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#1 2011-02-26 07:07:13

olePigeon
Member
Registered: 2009-11-10

Imaging over peer to peer

Seems too obvious to not have been discussed before, but has anyone talked about imaging via Peer to Peer instead of over Multicast?  This would only really benefit large batches of computers, obviously, but it also wouldn't require any special configuration for existing networks.

I work at a school and every summer I have to relocate all the computers on campus (350+) to set up an isolated LAN for imaging.  I'm at the mercy of our network admin who doesn't want to change anything for multicast.

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#2 2011-03-03 20:27:06

richarro
Member
From: Texas
Registered: 2010-02-18

Re: Imaging over peer to peer

Could you expand on your Peer to Peer concept? I have to re-image 2500+ lab computers between every semester and multicasting is never an option. I don't blame the network admins as multicasting does create a ton of network traffic if you don't configure it correctly.

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#3 2011-03-04 19:40:28

olePigeon
Member
Registered: 2009-11-10

Re: Imaging over peer to peer

It isn't an implemented feature, I was just wondering what other people thought.  I'm not a developer, either.

Essentially it would use a peer-to-peer protocol such as bittorrent  The server would seed the host image, then divvy out chunks to each of your client machines.  As the various clients receive their chunks, they in turn become "servers" and seed whatever it is they've downloaded to the other clients.  The more machines you have seeding, the more sources computers have to download the image.

I'm not a network person at all, nor do I understand the protocols very well.  It could be that this would potentially generate just as much traffic as a misconfigured router.

It also just occurred to me as I'm writing this that there may be very little benefit in doing it outside of relieving dependency on a single server.  Again, I don't know enough about how switches work if this would off any benefit.  My first thought is that all the traffic would be shared over all the network ports instead of being funneled through whatever single port that the server is on.


OT:  I only image 350+ computers, not nearly as many as you.  I bought a managed gigabit switch and just set up in the library during the summer.  I do batches of 15 laptops at a time over gigabit.  I could never really get multicast set up that it didn't error out and costing me more time than just normal broadcast.

Last edited by olePigeon (2011-03-04 19:42:46)

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#4 2011-03-11 15:17:24

cygnus2112
Member
From: Montreal
Registered: 2010-12-08
Website

Re: Imaging over peer to peer

It's an interesting idea.. but in the context of imaging and a diskless boot, you'd need to have a few seeders with a separate disk or partition to be able to store the whole image and serve it up to the others. And then, where are the others going to store that image while they're collecting all the pieces? (Even with 8GB of RAM becoming standard... it's far from enough)

ASR over mounted volumes works nicely because it's compressed images expanded directly to disk. If you used something like bittorrent to share the data, you could not begin to restore it on a client until the image was %100 complete on that client. You'd have to have nodes that effectively become a temporary self-provisioning DS replica.

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#5 2011-03-11 22:54:38

Meat
Member
From: SF CA US
Registered: 2009-02-04

Re: Imaging over peer to peer

Is multicast possible while connected to the same switch?

If so, get a Mac mini server and set it up. Snow leopard server seems okay with only getting a DHCP address (though I haven't specifically checked my own to see if the IP address has ever changed). I acquired a Mac mini server to act as a roving imaging server, and, while it hasn't really done any roving yet, it has been working fine with a DHCP address since I set it up a couple months ago.

Plug it into an ethernet port on site and multicast to all the machines on that switch, or bring your own switch and a boatload of really long cables.

It should work pretty well but you will havew to create a new netboot image that uses Bonjour discovery to reach the server.

Last edited by Meat (2011-03-11 22:58:37)

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#6 2015-07-01 22:50:39

Warhaven
Member
Registered: 2014-05-21

Re: Imaging over peer to peer

> cygnus2112 wrote:

> It's an interesting idea.. but in the context of imaging and a diskless boot, you'd need to have a few seeders with a separate disk or partition to be able to store the whole image and serve it up to the others. And then, where are the others going to store that image while they're collecting all the pieces? (Even with 8GB of RAM becoming standard... it's far from enough)

> ASR over mounted volumes works nicely because it's compressed images expanded directly to disk. If you used something like bittorrent to share the data, you could not begin to restore it on a client until the image was %100 complete on that client. You'd have to have nodes that effectively become a temporary self-provisioning DS replica.

Forgive my ignorance, but couldn't you compressed the chunks of data on the fly as they're requested so you don't have to save a duplicate, like a web sever or FTP?  Granted, your "bittorrent" disk image would be an uncompressed 200GB image instead of 30GB, but storage is so cheap these days it's sort of like... meh.  Size, shmize.  Then you'd turn the contents of the disk image into a torrent, and have the clients write the torrent straight to their respective disks while serving up the same (compress it as you send it) to any of the other clients on the network that want bits from other clients.  Just like, well, bittorrent.  Except with compression.  Might as well use those CPUs.

I don't know what kind of speed hit you'd take by compressing & uncompressing vs the one-time uncompressing of ASR, but it might be worth a look.  If possible.  Again, I'm not intimately knowledgeable of such things.

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