Deployment Considerations for Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution
Published 10 July 2006
Authors: Vasfi Gucer
Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express 4.1 Software Distribution Express provides entry-level hardware management, software inventory management, and software package and OS patch capability on Windows-based machines. This Technote discusses some important factors to consider when designing and deploying a Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution infrastructure.
You must consider several factors when designing and deploying a Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution infrastructure. These factors include:
- Number of packages that you manage
- Average package size
- Number of clients
- Number of distributions
- Frequency of inventory scans
- Hardware configurations
- Network topology
- Network bandwidth
As with any software-distribution solution, pay careful attention to the network topology. Place the Software Distribution server or servers as close to the clients as possible. Connect the servers to the fastest backbone available, preferably 100 Mbps Ethernet or 1 Gbps Ethernet.
It is important for administrators to prepare for setting up the Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution environment by collecting the following information about their network topology and general environment setup:
- Are target machines behind firewalls?
- Does this require a proxy server?
- Will target machines access the server from low-bandwidth network connections?
- Will the environment use directory sharing?
- Are there existing fileshare servers that can be reused?
- Are the user IDs on the target machines created as Restricted Users?
- Is Active Directory or LDAP being used for user authentication?
- How will the packages be grouped or categorized?
- How will the agent be rolled out?
Knowing the information about the topology of your machine infrastructure will be important to determine what software distribution features and methods should be utilized for the most effective implementation. All functional and nonfunctional requirements should be documented prior to the implementation planning phase.
Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution can be integrated with Active Directory for user authentication and group membership replication. This can greatly simplify the grouping of packages and distributions based on organizational unit. This integration also eliminates a key customer pain point: the requirement of users to remember another ID and password. Figure 1 shows an overview of this type of implementation.
Figure 1: Sample Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express with Active Directory Integration
The following sections describe typical architectures for sample small, medium, and large network environments.
Small and medium environments
The typical architecture for small and medium environments that can handle up to 5000 clients, depending on size and frequency of distributions, consists of a single server dedicated to Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution. The server pushes out software packages to clients that have the Software Distribution client agent installed or allows clients to pull packages and install them through the Software Distribution Catalog.
Figure 2 shows a typical architecture for a small environment.
Figure 2: Sample Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution architecture for small environment
If network bandwidth over a wide area network (WAN) is an issue, Software Distribution provides the ability to store the software packages on remote files shares that are geographically close to the clients. Figure 3 shows a sample architecture overview diagram using this type of infrastructure.
Note: The remote file shares reference in Figure 3 could be pre-existing file servers or consist of an infrastructure that is already in place.
Figure 3: Sample Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution architecture using remote file shares
For larger environments, you can use multiple installations of Software Distribution servers. You can configure segmented groups of users to use the server that is physically closest. Software Distribution provides export and import features to simplify the replication of the metadata associated with software packages and bundles from one server to another.
Another option is to use multiple Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution servers and a load balancing solution as shown in Figure 4. For large enterprise environments, we recommend either IBM WebSphere Edge Server V2 or WebSphere Application Server V5 Edge Components (which both include IBM Network Dispatcher) to provide load balancing among several Web servers.
Figure 4: Sample Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express for Software Distribution architecture with load balancing
If the architecture shown in Figure 4 is used, customization is required on the server side so that only one instance of the Software Distribution database exists. In addition, another database other than the default Cloudscape database that ships with the product, must be used. The Cloudscape database that is installed by default allows only one connection at a time. IBM DB2 Universal Database is recommended for large implementations.
This material has not been submitted to any formal IBM test and is published AS IS. It has not been the subject of rigorous review. IBM assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. The use of this information or the implementation of any of these techniques is a client responsibility and depends upon the client's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the client's operational environment.
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