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The AlertFox iDrone Virtual Appliance

An iDrone is a virtualized Windows system running on any server/PC/notebook you have at hand. It is not another piece of hardware you have to buy, unpack, then install on your premises and which needs physical maintenance and security supervision.

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You could use iDrones to monitor internal web based tools like ticketing systems, CRM portals, sales interfaces, internal wikis or forums, and much more.

You can download the iDrone inside your AlertFox account. There is no extra charge for web performance monitoring with the iDrone virtual appliance .

Easy to Setup and Configure

All you need to do is setting up a virtual Windows installation, run our iDrone installer, perform a three-step configuration and you’re ready to monitor your internal sites and web based tools.

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The iDrone installer transforms your Windows installation into an equivalent of the test servers the “normal” AlertFox service uses to perform more than 2 million macros a day

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Note :  The registration of iDrone 3.0 which is currently in Beta looks a bit different. One also has to click on the “Start Operation” in order to start the functioning of the idrone

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An idrone has the following advantages :

  1. The iDrone measurements are performed within your (internal) network. “Normal” AlertFox sensors can’t reach anything behind a corporate firewall (unless you do some special configuration).
  2. Your iDrone performs only your measurements. This means you are free to give it as much processing power as needed, which in turn means that you can host it on any system you find appropriate.

Firewall Settings

To receive measurements and to return the results, the iDrone needs to talk to the AlertFox service over the net. However, we have designed the iDrones with a focus on security and ease of use and this includes the exchange of data:

All communication is initiated by the iDrone.

  • No open ports facing the net.
  • No port forwarding setup although we operate in a virtualized environment

There is only one protocol the iDrone uses: HTTPS (port 8888)

  • Internet standard
  • All traffic is encrypted

There is a single point of contact: my.alertfox.com

  • No fiddling with sets of dependent rules
  • No adjustments over time

This means that a single firewall rule is enough to get the iDrone connected:

ALLOW outgoing HTTPS (port 8888) traffic to my.alertfox.com

In most cases this traffic is already allowed by default, so there is a good chance that no firewall changes are required.

Custom (Browser) Settings

The worldwide AlertFox measurement servers need to support as many sites as possible. Therefore, we have configured their browsers’ environment to be as unrestricted as possible, keeping only as much security as we need to protect our machines. The iDrone, however, runs in your environment, so we decided to not have it touch any major security settings. As a consequence, you may need to perform some actions manually in order to allow the processing of your macros, like:

  • Disable Internet Explorer “Enhanced Security Settings”
  • Answer the popup about transmitting unencrypted information
  • Answer the popup concerning closing multiple tabs
  • and so on.

(What the installer does, is to allow third party extensions in Internet Explorer. Otherwise the iMacros plugin would not work.)
The “best practice” is to run a test of your macro (in the sensor settings press “Test Now”) while watching the iDrone. There you should be able to see any kind of impediment.

Minimum system specifications for iDrone

  • Dual core, 2.5GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 50 GB disk

Factors that will affect the need for power :

  • How many parallel browser sessions? The more, the more CPU/RAM is needed.
  • Plain HTML or FLASH/Java? The latter need more CPU/RAM
  • Plain TAG based macros on IMAGESEARCH/IMAGECLICK? The latter needs more CPU/RAM

It’s a Feature

Note that this also allows for setting up an iDrone that features custom settings that the worldwide servers (by design) simply can not support:

  • Your SSL Certificates
  • Custom browser plugins/addons
  • Custom desktop settings (size, color depth)
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