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Package Replication Solution - Heirarchy for NS 6.0

Created: 05 Jul 2007 • Updated: 20 Jul 2007 | 3 comments
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Package Replication Solution allows you to replicate Collections, Packages, Policies, Reports, and Tasks from one master Notification Server to many slave Notification Servers. Read on for the complete product details.

Package Replication Solution was developed in 2005, to provide a "stop gap" hierarchy feature set for Notification Server 6.0 until Notification Server 7.0 is released.

The current version of Package Replication Solution is 6.0.1035, and can be obtained from our Knowledge Base, but we prefer to know who is using it so please go through Support. This is because Package Replication Solution is not a fully regression tested product, so it has not been made publicly available via the NS's Solution Center nor our Product Downloads page.

Package Replication Solution turns an Notification Server into one of three possible Roles:

  1. Parent - The master Notification Server where all replicated objects will be created. Export only.
  2. Parent/Child - Replicated items are first imported and then exported. Only required for three or more tiers.
  3. Child - This is usually the Notification Server that manages resources. Import only.

In order to use Package Replication Solution, you simply have to:

  1. Install it onto your Notification Servers.
  2. Decide which Roles each Notification Server will be.
  3. The NSAgent on the Parent/Child will need to be redirected to the Parent Notification Server. The NSAgent on the Child will need to be redirected to the Parent/Child Notification Server.
  4. Make sure to delete these resources from the Child and Parent/Child after redirection.
  5. Deploy the PSAgent to the redirected resources from their new Notification Servers, as this is how the physical package files as well as the exported XML files are replicated.
  6. On the Parent, create a series of folders within the Altiris Console that will contain objects for replication. These folders should be placed within the relevant location that you wish to have item actions run on (example: create a folder under the "Software Delivery Tasks" folder if you wish to have the Software Delivery Wizards accessible).
  7. Modify the PackageReplication.config file so that the appropriate Role and other details are set. Please remember not to use the reportingNS and reportingNSWeb parameters, as they are no longer valid due to certain problems that they cause which have been identified. Also add the GUID's of the folders you have created which will be replicated.
  8. Run an AeXConfig.exe /Configure PackageReplication.config action, so that Package Replication Solution is configured and functional.

The replication process relies on three scheduled tasks, one that it creates itself on each Notification Server, "NS.Package Replication Schedule.{23c88ea1-38cc-4ba5-a23e-5fab50a9d912}". It defaults at 0200 hrs, so in order for replication to work correctly, this will have to be modified via the PackageReplication.config file so that each lower tier will run replication after the tier above has run it. Please also change the "NS.Package Refresh.{bd6bf880-bfae-4dad-b746-e8be99f3b8a8}" scheduled task to run at least 30 minutes after the "NS.Package Replication Schedule.{23c88ea1-38cc-4ba5-a23e-5fab50a9d912}" scheduled task. The third scheduled task is "NS.Package Distribution Point Update Schedule.{29a2b641-222a-43b0-830c-a25c59e93fe4}" which defaults at every ten minutes. This can normally be left to run at this interval.

Once Package Replication Solution has been installed and configured, it is recommended to run it once with just its assigned folders, so that they are created throughout the hierarchy. Once this has happened, you can start placing items into these folders on the Parent, so that they will be replicated the next time the schedule fires, or when it is run manually.

Package Replication Solution owns its replicated environment, meaning that if you create an item within a replicated folder on the Child, the next time replication runs, that item will be deleted as it is not a replicated item from the Parent. 6.0.1035 provides a new feature concerning the replicated environment, in that if Package Replication Solution has been configured not to enable policies/tasks upon import, and that you enable a replicated policy/task on the Child, the next time replication runs that policy/task will remain enabled. Earlier versions would disable it during the replication process.

When the "NS.Package Replication Schedule.{23c88ea1-38cc-4ba5-a23e-5fab50a9d912}" scheduled task runs, the assigned replicated folders and their contents are exported from the Parent in XML format, and placed within a packages.zip file (".\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap\Package Replication\"). This ZIP file is then replicated down to the Child via the normal Package Server process. When the "NS.Package Replication Schedule.{23c88ea1-38cc-4ba5-a23e-5fab50a9d912}" scheduled task fires on the Child, the ZIP file is extracted and the XML files are imported (".\Altiris\Altiris Agent\Package Delivery\{625FED47-BA51-4F5B-A0BF-BC61E18ED293}\cache\"). If you are running a three tier or more hierarchy, then the Parent/Child will first import the items, and will then export them into a new ZIP file in order for that to be replicated via the Package Server process. The Parent/Child will have both packages.zip file locations present

When a package object is replicated, the package location that was set on the Parent is changed to the UNC location within the Package Server environment on the Parent/Child and Child (\\"NSName"\PkgSvrHost"DriveLetter"$\{"Guid"}\cache\).

Package Replication Solution comes with its own report that will tell you which package have been replicated, when run on either a Parent/Child or Child Notification Server. The following Knowledge Base Article contains a report that has been created that will tell you all items that have been replicated as well as their location within the Altiris Console when run on either a Parent/Child or Child Notification Server. http://kb.altiris.com/article.asp?article=26247&p=3

If you also use Task Server in your environment, then you will need to deploy at least one remote Task Server in order for Task Management to function correctly, as the NSAgent on the lower Notification Servers is required to be redirected in order for Package Replication Solution to work.

If you wish to replicate Sequential Software Delivery Tasks, then please make sure that you are running at least Software Delivery Solution 6.1 SP2, as otherwise the Sequential Software Delivery Tasks will not work after they have been imported.

If you create a new Program for a Package, and you wish to replicate the Task that is using that new Program, then you also have to replicate the Package as well, otherwise the Program will not be present lower down the hierarchy.

Due to the dynamic nature of Patch Management Solution, it IS NOT recommended to replicate any of its items, as it likes to have "sole ownership" of them.

If you would like to see a demonstration of this product, I am more than happy to do so, but please go through the regular Altiris, Now part of Symantec service channels in order to request this.

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neustadtwireless's picture

Hi,

I am using Altiris Console Version No:6.0.6074 (SP 3), replicated sequential tasks doesnt work for me ... I wondered if there were any possibility/patch that can be apply in order to fix this for not having to upgrade the whole infrastructure in all the servers?

I would appreciate any solutions, Thanks in advance,

Jonathan D.

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Kevin's picture

Hi Jonathan,

This sounds like an issue that might be better handled by our friends over at the free support forums.

You can post your question at http://forums.altiris.com

Thanks!
Kevin

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SK's picture

There is a known issue with the NS's export/import mechanism and Seq Tasks, however, this was addressed in SWD 6.1 SP2.

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

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