Managing Customer Computers using Distribution Server

Desktop Central MSP's Distribution Server technology can help you plan and control bandwidth utilization and associated costs. The Distribution Server located at the remote location synchronizes the Configuration/Patch/Software repositories with the Desktop Central MSP Server located at your Office at specific intervals. Now the WAN agents installed on the  desktops at the remote location can download the patch/service pack/software from the Distribution Server locally within the Remote Office LAN. This mechanism clearly addresses the bandwidth related issues and also improves the efficiency and control-level that network managers/administrators can exercise on the remote machines.

How to create agents to manage desktops using Distribution Server?

  1. Select Admin --> Customers. This will list all the customers that have been added already.
  2. Click Create Agent button.
  3. Select the Customer and specify a Remote Office name.

You will need to specify all the details under different sections:

Desktop Central MSP Server NAT Details:

If you have installed the Desktop Central MSP Server in your network that is not accessible via internet, you need to configure your external router to NAT the requests to a public IP Address to the IP address of the computer where Desktop Central Server is installed at the appropriate port.

Communication Details:

Select the Communication Type as 'Through Distribution Server.

Distribution Server(DS) Details:

  1. Specify the Domain NetBIOS Name
  2. Specify the Computer Name on which DS is to be installed.
  3. Specify the IP Address of the computer on which Distribution Server will be installed.
  4. It is recommended to have a dedicated computer as the distribution server with a static IP address. This will facilitate hassle-free communication of the Remote Agents with the Distribution Server.

  5. Specify HTTP port for DS.
  6. Specify HTTPS  port for DS.
  7. The HTTP and HTTPS ports for communication between the WAN agents and the Distribution Server. The Distribution Server's default ports for HTTP and HTTPs are 8044 and 8045 respectively. However you can use different ports for the same.

  8. Specify the Replication Policy.

    With Replication Policy you can define the following;

    1. Replication Interval the time interval with which you want the Distribution Server to synchronize with the Desktop Central MSP Server
    2. Rate of data transfer The rate at which the patch and software binaries should be replicated from your Desktop Central MSP Server to your Distribution Server.
    3. Schedule the replication to happen during non-productive hours.

Distribution Server/WAN Agent to Desktop Central MSP Communication:

  1. The communication between the Distribution Server and the Desktop Central MSP Server is secured using HTTPS communication.
  2. Enable Proxy Configuration checkbox to specify the Proxy Host, Port, User Name and Password for that proxy.

Computers to be Managed:
Specify the computer name/IP address of the remote computers you want to manage. Use comma to specify multiple computers. The computer names will be used to automate agent installation using the script. However computer names can given at a later stage also and hence it is not a mandatory field. After specifying all the above details, click Create to create the Distribution Server and WAN agent.

How to deploy the Distribution Server at the Customer Site?

On successful creation of Distribution Server, the Desktop Central MSP Application will display the Customer page. You will find the status as "Yet to Install" for the newly created Distribution Server. Follow the steps given below to proceed with the deployment process:

  1. Click on Download Agent icon pertaining to that customer.
  2. Save the Distribution Server zip file in the machine on which Distribution Server needs to be installed. You should login as an administrator in that computer to install the Distribution Server.
  3. Extract the contents of the zip file i.e. dssetup folder on the same machine.
  4. Open a command prompt (Start --> Run --> type cmd).
  5. Navigate to the working folder dssetup in the command prompt. Example: c:\Remote-Office\dssetup, where Remote-Office is folder in which the dssetup has been extracted.
  6. Run the command setup.bat  and select the option as 1 to deploy the Distribution Server alone. Refer to the Remote Agent Installation section to install WAN agents also.

Deploying agents in computers to be managed

You have successfully created a remote office with Distribution server. Now the next step is to install Desktop Central MSP agents in computers you want to manage under this remote office.