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Package Server selection - assignment on ITMS 8.5

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Article ID: 175121

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Updated On:

Products

IT Management Suite

Issue/Introduction

A customer had a question in regards how we select the “best” / “closest” package server in a Site.  

The administrator had the following use case:

  1. He has one Site for Americas with multiple Package Servers
  2. Usually 1 or 2 package servers will fall in specific subnets in that Site
  3. However, what the customer sees is that in the agent logs, while trying to download a package, rather than going to the package server that resides on that subnet, it goes to another one (causing bandwidth concerns on traveling across the country). His impression is that it should stay local rather than going around.

Based on what we were told in the past, the agent logs shows what we are expecting as far as choosing randomly a package server (in this example the “closest” (the one that resides in the same subnet) package server is: SMPSS801 but the one selected is UEGSMPSS801):

Entry 1:
GetPackageLocalSources: Locally installed Package Server not found
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 2:
GetBestServer: Candidate 0-0:
'https://SS-TS1.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7Bf6757252-8a55-
4aaa-aee0-9cde11724228%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache',
error rate: 0.000000, remote, connections total 0, connections failed 0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 3:
GetBestServer: Candidate 9-26:
'https://SMPSS801.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7B25af1c56-2b68-4858-
8d9c-0601a6aee2b6%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache',
error rate: 0.000000, remote, connections total 0, connections failed 0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 4:
SelectServer: trying source list 0:
https://SS-TS2.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7Bf6757252-8a55-
4aaa-aee0-9cde11724228%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache
https://SS-TS1.domain.com/Altiris/PS/getpackagesnapshot.asp 104857600
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 4:
GetBestServer: Selected server [0]
https://SS-TS3.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7Bf6757252-8a55-
4aaa-aee0-9cde11724228%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache.
This has been chosen randomly from the available servers with the fewest recent errors.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 6:
SelectServer: selected package url:
https://SS-TS4.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7Bf6757252-8a55-
4aaa-aee0-9cde11724228%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entry 7:
Download package '{0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0}' from'
https://SS-TS5.domain.com/Altiris/PS/Share/pkggroup_%7Bf6757252-8a55-
4aaa-aee0-9cde11724228%7D/%7B0CBFBD76-10E3-4ED8-9A17-544829F82FB0%7D/cache',
local blocks: 0/23, server blocks: 0/0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The question that remained with the SMP administrator was:
What we do in ITMS 8.5 to define the “GetBestServer”?
-and-
What this “This has been chosen randomly from the available servers with the fewest recent errors” means while selecting “GetBestServer”?

Environment

ITMS 8.5

Cause

Customer Education

 

Resolution

There is a misconception that we think the "faster server is always selected" for download. The agent is in charge of selecting from available codebases from the list of available package servers. If some agent need to be restricted in selection, then this should be done on Management console (manual assignment). Also, remember that “Since in 8.5 we don't do speed tests anymore, the speed will be measured while the download in real time, thus the selection of the server for download will be even more wide.”


The "error count" is the couple of connection statistics which you can see in "candidates" traces: "connections total 0, connections failed 0". In this example above, they both has the zero - means both in the list of "fewer recent errors".
Since currently we didn't have any information regarding the sites on the client side, the PS was selected randomly from that list.
The Agent only is choosing the codebase from the list it receives as an answer to GetPackageInfo.aspx request.

 

Note:

The selection by speed is there, it is just the speed is measured not by ConnectionTest.aspx calls but during the real file transfer from Package Servers.
As well, Symantec Management Agent does not have any geo selection of servers, the server with “better” numbers will win, it could be any server in the site to which the client resides.
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So, at this point it is working as expected and the current way to force a package server to serve specific subnets is to manually assign them.
Otherwise we go over the list of available package servers and pick randomly from what are the best ones based on connection statistics done in real-time.