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In this paper we present results from an experimental study addressing the use of mobile agents in the retrieval of management information. We compare several agent-based models for distributed collection and processing of management data, focusing on performance but also considering network traffic and setup costs. This study reveals that in many situations the performance of mobile agent systems is mainly determined by distribution, rather than locality. Furthermore, it shows that despite its importance in the flexibility and adaptability of the management system, agent mobility does not increase the system performance.