It’s no secret that Adaptiva OneSite and 1E Nomad™ compete with each other. They are both software distribution solutions for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). They extend SCCM by taking over the delivery of content, and each product adds functionality to SCCM in other ways as well.
If you are thinking of enhancing SCCM with peer-to-peer content delivery technology, then you are probably going to compare both products.
Let Your Investigation Begin
Rather than give you my personal review of Adaptiva OneSite and 1E Nomad™, I invite you to conduct your own research by asking a number of questions about both products. A seminal blog from a respected industry expert, Anoop C. Nair, sparked some lively discussion a while back.
Of course, the engineering has advanced since then, and OneSite has been embraced by very large enterprises. Below, I provide an updated set of factors to consider when comparing technologies.
Questions You Should Ask
I would like to add some new topics to the conversation. I have provided the answers for Adaptiva OneSite. I cannot speak to the capabilities of 1E Nomad™, so you’ll need to do your own legwork.
The fundamental question you should be asking is, Is your software distribution solution enterprise-ready? In order for your solution to securely, reliably manage thousands or hundreds of thousands of endpoints it needs be intelligent, fast, and automated.
OneSite is the only product that eliminates all distribution point servers and stores content without negatively impacting end users
The underlying architecture of a large-scale solution should be elegantly designed to scale easily as a company grows, improve the experience for end users, harden security, and require minimal administration time. A few questions to ask about solutions in the SCCM peer-to-peer space are:
Does the approach to storing content at each office impact end users?
OneSite takes no space from users, by using Zero Footprint Caching to store content in free disk space. Users overwrite it if and when they need it, and aren’t even aware it is there. This allows OneSite to provide a massive Virtual SAN in each operating location capable of caching 100% of your content library, though only explicitly requested and targeted content is ever delivered.
How robust are the security settings?
In the most secure configuration, Adaptiva OneSite uses SHA-512 for secure hashing, Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman for key exchange, and AES-256 for messages and content. By default it uses Active Directory / Windows Authentication between all peers, the console, and the server. Different types of encryption can be selected for different functions if desired, and content can even be encrypted at rest on disk.
Is the Peer-to-peer storage self-managing?
Instead of building a cache management tool, Adaptiva created secure, enterprise peer-to-peer storage so smart it does not need tools because it manages itself. OneSite knows what content exists in every peer worldwide. When content must be purged from a system’s cache, OneSite removes the files stored on the greatest number of systems at that office, ensuring maximum content availability to avoid re-downloading over the WAN. Also, if content is deleted from SCCM, OneSite automatically deletes it from all peer-to-peer caches worldwide.
OneSite is the fastest ConfigMgr content distribution engine because it predicts future network conditions—in milliseconds—to safely speed software delivery with no throttling
Performance is paramount in an enterprise for many reasons, including the pace of revenue-generating business and the ability to keep the organization secure. Some speed considerations in the SCCM world include:
Does the product rely on older, bandwidth-hungry technologies like TCP, HTTP and SMB to deliver content?
OneSite uses a kernel driver to deliver content via UDP, sending data on a packet-by-packet basis, based on predicted WAN conditions. This predictive technology allows millisecond-by-millisecond bandwidth optimization for rapid content transfer and predictive WAN protection. The result is faster delivery of SCCM content with no interruption to other WAN traffic, not even for a millisecond.
Does the solution resort to throttling the bandwidth SCCM is allowed to use to protect the WAN?
With native SCCM, if multiple clients at an office all request different content, SCCM creates a stream for each download. The multiple streams can overload the network; thus, speed-killing “throttling” is used to protect business-critical traffic. OneSite “time slices” the multiple downloads into a single network stream that never spikes or impacts the network—and delivers content at maximum speed with no throttling.
Can you distribute immediately versus waiting for the next polling cycle?
SCCM’s default model is to have clients poll a server every 60 minutes to see if there are any instructions for them, such as “install this security patch.” You could have to wait up to an hour from deploying software to the time a system begins to act on it. OneSite uses a policy push model, so when you deploy a security update (or anything at all) to a client, the client acts immediately. This speeds large-scale responses to security threats, and all other SCCM deployments to endpoints.
OneSite is the only product that delivers workflow customization capabilities and real-time visibility and control over content transfers
In an enterprise environment, it’s not enough to ask whether or not a system can scale. You should also ask how much additional administration effort is required to use it as it scales. Some questions that are important in reducing administrator workload for secure, enterprise peer-to-peer solutions are:
How much work do administrators have to do to push (pre-stage) content?
Choosing a pre-staging target machine at each of hundreds of different operating locations is a nightmare, and OneSite completely eliminates this tedious task. OneSite automatically selects the best suited system at each location to receive content, based on chassis type, free space, uptime and other factors. You can optionally target specific systems if desired, though nobody does. OneSite can even pre-stage software updates, such as security patches, easily and automatically.
Does the solution provide visibility and control of content deliveries in real time?
Adaptiva OneSite LiveFlow™ allows you to watch all deliveries make their way across the WAN in a dashboard, which you can filter by content or by office. You can instantly change the distribution priority of deliveries, even after they have already been sent out and are already being downloaded across the WAN. OneSite gives you 256 priorities for granular control, and it lets you pause or cancel transfers as well. You can also see exactly what content exists in which offices, or even machines, across the globe.
Does the solution allow customization and integration with your ongoing IT processes?
OneSite includes a visual Workflow Designer that lets administrators customize SCCM events and operations with drag-and-drop functionality, without scripting. These workflows can be run on the client, server, or independently. They can be incorporated into deployment scenarios at key points such as after content is downloaded, and can even be used to program OneSite’s peer-to-peer PXE engine for security or other purposes.
Reach a Verdict
Finally, you need to find your own questions to ask. Only you know your environment and your needs. My team will be glad to field and any all queries you pose to Adaptiva. We shoot straight. If OneSite can’t do something you want it to, we’ll tell you that up front.
In the end, whatever solution you choose, I wish you all the success in the world. Happy evaluating!