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New Relic SQL Server Monitoring With gMSA

Group managed service accounts, called gMSA, are a great way to allow automated processes to access resources using a domain account without worry about rotating passwords. One big issue with gMSA is that some software doesn’t work using it. I need to set the New Relic SQL Server plugin to monitor SQL Server using a gMSA, which took a little digging to work out how to make that happen. The existing documentation can be found here. That document covers using a domain account, a traditional domain account, not a gMSA. There are a few undocumented tweaks needed to make this work. Let me walk you through it. Follow the documentation above until you configure the mssql-config.yml file. Once you are at that point, you can pick up here.

gMSA Permissions:

Grant your gMSA account administrative privileges on your Windows machine. I would suggest making this a dedicated machine since you will be granting admin to the gMSA. The gMSA account needs these privileges for the next step.

New Relic Agent Setup:

Open Services and set the New Relic Infrastructure Agent service to Log On As your gMSA account.

SQL Server Integration Configuration:

Now, we can configure the mssql-config.yml file. This took a little digging. I looked in the New Relic MS SQL Integration repository on GitHub for the MS SQL Server driver being used in the code. This happened to be go-msqldb, and after some further research, I found out that it can work with a gMSA using integrated security. This leads me to the following configuration note, both the username and password should be empty.

integrations:
  - name: nri-mssql
    env:
      HOSTNAME: <SQL Server Name>
      PORT: 1433
      USERNAME:
      PASSWORD:
    interval: 15s
    labels:
      environment: production
    inventory_source: config/mssql

After saving this in my config file, I needed to run the New Relic CLI to validate my configuration.

Validating the Configuration

Since we are using a gMSA and a user can’t interactively log on as the gMSA to run the test command, we have to find an alternative route. Fortunately, this is a common issue we can address using PsExec. We need to run a PowerShell window as the gMSA, which can be done with the following command:

$ .\PSTools\PsExec.exe -u <gMSA> powershell.exe

Now, we have a PowerShell window that executes commands as the gMSA. Let’s test our config file. You should get the success message if everything is configured correctly. This assumes you already granted the gMSA permissions on the SQL Server.

$ cd "C:\Program Files\New Relic\newrelic-infra"; .\newrelic-infra.exe -dry_run -integration_config_path "C:\Program Files\New Relic\newrelic-infra\integrations.d\mssql-config.yml"
Integration health check finished with success

Restart the New Relic Agent

Okay, this is the last thing that needs to happen. Restart the agent, and you should start seeing the data in New Relic.

Restart-Service newrelic-infra

Wrapping Up

I hope this helps the next person configure the New Relic agent to use a gMSA. It is the better approach when working with Windows or MS SQL Server. Hopefully, nothing changes on the New Relic side that requires the username or password to have a value.

Thanks for reading,

Jamie

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