Infrastructure and security

New Relic Infrastructure provides unprecedented data from your entire system by running comfortably on your hosts. In order to obtain this data, the agent must run as root.

Secure agent communication

Every piece of information exchanged between your hosts and the Infrastructure agent is delivered securely. All communication from the agent occurs over HTTPS, using Transport Layer Security (TLS). To ensure secure communication, the New Relic Infrastructure agent was designed with the following protective measures:

  • All communication is established directly from the agent to the service.
  • The agent does not require any incoming ports to be opened.
  • The agent is read-only and cannot make changes to your system.

The infrastructure agent does not support high security mode.

Running as root

The Infrastructure agent must be run as root to deliver key pieces of your in-depth data. This includes user sessions, package information, file changes, kernel settings, etc.

New Relic is committed to the security of your data. All data derived while running as root is protected, and used only to deliver information related to your infrastructure back to you.

Sources of data collection

The Infrastructure agent gathers metrics, events, and inventory data from a variety of OS sources. While some of these sources can be read from a non-privileged account, others require elevated privileges.

For current agent versions, New Relic requires that it run as the root user (on Linux) or with full Administrator access (Windows). Here are additional details about how the Infrastructure agent accesses default directories and what packages and commands it uses.

Default directories accessed by the agent

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to any Linux operating system.

Directory or file Purpose Linux OS
/etc/newrelic-infra.yml Default configuration file any
/usr/bin/newrelic-infra Default binary install location any
/var/db/newrelic-infra/ Default inventory cache and plugin binaries any
/var/run/ Default pid file any
stdout, stderr, logs Depending on configuration, the agent writes logs to stdout, which may connect to your system logging service any
Packages and commands used by the agent

Some data sources are specific to particular operating systems. Unless otherwise mentioned, New Relic Infrastructure uses the source on all variations of an operating system when the related software is detected. Many of the tools are on a path accessible to the agent. If not otherwise indicated, the Infrastructure agent typically searches for them in /usr/bin, /bin, or /sbin.

New Relic uses some tools or data sources to gather information for multiple Infrastructure features. Here are some primary use cases. Unless otherwise noted, New Relic uses this information primarily for Infrastructure’s Inventory page.

Plugin or data Tool, directory, or file Linux OS
systemd initctl list any
upstart systemctl -l, systemctl show, modinfo, lsmod any
selinux sestatus -b, semodule -l any
dpkg dpkg-query -W -f Debian
rpm rpm -qa Redhat
hostinfo /sys/devices/virtual/dmi/id/sys_vendor, /sys/devices/virtual/dmi/id/product_name any
hostinfo /proc/sys/kernel/osrelease any
hostinfo uptime -s any
hostinfo /etc/lsb_release Debian
hostinfo /etc/redhat-release Redhat
facter facter -p -j any
daemontool svstat any
kernel_modules /sbin/modinfo, /sbin/lsmod any
users /usr/bin/env who any
Various plugins gather system-wide details through this directory. Used for Infrastructure Inventory and metrics. /proc/ any
Various plugins gather sysctl settings through this directory. Used for Infrastructure Inventory and metrics. /sys/ any
Various plugins (sshd_config, hostinfo) read specific configs in this directory. Used for Infrastructure Inventory and metrics. /etc/ any

External agent connections

The agent periodically sends JSON-formatted data describing compute metrics, events, and your inventory configuration to the Infrastructure endpoint at New Relic. These communications are associated with the agent using the License key generated for your account. Once New Relic Infrastructure receives data from any external agent, it will display the new metrics, events, or configuration data in the Infrastructure UI.

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