Insights

Interview: How to Eliminate 770 SCCM Servers and Simplify OSD

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At this year’s Microsoft Ignite, we spoke to an SCCM engineer in depth about how OneSite radically enhances SCCM architecture by eliminating the need for server infrastructure, making his life a whole lot easier. We also discuss how OneSite operating system deployment (OSD) saves him an enormous amount of administrative effort. This is the second segment of our SCCM Engineers Talk About OneSite” series.

Tell us about yourself!

I work for a large consulting company. I’m a pre-sales architect around System Center, specifically Configuration Manager.

What kinds of challenges inspired customers to use Adaptiva OneSite?

We have one customer who had 770 distribution points in a polled configuration, which made the management of that infrastructure a nightmare. Also caused a lot of content issues whenever they would make a change to a task sequence package—to get that content all synchronized out to the 770 different locations was a complete nightmare. So they would have issues with task sequences waiting for that content—that dependency content—to come down before they were even able to resume imaging.

So with OneSite, you were able to eliminate 770 distribution points?

Yeah, we were able to eliminate 770 servers, but also, with that was we didn’t have to worry about content getting down efficiently to those different sites. It just happened automatically. There was nothing that we had to do to even have to configure that type of stuff from happening down there.

Prior to deploying OneSite what was it like maintaining the infrastructure?

It was horrible. Right, so, any time that you have a DP [distribution point] have a red status or something like that, you would actually have to go and troubleshoot that. Then you’d have content issues, so you’d have content mismatch. So you’d have to try to figure out what was going on, you’d have to re-push content. There’s just all sorts of management issues with that. Even the server, maintaining that specific server was another thing that we had to deal with. So, to use OneSite to just kind of set it and forget it on that content was just a huge administration efficiency play.

How does OneSite handle SCCM WAN traffic?

Yeah, so I also did some work for a construction company that had many different job sites across the country, and one of the issues with Configuration Manager without OneSite is the configuration of bandwidth throttling with BITS, especially if there’s not content or no distribution point at these remote sites. You’d really have to do a lot with the throttling. And even getting content down to, let’s say, 20 or 30 agents, even without a distribution point, you have to really manage that content. And a lot of times, you err on the side of less bandwidth, right? You don’t want to overdo it. But with OneSite, what we’re able to do is—I don’t have to mess with any of that stuff. So I just go in—again, it can do the WAN optimization automatically for me. I don’t have to manage that, and you’re getting content down there faster than you would if you’re trying to actually make those modifications yourself with, “Okay, I only want to use 100K per second,” and that spreads across all the clients. With OneSite, it’ll use 100, it’ll use 10, it’ll use 500. Whatever the bandwidth it has remaining, it’ll take that up.

Do you have any problems with WAN congestion using OneSite?

No, so, I’ve distributed even on a small DSL line, or a bonded T1 line, a 4.7 gig AutoCAD install file. And the users at the site never once felt the impact of trying to push that content down to that remote site.

Do you have to schedule or throttle with OneSite?

No, you don’t even have to mess with any of that stuff. It literally takes, whatever you have remaining, it literally takes that up so you can get that content down very quickly. As quick as possible, right? We needed to get that AutoCAD stuff pushed out, so we put it during the day. I don’t have to schedule for 5:00 at night. Windows updates, same thing. I’m pushing out updates, the content of those updates, at any point during the day. I don’t even have to think about it. I just do it.

Does Zero Footprint Caching affect end users at all?

So, users never see any impact of OneSite in general. Right, so, they don’t see less disk space, they don’t really see their hard drive working, you know, slowing them down in terms of performance. They really have no clue that their machine is being used as a file share.

Was it hard to set up the OneSite Virtual SAN?

Did I even have to do that? [laughs] I didn’t even know if I really set it up! So there’s nothing, there’s no real administration that I had to do to get that set up properly.

Did you have to do anything to maintain it?

Nope, OneSite does all the maintenance for me.

What did you have to do to set up P2P PXE?

I think it was like two clicks, maybe?

Did you have to do any network configuration to enable P2P PXE?

No, that’s the best thing about OneSite is you don’t have to do any of that network configuration. It’s all software-based. I don’t even have to get the networking people involved. I don’t have to get the people who administer DHCP involved. I just install the client and configure OneSite to do it.

How much work is involved in pre-staging content with OneSite?

Again, there’s not much. I’m dragging and dropping packages over. I specify how many machines I want at any particular site to have that pre-staged content, and I think I’m dragging over a collection or two to do that.

What’s P2P PXE’s performance like?

They go fast because everything’s local, right? So we’re pre-staging all the task sequence content down to—I think in our settings, we were doing about five, pre-staging to five machines at remote sites. So the content is as fast as your local network, getting down to the machines. So, we had no issues with that.

How does content push for task sequences work?

I mean, there’s really nothing I have to do, again. I just specify collections. I specify the task sequence that I want pre-staged, and it includes all my dependencies out of that task sequence to pre-stage. So there’s no issues with, “A dependency package was not found,” or, “A dependency application was not found.” It’s always taken care of through OneSite.

How hard is it to keep OSD content updated and synced worldwide?

I don’t have to do anything [laughs]. I don’t have to do anything to update and sync. OneSite pretty much takes care of all of it for me.

What is your experience with Adaptiva Support?

Yeah, so, support’s great. I called support, they took over the machine, we looked at the logs together. Just an overall good experience.

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