There are a number of things you can do to conserve bandwidth during peer-to-peer or most patch management processes. Here are the three I recommend:
1. Schedule your patch distribution and installations: This is probably the most common means of conserving bandwidth. Scheduling patches for distribution during off hours or non-peak times will ensure that critical business traffic is not adversely affected by patch installations.
2. Buy tools with the bandwidth features you need: Many patch management vendors build bandwidth conservation into their tools. For example, you may have the option to resume stalled installations or the ability to configure and limit bandwidth used. If you need to conserve bandwidth, investigate the options available with your patch management tool.
3. Place patch distribution repository near nodes to be updated: In general, you want to place the distribution servers close to the end nodes that are being updated. For example, if you have a number of remote offices, a common way of regulating bandwidth is to place a distribution server in each office. This way, the patch is only transferred to the remote office once, and the local distribution server then uses the local network to disseminate the patches. Careful configuration and design of the patch distribution servers is critical to bandwidth management.
This was first published in June 2005