Alignak architecture allows the administrator to have a unique point of administration with numerous schedulers, pollers, reactionners, brokers and receivers.

Hosts are dispatched with their own services to schedulers. The satellites daemons (pollers/reactionners/brokers) get and execute jobs from their schedulers. Everyone is happy! Or almost everyone…

Think about an administrator who has a distributed architecture around the world. With the current Alignak architecture the administrator can have a couple scheduler/poller daemons in Europe and another one set in Asia, but he cannot “tag” hosts in Asia to be checked by the asian scheduler. Trying to check an asian server with an european scheduler can be very sub-optimal, read very sloooow.

The hosts are dispatched to all schedulers and satellites so the administrator cannot be sure that asian hosts will be checked by the asian monitoring servers.

Alignak provides a way to manage different geographic or organizational sites.

We will use a generic term for this site management, Realms.

Realms in few words

A realm is a pool of resources (scheduler, poller, reactionner, broker and receiver) that hosts or hostgroups can be attached to.

The following rule apply:

  • A host can be attached to one and only one realm.
  • A hostgroup can be attached to one and only one realm; all the hosts in the group will be de facto in the same realm.
  • All “dependencies” or parents of an host must be in the same realm as the related host
  • A realm can be set as the default one, and all “unrealmed” hosts will be attached to the default realm.
  • If no default realm exists in the configuration, Alignak will create one
  • In a realm, pollers, reactionners and brokers will only get jobs from schedulers of the same realm.

Realms are not poller_tags!

Make sure to understand when to use realms and when to use poller_tags.

For some cases poller_tag functionality could also be done using Realms. The question you need to ask yourself: is a poller_tag “enough”, or do you need to fully segregate the scheduler level and use Realms. In realms, schedulers do not communicate with schedulers from other Realms.

If you just need a poller in a DMZ network, use poller_tag.

If you need a scheduler/poller in a customer LAN, use realms.

Sub realms

A realm can contain another realm. It does not change anything for schedulers: they are only responsible for hosts of their realm not the ones of the sub realms.

The realm tree is useful for satellites like reactionners or brokers: they can get jobs from the schedulers of their realm, but also from schedulers of sub realms.

Pollers can also get jobs from sub realms, but it’s less useful so it’s disabled by default.


having more than one broker with a scheduler is not a good idea. The jobs for brokers can be taken by only one broker!

For the Arbiter it does not change anything: there is still only one Arbiter and one configuration whatever realms you have.

Example of realm usage

Let’s take a look at two distributed environments.

In the first case the administrator wants totally distinct daemons.

In the second one he just wants the schedulers/pollers to be distinct, but still have one place to send notifications (reactionners) and one place for database export (broker).

Distinct realms :


More common usage, the global realm with reactionner/broker, and sub realms with schedulers/pollers :


Realms configuration

Here is the configuration for the shared architecture:

; One main default realm with 3 sub-realms
define realm {
   realm_name       All
   realm_members    Europe,US,Asia
   default          1

; The Europe realm with a sub-realm
define realm{
   realm_name       Europe
   realm_members    Paris

An now the satellites:

; A scheduler that will only manage Paris hosts
define scheduler{
   scheduler_name       scheduler_Paris
   realm                Paris

; A reactionner for all the schedulers (All realm + sub-realms)
define reactionner{
   reactionner_name     reactionner-master
   realm                All

And in host/hostgroup definition:

; A server in the Paris realm
define host{
   host_name            server-paris
   realm                Paris

; All the hosts in this group will be in the realm Europe
define hostgroups{
   hostgroup_name       linux-servers
   alias                            Linux Servers
   members                      srv1,srv2
   realm                Europe

Multi levels brokers

In the previous samples, if you put numerous brokers into the realm, each scheduler will have only one broker at the same time. It is also impossible to have a common Broker in All, and one brokers in each sub-realms.

You can activate multi-brokers features with a realm parameter, the broker_complete_links option (0 by default).

You will have to enable this option in ALL your realms! For example:

define realm{
   realm_name       Europe
   broker_complete_links  1

This will enable the fact that each scheduler will be linked with each brokers. This will make it possible to have dedicated brokers in a same realm; each one for its specific stuff.

It will also make it possible to have a common Broker in “All”, and one broker in each of its sub-realms (Europe, US and Asia).

Of course the sub-brokers will only see the data from their realms, and the sub-realms (like Paris for Europe for example).