K2000 Kloser Look: Using Multicast in v3.6

It’s that time of year again, when schools and universities start preparing for their major summer rollouts and reimaging projects. K2000 version 3.6, released earlier this year, added Multicast capabilities to the K2000, which should cut down the total overall time to finish those deployment projects. If you haven’t already signed up, we encourage you to check out the Education Week KKE sessions- see the list above for dates and times.

So what exactly is Multicasting?  Multicasting allows the K2000 to send image data to multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the overall bandwidth and disk usage of the K2000.  While Multicasting will not necessarily speed up the imaging of an individual device, it does allow for more concurrent devices to be imaged at the same time without any additional load on the K2000.  Instead of imaging a handful of computers at a time, imagine deploying entire floors, buildings, and regions at one time!

 

Haven’t setup Multicasting on your K2000 yet? Don’t fret- it is very easy. First, make sure you have updated your K2000 to 3.6 (you should be receiving a notification on your Home module). Next, create your “Gold-Master” image and capture it as a WIM image (Multicasting does not support K-Image or Scripted Installations.)  Next, go to your Deployments module -> Automated (Boot Actions) tab and create a new boot action.  Name the Boot Action and select your WIM Image. Under Schedule, choose to run at next boot or at a future date/time. Under Type, select Multicast and select the Show Advanced Settings link.  Now we have some options to discuss!

 

  • Timeout to wait for connection ‘Ready to receive’ State: This is extremely important to making sure all of your target computers join the Multicast session.  This timeout begins when the first of your target computers reaches the Apply Image task of your deployment.  Once the timeout completes only those target computers that have connected will receive the multicast session, so make sure to leave ample time to get all of your target machines to that step!
  • Multicast Address: Best practice is to set this to address to 224.0.1.20 to make sure that it does not conflict with other popular multicast protocols.
  • Control Channel Port: This setting can stay as it unless another device on your network is using that port.
  • Transmission Rate: You may want to modify as this reflects the speed at which your session will deploy.  Higher speeds and larger numbers of target computers could have an impact on your network, so it is recommended that you lower this number to 4 mb/s (4000000) and then adjust this number (up or down) based on the results of your Multicast Log (Settings and Maintenance -> Appliance Logs).
  • Systems: Make sure to select your target computers.  Don’t forget to use your K1000 Inventory Tab (for those customers with a linked K1000 appliance) to target your systems based on your K1000 Labels!
  • Make these the default Settings: Your multicast settings can be changed each session, however if you would like to make your changes default, check this box.  Alternatively you can modify your default settings in Settings and Maintenance.

Finally, save your Multicast session and start PXE booting targeted computers into your K2000 Boot Environment (KBE). The K2000 will define the devices based on their MAC Address and start initiating the assigned Boot Action. Be aware, that only one multicast session can be broadcast at a time and it does not work through Remote Site Appliances at the time of this publication.

Here are some useful Knowledge Base Articles to reference while creating your images: System Imaging Best Practices.
To learn more about K2000 version 3.6 check out this KKE: What’s New in K2.

Overall, Multicasting opens up a whole new world for all customers by reducing the overall time for the summer imaging projects by allowing you to complete more in a shorter amount of time. With your free time, you may actually be able to take that vacation you were planning, or plan your trip to Austin for Dell World User Forum in November!

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