12 Replies Latest reply on May 20, 2008 12:34 PM by danpixley

    Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products



      I'm currently testing LanDesk in our environment to see if it is time to switch our current management system.  When testing Multicast which is a major thing that currently works really well with what we have, we have found LanDesk seems to be considerably slower at it.  Images that would normally multicast out at 30-40 mins are taking 4-5 hours with LanDesk.  Is there something I'm not doing right?  I have found others that have mentioned this as an issue, and even when setting up the image - it ask if we want to use Ghost.  Is that an inference that LanDesk is not the right solution for mass multicast of imaging?  It would just seem that for the cost we are asked to pay, that something - I would assume most consider a standard such as multicasting in desktop management - to be much more efficient than LanDesk now appears.  This especially when I see that LanDesk is rated number one as a desktop solution....









        • 1. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
          zman Master



          So that we can better compare the two multicasting methods, what other multicast method are you currently using?



          Also what are your multicast settings?



          I'm assuming you are testing version 8.8?



          "and even when setting up the image - it ask if we want to use Ghost".  Can you be more specific - when I setup an image on 8.7 it has LANDesk listed first.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products


            We use Zenworks and Ghost 7 both will multicast an image 7-8GB in 45 minutes or less.  Currently we use one solution when provisioning our faculty and staff and the other when doing labs and classrooms. We'd like to centralize down to one management solution.  When doing this with LanDesk it took 4-5 hours.  I'm just using default settings for multicast - nothing special.



            I took an image - using Capture an Image OS task



            Setup a multicast domain rep



            Setup an OS deployment for Deploying an image - checking to multicast and leaving all other options alone.



            Scheduled the Deploy an image task



            This then proceeded to copy to the multicast rep and the destination machine - the process took over 4 hours to complete.



            I'm testing with 8.8.



            It does come up with LanDesk by default and you select Symantec for Ghost.  I'm sure this is a feature for flexibility sake, but the more I'm looking into LanDesk it seems there is a definite reason why it is there for more than that.  I'm worried that I will need to go back and say if we get LanDesk, we will still need to renew Ghost.  I've already had to tell them we need a separate license for Admin Studio as there is no way to package MSI with LanDesk. 



            Is it also the case that LanDesk requires more space than really needed in order to multicast?  I've read somewhere, I think on these forums that if you have a 40G drive from your source image, you need 80G on the new system for the image to transfer regardless of actual image size.



            So far I've been happy with the multicasting of applications and how that works - even capturing and deploying images to one machine is fine.  However, when we go to multicast a 26 station computer lab - 5 hours will not cut is for us.









            • 3. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
              zman Master


              Not really my forte, but I will take a shot and have Paul and others bail me out. My belief in LANDesk OSD being agnostic is for flexibility sake, not to cover any weakness. This provides shops that already have a solution to continue to use it rather than dump something they already know.  I personally see this as a strength.  In our shop we used to use Ghost and dropped it for LANDesk ImageW and realized a significant cost savings. 



              There are significant differences between the way Ghost and LANDesk multicast works.  I think (been a long while) but ghost streams the image down to the workstation. Sort of like imaging on the fly. This is good and bad. If the connection gets blown, you are somewhat screwed.  Hope I'm right in this one - LANDesk copies the image to the MDR, then it Multicasts it out to the clients. However, the files are copied to a partition on the end of the drive.  So if the process is hampered by network issues the machine is not crapped up.  I think I recall you said you have 25 machines. You may want to go with unicast depending on your pipes.



              Seems weird it took that long though.  You may want to play with the Min/ Maximum number of milliseconds between packet. The drive size question is true if you multicast see above about copying to partition.  It does offer a lot of flexibility.






              So to finish up. Ghost and LANDesk OSD multicasting operate differently.  You need to find which one works best for you, however please give LANDesk some time - experiment.  Try unicasting.  Can't help with the MSI stuff, there are no baked in tools for this, however, there are many freeware/open source msi tools.






              So some things  that MAY be on the books for the future (my opinion only). The imagew tool is really from Terabyte Unlimited.  There is a new version 2.X, but it is being settled down a bit. It has some really great features - differential backups, encryption, speed improvements, etc.... We will have to wait a see if this makes it into the new version.



              Hope this helps and some of the admins may chime in on this. 









              • 4. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                phoffmann SupportEmployee

                No reason to ball you here Zman :).


                I'll not comment on Ghost's way of doing multicasting, since it could be viewed as being derogatory of competition - instead I'll just explain how the LANDesk OSD multicast works and why.


                Remember that LANDesk's multicast comes from the "normal" world of software distribution. For Multicast there, the priority has NOT been so much "speed" but more "reliability" - i.e. get the package to as many clients as possible. Windows multicast send a window of packet-frames out and then waits for clients to get back with a "yep - got 'em" - and continues once all clients respond with the next window of packet-frames.


                The DOS-multicast works somewhat different (I won't go into too much detail here, since it'd take too long) - but again, the priority here is that the file GET to the client (as much as we can make sure).


                One of the problems with multicasting is that you find out very quickly that different NICs behave very differently ... a single brand X / type Y NIC can slow down an entire multicast because it just responds really slow, or because it's a weak 10 mbit / half duplex NIC inside a 386, dragging everyone else down.


                LANDesk's multicast thus is primarily intended to work on reliability and to prevent harm. If an image should only make it down partially to a client - the job aborts and we don't image the image. We figured it's better to start a new job (from a potentially better network segment - i.e stronger switch / with a better NIC, and so on) rather than imaging "what we have" and leave you with a half-finished client.


                Now, generally, unicasting WILL be considerably faster - the OSD multicast is usually aimed for those opportunities when you want to multicast 50 (or 12, in the case of a training-room I multicast) systems at once - not 1 to 5 :).


                It depends on where your priorities lie and what you want to do - LANDesk usually follows the philosophy of giving you as open a tool box as possible - and if you want to use product X instead for "this or that", then normally we try as much as possible not to run into problems with that (this is only possible to a certain degree - think of running 2 different AV solutions on one PC for instance, that would be a bad thing) :).


                I hope this helps to clarify things.


                Paul Hoffmann

                LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead.

                • 5. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                  phoffmann SupportEmployee

                  As an addendum - re MSI packaging - there's some free tools out there (like ORCA) that you can get ahold of. It depends on what you want/need to do. There's some things for which Wise is certainly adequate, but if you just want to change a single value in an MSI, there's no problem in using ORCA instead (for instance).


                  It all depends on how much you want to do and what you want to do with it that dictates the tool you should gun for :).


                  Paul Hoffmann

                  LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead.

                  • 6. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                    zman Master


                    LOL - bail not ball, however, with me either one may be appropriate.



                    Also,   speed while important?, is one portion of the equation. In your shop that may be a very important portion, however, you should evaluate OSD and LANDesk as an entire Desktop Management Solution.  Again go back to flexibility OSD - DOS, Linux, WinpE, MAC functions coupled with provisioning and open imaging agent (LANDesk, Ghost, Imagew, ImageX, etc...) is a very powerful solution. And considering all other components, SLM, Inv, Software Distribution, Gateway, etc.... It is a very powerful solution.






                    Some other things that may work - hidden partition with the image file. Then you just send a job to image kickoff the image.  Many computer OEMs use this solution.



                    • 7. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                      phoffmann SupportEmployee

                      Ah ... yes, what a difference a letter makes.


                      I blame the screen. Throw in now, into the 50" screen-fund-for-Paul ;).


                      ahem. (well - one can dream...)


                      My apologies & yes, what you said is very much the case - all part of a greater whole.


                      Paul Hoffmann

                      LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead.

                      • 8. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products


                        Thanks for the responses to this from you both.  There is no doubt LanDesk is flexible in much of what it does.  That is one of the biggest reasons I'm considering it.  I'm just seeing some things that could be much more simplified and seems LanDesk can have a way of making things overly complex.  A couple of examples I can think of off hand is the fact that Remote View is not a built in option and has to be scripted to make it work on the fly - which is not very efficient to me(specifically switching from Remote View to Remote control etc).  Also, it would seem to just push a simple registry fix out to everyone requires an act of congress - requiring hand written scripts using regedit with importing reg files etc or using MSI distribution even.  Seems this would be an option right out of the software distribution features.  Again, I'm new to this product so if I'm missing something or you guys have a better idea, let me know.



                        As far as multicast ideology, I guess it is personal preference.  In my situation speed is key - and increasing the number of computers LanDesk has to multicast I doubt would make the process faster - just more sensible.  However, if I can ghost 2,26 or even 100 machines in 45 mins or less, it would seem to me I'll tend to isolate any issues killing the ghost session and restart/complete a proper ghost image before LanDesk finishes the 1st round.  I rarely have issues with the Ghost product itself.  If I've had problems it is not with Ghost technology but the network infrastructure behind it as Paul inferred industry standards are to blame not the software.  We've come along ways from the days of the 386 and the networks that supported it (for good or bad), which in fact should improve this concept..... - Although, Paul I do see your point about the client being totally destroyed immediately upon imaging should it fail with ghost - I guess it comes down to how much resources and time you are willing to spend for this comfort.....



                        In the end the agnostic concept of LanDesk must be what makes it number one - and maybe explains why some things don't seem straight forward when supporting multiple platforms like LanDesk does.  I know it is a pie and the sky concept to have one product that does everything perfectly - it is hard to find that balance for managers who are unwilling to pay a couple hundred grand here and a couple hundred grand there for products that overlap- and that is my ultimate challenge.



                        Thanks again






                        • 9. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products








                          Did you ever work outa solution to your problem using strictly LANDesk, and no Ghost?  We are an academic institutionwith the same problem.  Since we've bought LANDesk, we are going to be dumping Ghost, which has served us well in the past.  We have a lot of labs and classroom environments, and the 45 minute imaging time window that Ghost had will be missed if LANDesk cannot compare to the imaging speeds. Speed here isa big issue because of hte deadlines created by new semesters.  Currently, we have no way to get around reimaging at least once a year,and at least every semester until we can fine tune software distribution.






                          How well did unicast work for you?










                          • 10. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                            phoffmann SupportEmployee

                            Not knowing anything about your particular setup, let alone how many class-rooms you have (or how big they are) - but if speed is your determining factor you could just go uni-cast and use one/several file-servers here - various tricks you can use here to manage load are things like DNS-aliasing and so on.


                            All depends on the details. I would suggest talking to your ESP here, or LANDesk itself ... there's a lot more factors to be had here (which primarily depend on what resources you have, how many machines you need to image at once, your process, etc. etc.) to be able to make much of a suggestion here.


                            Paul Hoffmann

                            LANDesk EMEA Technical Lead.

                            • 11. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products
                              Jared Barneck SupportEmployee

                              Not beating around the bush, our multicast is slow and I have tested it to be slower than it should be.


                              I am not talking about the normal reasons for slowness either which are:

                              1. We transfer to the MDR first.

                              2. We send each MC packet 5 times

                              3. We have a default 1 ms delay between each packet


                              The first option is eliminated by pre-caching the image.


                              The second option can be altered to a lower number on stable networks by editing a registry key on the MDR. 


                              I think the third option you are stuck with though.


                              Even with all that I have seen some slowness.  Works great in the lab but not always in the real world and you should open a ticket and work.


                              Open a ticket and get some sniffs.  We should not be any slower than any other MC vendor when the image is "prestaged" on the MDR.

                              • 12. Re: Multicast Imaging seems slow compared to other products

                                I've had the thought of "prestaging" the image on an MDR, but I wasn't sure it could be done.  This might help out a lot.  I will look into how to do this, and probably call in a support ticket to LANDesk for more assistance.  Thank you.