Everything Has a Beginning: The Genesis of Tentacle Protocol

You probably know all kinds of remarkable “genesis”: the biblical and canonized, where Adam and Eve have their first Tinder date, the British rock band from the 60s with excellent Peter Gabriel on vocals and Phil Collins on drums, and of course, the Hyundai Genesis, a passenger car manufactured by the South Korean brand Hyundai Motor Company since 2008… But this time, none of them interests us. We’ll leave the trunk capacity of the Hyundai for another day, but not today, today, in our ominous and greenish Pandora FMS Blog, we will talk about an even more important genesis for the history of the beginnings and the startings (drum roll), the beginnings of Tentacle Protocol.

And to talk about the origins of Tentacle Protocol, we had to make an effort to find our colleague Ramón Novoa Suñer, Head of the AI department and Senior Chief Programmer at Pandora FMS, a hero for the company, who has been here for as many years as it exists and that, therefore, houses all the possible knowledge on the matter, right within its experienced and ancient testa.

To find Ramón, we had to undertake a dangerous journey, crossing the icy glacier and the burning desert, traveling day and night without rest, risking our life and our physique, crossing the most spectral swamps and mountain slopes, enduring merciless winds, to finally reach the medieval fortress where he was, always involved in his chores and completely oblivious to the admiration that the world professes him.

Proposing an interview with Ramón was easy, but it took time to carry it out, that’s why I stayed with him as an apprentice. I slept in the highest tower of the castle and devoted myself to absorbing all kinds of technological knowledge that got thrown on me to the ground like little bones. I didn’t want to waste a second spent with him. After all, he is one of the most recognized geniuses in his field. The Dumbledore of programming.

Weeks passed, then years, but finally the long-awaited interview about the origin of the Tentacle Protocol that I longed for and that led me there came. Now I want to share it with you on this blog, as I ride away from the fortress as the voice of Master Ramón still resounds in my head:

Oh Master, what year would you say it was when the Tentacle Protocol was invented?

* Hmm … 2008, if I’m not mistaken, because by now it’s already been a few years… I would say shortly after I finished my degree and started working at Ártica. It still seems to me that it was yesterday, and here we are, more than a decade and a pandemic later…

*Important remark: All of the answers that Ramón gives us, should resonate in your head with the deep voice of a wise hermit, if not, you’re not reading this the right way.

¿Where does that science fiction name come from?

I’m very glad that you asked me that question, little Dim. You see, the Pandora FMS logo at that time was an octopus, so the name seemed like the most appropriate, don’t you think so? It is also a tribute to a popular video game from the 90s. You don’t need me to give you more clues, right? Authentic and pure people, the ones who are really worth it, will know what video game I refer to.

Do you remember who was involved in the project from the beginning?

The idea of the project came from Sancho Lerena, the famous CEO, and I was the developer. Keep in mind that at that time there were only two programmers in Ártica ST. We still had absolutely no idea about the people who would join us in this dream.

From what did the idea of this protocol arise? What is its true origin?

Well, at the very beginning, Pandora FMS agents used SSH or FTP to send data to the server. But users had a lot of trouble configuring these protocols correctly. So we decided to develop a simple protocol that would work without no more additional initial configuration than that of the IP address and the port of Pandora FMS server. Helping and simplifying has always been the purpose of the Tentacle Protocol, and boy did it do well.

What exactly is the Tentacle Protocol?

It is a text protocol (like SMTP or HTTP) to transfer files. The specification is very simple, it is given in our Wiki, the most sacred group of texts that I know, it contains from the Alpha to the Omega of this organization. The Tentacle Protocol is less efficient than a binary protocol, but more readable and easier to debug. Giving it that magic that it has.

What is it for?

Basically send and receive files. The advantage it has, as I mentioned before, is that it is very easy to configure. You don’t even need to specify the destination directory. It also supports slightly more advanced features such as data compression or the use of X.509 certificates.

How important is it for Pandora FMS?

It is essential for transferring XML data files from agents and satellite servers to Pandora FMS server. It is also used to manage remote configuration, file collections, etc. Also, the Tentacle server can work as a proxy.

Is it true that in good hands and used in the right way it could save the world?

If the instructions to save it had to be sent through a TCP/IP stack, I have no doubt.

Let’s fantasize, if you could rename it now, what would you call it?

A) Metal Gear Solid Protocol: Solid Snake you are the boss.
B) Testicle Protocol
C) Tenta-cool protocol
D) Protocol A Feira

E) “Octopus” too, in reference to Doctor Octopus as well.

And that was it for my story of how I managed to find Ramón Novoa at the end of the world and have him explain everything about the genesis of the Tentacle Protocol. I will never forget his hospitality, his erudition, or how the monk’s habit that I wore throughout the training in technological knowledge, there in the tower, was constantly killing my waist.