In this method, any Windows system can act as a File Server as long as you are able to map a network drive to the system. You can create an image of the Software Package SPBs using "wdepot image" command and transfer the image files (*.toc and *.dat) to the file server share directory using any standard file copy operations including software distribution data movement operations.
On each endpoint that receives the file server distribution, create a file (if it doesn't exist already) named remote.dir on the LCF_DATDIR directory that lists the file server shares. You can designate multiple fileserver shares by listing one share per line and each will be tried until the image is found. One important thing is each endpoint must have TRAA account enabled.
Distribution method is same except that you have to check the "From Fileserver" check box in GUI or set from_fileserver=y option in winstsp command. Activity Planner also has an XML tag to enable this feature. When distributed this way, ITCM transfers only the informataion about the package being distributed to the endpoint and NOT the actual content of the SPB. The endpoint consults the remote.dir file for shares and uses TRAA account to access the remote shares and install the package. The final status is relayed back using the usual MDist2 communication path.
By default, the "wdepot image" command creates two files named nnnnnnnn.toc and nnnnnnn.dat, where nnnnnnnn is the serial number. If you have large number of packages, it is difficult to keep track of this number and its associated packages and it is wise to setup a lookup table preferably using an automation script.
Keeping track of which fileserver has which package is a complex process as well and scripts could be developed to maintain this information. Also, you could use software distribution/activity planner to deploy the packages to remote fileservers.
Would Check Point Restarts work?
No. Please understand that when you do FileServer distribution, the packages are transferred from file share using Windows SMB protocol and MDist2 is no way involved in the transfer. So, check point restarts will NOT work.
Will I see a progress of data transfer?
For normal distributions, you will see a progress of data transfer using wmdist command. But, again this is a MDist2 feature and you will NOT see the progress of data transfer in wmdist -I command while using file server distribution.
Can I change the contents of remote.dir dynamically?
Yes. It is just a text file that will be consulted during fileserver distribution.
What are the package formats supported?
Can I distribute to non-Windows endpoints?
No. Again this features relies on TRAA and SMB protocols.
Can I host the fileserver on a Unix box running Samba?
Good question. Worth testing :)
Hope you find it useful.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
FileServer software distribution in ITCM 4.2.x