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About Distribution Points

Applies To: System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 uses distribution points to store files needed for packages to run on client computers. These distribution points function as distribution centers for the files that a package uses, allowing users to download and run these files, programs, and scripts when a package is advertised.

To run advertised programs requiring files that do not reside on the local computer, clients must have access to at least one distribution point from which they can download or run those files. Therefore, you should specify for each package at least one distribution point for each site in which the target collection has members.

noteNote
If a package does not contain any files, you do not need to specify any distribution points for that package.

Types of Distribution Points

There is only one site role called distribution point, but you can configure the distribution point to support various functions. The following table describes the configurations which you can apply to distribution points.

 

Type Description Procedure

Server and server share distribution point

Determines how Configuration Manager 2007 creates and writes the packages and support files for the distribution point role.

How to Specify a Server Share Site System Installation Drive

How to Designate a Distribution Point

Standard and branch distribution point

Branch distribution points are optimized for remote branch offices with limited connectivity. Any distribution point not configured as a branch distribution point is a standard distribution point.

How to Designate a Distribution Point

How to Deploy a Branch Distribution Point

BITS-enabled distribution point

Allows clients to download content from the distribution point using Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to provide bandwidth throttling.

How to Configure a BITS-Enabled Distribution Point

Protected distribution point

Site systems hosting the distribution point and state migration point roles can be protected to prevent clients outside designated boundaries from accessing the site system.

How to Configure a Protected Distribution Point

Mobile device distribution point

Enables mobile device clients to download content from the distribution point.

How to Enable Distribution Points to Support Mobile Devices

Distribution point supporting Internet-based clients

Accepts connections from clients using the Internet FQDN for the site system.

How to Configure a Distribution Point for Internet-Based Client Connections

Application Virtualization streaming-enabled distribution point

Allows you to stream virtual applications to software distribution clients.

How to Enable Streaming for Virtual Application Packages

Multicast-enabled distribution point

Uses multicast to distribute operating systems.

How to Enable Multicast for Operating System Deployment

Some distribution point types are not compatible with other distribution point types. For example, a branch distribution point cannot support Internet-based clients. The following table shows which types of distribution points can be combined and which are mutually exclusive.

 

 

Server

Server share

Branch

Standard

BITS-enabled

Protected

Mobile Device

Supporting Internet-based clients

Streaming

Multicast

Server

n/a

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Server share

No

n/a

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No*

Yes

No

Branch

Yes

No

n/a

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes2

No

Standard

Yes

No

No

n/a

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

BITS-enabled

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

n/a

Yes

Required

Required

Yes

Yes

Protected

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

n/a

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Mobile device

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Required

Yes

n/a

Yes

No

Yes

Supporting Internet-based clients

Yes

No1

No

Yes

Required

Yes

Yes

n/a

Yes

No

Streaming

Yes

Yes

Yes2

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

n/a

Yes

Multicast

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

n/a

1 Configuring a server share on a site system already configured to support Internet-based clients will cause content location requests to fail.

2 On branch distribution points, enable File Streaming to support streaming using server message blocks (SMB).

For more information about specific types of distribution points, see the following topics:

For information about planning distribution point functionality, see the following topics:

Distributing the Load

Two types of load are involved with distribution points: the server load incurred when clients access the server for packages and the network load incurred as clients download or run the package.

No specific load balancing is performed on the server load. When clients ask for package source files, Configuration Manager 2007 uses an algorithm to attempt to assign the distribution point closest to the client. However, the load already assigned to the distribution point is not considered, and the closest distribution point might not always be available. For more information, see Configuration Manager and Content Location (Package Source Files).

By default, the site server is configured as a distribution point. However, you should assign this role to other site systems and remove it from the site server. This serves to reduce the site server's resource requirements and improve its performance and also assists in load balancing.

Bandwidth Control

Bandwidth controls are in place only between sites and from a standard distribution point to a branch distribution point. Package transmissions between the site server and standard distribution points do not use any type of time or bandwidth control. If you need to distribute large packages, plan a time to copy them to standard distribution points when they will not place a large burden on the network.

When Configuration Manager 2007 updates the source files for a package and the source files have already been distributed, it sends only the parts of the package that have changed since the last time the package was sent. For more information, see About Binary Differential Replication.

The following table summarizes the bandwidth controls as packages move through the Configuration Manager 2007 system.

 

Package Movement Bandwidth Control Uses Binary Differential Replication?

From package source directory to site server

None.

No

From site server to standard distribution point

None.

Yes

From parent site server to child site server

Bandwidth controlled by Address settings on the sender between sites.

Yes

From child site server to child standard distribution point

None.

Yes

From standard distribution point to branch distribution point

BITS or manually pre-staged on the branch distribution point. For more information, see How to Prestage Packages on a Branch Distribution Point.

Yes

From standard distribution point to client

BITS, if BITS-enabled distribution point is available and advertisement is configured to download and run locally.

No

From branch distribution point to client

None.

No

If you need to create a new distribution points, you can run the Copy Packages Wizard to copy the packages on an existing distribution point to the new distribution point. The Copy Packages Wizard does not provide any bandwidth control, but you can run it during off-peak hours. For more information, see How to Copy Multiple Packages to One Distribution Point.

Microsoft Distributed File System for Distribution Points

There is limited support for Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) in Configuration Manager 2007. Distribution points can be targets of a DFS root, but packages must be deployed to the shared folder on the distribution point, not to the DFS link name. Clients can use programs that point to <DFS root>\<DFS link>\<executable>.

Grouping Distribution Points

You can create groups of distribution points to facilitate the processes of copying packages to distribution points. Packages can then be targeted to a distribution point group rather than to individual distribution points. For example, you might create a group of distribution points enabled to support mobile device clients and copy packages for mobile device clients only to that distribution point group.

If you add a distribution point to an existing group, the new distribution point does not automatically receive packages previously copied to that group. However, the new distribution point will receive all new packages copied to the group.

noteNote
If you bring a new distribution point online and want to copy several existing packages to that distribution point, use the Copy Package Wizard. For more information, see How to Copy Multiple Packages to One Distribution Point.

About the Common SMS Package Share on Distribution Points

If you create a distribution point server and choose to use the common package share on distribution points when creating a package, Configuration Manager uses the SMSPKGx$ share on the drive on the distribution point server with the most free disk space (where x is the drive letter). If that share does not already exist, Configuration Manager creates it.

If you create the distribution point as a server share, the common package share is the shared folder created as the server share.

You can verify whether or not a package uses the common package share on distribution points by right-clicking Packages in the Configuration Manager console, clicking Properties, and then selecting the Data Access tab.

CautionCaution
Do not place any files directly on the common package share. This share should be used only by Configuration Manager. If you want to share files on a server that is performing the distribution point role, a separate shared folder should be used.

Site servers also have a folder named SMSPKGSIG on drives used for distribution points. This folder is used to download signatures for Microsoft Remote Differential Compression for branch distribution points when performing binary delta downloads from distribution points. Standard distribution points have the SMSSIG$ folder, which contains the package signatures to be used for branch distribution points. SMSSIG$ is created on the drive with the most free space.

Supported Configurations

Having one site system function as a distribution point for multiple Configuration Manager 2007 sites is not supported. Placing the distribution point role in a site system in a different forest than the site server is supported only when the distribution point supports Internet-based clients.

Branch distribution points cannot be installed on client computers running the Windows 2000 Professional operating system or the Windows 2000 Server operating system.

Installing a branch distribution point on a standard distribution points is not supported.

See Also

For additional information, see Configuration Manager 2007 Information and Support.
To contact the documentation team, email SMSdocs@microsoft.com.
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