will be released for use by the next host waiting to connect.