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Adaptiva's Push Technology Aims to Ease SCCM 2012 Upgrades

Adaptiva has updated its flagship infrastructure product to facilitate Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 client migrations to SCCM 2012.

The update to Adaptiva OneSite includes a new Content Push policy, which the company rolled out earlier this month. Content Push delivers bits such as system updates, security patches and even whole operating system images. However, it also makes it easier to migrate clients from SCCM 2007 to SCCM 2012 or SCCM 2012 R2. It's designed to make life easier for large organizations with lots of sites to upgrade.

SCCM 2007 will lose mainstream support on July 8 of this year. Losing mainstream support means that organizations will no longer have access to no-charge incident support from Microsoft. No design changes can be made, nor will Microsoft accept new product feature requests. The product falls out of warranty. In addition, getting nonsecurity hotfixes requires purchasing an extended hotfix agreement with Microsoft. Organizations still have five more years of "extended support, though. Microsoft defines all of those details in its product lifecycle FAQ here.

Adaptiva's Content Push with OneSite product enables side-by-side upgrades to SCCM 2012 on the client side. IT pros still face making upgrades on the server side, which can be a "manual" process. Content Push is designed so that it does not clog the bandwidth of wide area networks (WANs) when performing multiple client machine upgrades to SCCM 2012.

"The SCCM 2012 client is about 180 megabytes," said Deepak Kumar, Adaptiva's founder and CTO, in a phone interview. "If you have hundreds of thousands of machines, that is a huge amount of data to be sending out. So, using OneSite and our peer-to-peer capabilities, each 180 megabytes of data would go only once at each location."

Kumar added that "OneSite can be used to upgrade hundreds of thousands of clients, which is really a challenge."

Adaptiva's technology can also help with patch management, which may require delivering hundreds of megabytes of data across large WANs on "patch Tuesdays" each month. It can also be used to support operating system upgrades, such as moving off Windows XP. Kumar said that pushing out new operating system images can be a huge operation, amounting to pushing out "20 gigabytes or more."

Content Push also allows IT organizations to prestage content, such as packages and patches that may be awaiting change-management approvals.

"With Content Push, administrators can now proactively…prestage that content in advance of the actual need arising -- let's say the weekend before," Kumar explained. "The content is already there…ready to be deployed."

Adaptiva's OneSite solution is based on four technology pillars, Kumar said. One of them is called "predictive bandwidth harvesting," in which data only get sent when there's little probability of facing congestion on the WAN. The second pillar is Adaptiva's Virtual SAN technology, which can orchestrate the available cache space. A third pillar is Adaptiva's data-sharing technology, which can move content across a local area network by leveraging local device RAM. The fourth pillar is Adaptiva's "Peer-to-Peer Preboot Execution Environment" (PXE) technology. PXE is the protocol for updating system deployments, but Adaptiva adds peer-to-peer support to speed up deployments.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Adaptiva is a Microsoft partner that gets enlisted to support large System Center deployments. Kumar, in addition to founding Adaptiva, has particular insight into System Center.

"I was one of the designers of SCCM at Microsoft," Kumar said. "And then, after shipping that, I quit and started Adaptiva. We specialize in making add-ons to SCCM. We are close partners of Microsoft and members of the System Center Alliance [program]."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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