Preferred servers and content replication overview
Preferred servers are a way Management Suite reduces distribution network traffic across subnets. Once configured correctly, preferred servers are included in the order distribution targets will look for distribution files:
- The target's local distribution cache.
- Local peers on the same subnet as the target with source files in their distribution cache.
- If configured, the closest preferred server.
- The distribution source originally specified in the distribution package.
Content replication provides a management structure for establishing, synchronizing and updating the files on preferred servers with those on a source server. You don't have to use content replication with your preferred servers, but using content replication allows administrators to easily ensure that files on the preferred servers throughout their environment are kept up to date on predefined schedules.
Content replication requires you to configure these elements:
- Preferred server: This is the server that distribution targets will try to download source files from. Software distribution can access files on preferred servers that were not replicated, though Content replication provides the best solution for keeping these files up to date.
- Source: This is the server that has files that need to be replicated to preferred servers. Administrators will set up file structures and files on the source, then use content replication to copy these hierarchies to preferred servers.
- Replicator: This is a managed Windows device that copies files from a source to a preferred server. This managed device should have a significant amount of disk space so it can keep data from all sources cached locally. If a managed device used for replication doesn't have enough disk space, the replicator may have to download some files from the source each time it does a replication job.
Replicators can only replicate content from a source server to a preferred server. The replicated data doesn't have to consist solely of software distribution data, as long as you don't mind that data residing on a preferred server. For example, you can also replicate documents and spreadsheets to preferred servers located in remote branch offices.
You can have as many preferred servers, sources, and replicators as you want.
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