There are several questions and scenarios involved in managing Task Server communications, including:
This article will answer these questions in two ways: First, it will give a short answer to each question listed above and second, it will give some best practices for managing Task Server communications.
Answers to common questions (above)
NOTE: It is important to remember the information in #3 above. Symantec does not support removing Task functionality from your environment--especially from the NS. Doing this will always cause problems. This has been well documented, so please ignore any advice to the contrary.
The key to managing Task Server communications is to reduce as much traffic to the NS as possible using Task. Listed below are a few good ways to do that, as well as some general tips for managing the Task environment.
Symantec recommends that you create a site for the NS that contains only the Class C subnet of the NS. According to site rules, in this scenario the NS is limited to supporting no more than 254 clients (the max for a class C range). Additionally, since the NS is generally on a server backplane, it is often the case that either the servers are not managed or there are simply very few systems on that particular subnet.
Symantec recommends that you carefully create sites for each of your Task Servers. Remember that a Task Server can support 5000 clients if it is scaled appropriately, and that those requirements for scaling are very modest (ex. not using XP, but not requiring multi-core systems either).
There are three possible scenarios for managing Task Server communications:
Obviously, as with Package Servers, you can assign multiple Task Servers to each site. This is not represented in the figures below and is not managed like Package Servers with Constrained or unconstrained servers. For load balancing in these scenarios, the setting under Task Agent Settings for "When multple task servers are available at a site" is important.
Symantec also recommends that you run a task to re-assign task clients on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly--depending on how mobile your environment is or how much provisioning you're doing. Task clients do not automatically re-assign themselves to the closest or lowest-load task server. A slight modification to this was made in SMP 7.1 where now they will re-check every 24 hours, but this method is not very reliable. They may also reassign themselves after a delayed time of not being able to connect to their assigned task server.. A simple task to "Reset Task Agent" sent to all clients can keep load balancing fresh, and mobile users assigned appropriately.
Both the 24 hour re-check and running this task is important to remember when adding new Task Servers, for otherwise, they will not automatically pick up new clients. Additionally, since the NS is the "fail over" for task agents, so doing this can "pull" clients off the NS.