Deploying the Peer Distribution Server

Peer distribution uses two main components: a peer-to-peer server and peer-to-peer clients.

  • Peer-to-peer server - This component maintains the metadata of the Win32 applications but not the actual application packages. It also maintains information about clients, client IP addresses, the number of active clients, and the content presently at each client.
    • This component resides in your network and it must communicate with these components.
      • VMware Enterprise Systems Connector
      1. You can install the server and the VMware Enterprise Systems Connector on the same machine.
      • SQL Database or SQL Server Express
      • Peer-to-peer clients on devices
  • Peer-to-peer clients - This  component distributes application packages between peers, or devices, and it receives application metadata from the server. These clients use licenses you buy with the peer distribution feature.
    • This component resides on devices and it must communicate with these components.
      • Software distribution clients on devices
      • Peer-to-peer server
    • The  peer distribution system automatically deploys clients to devices when you complete the peer distribution software setup. An installed peer-to-peer client uses one license.

We have preconfigured the VMware Enterprise Systems Connector in this lab. You will simply have to install the P2P server and use SQL Server Express which is preinstalled.

Above you will see a typical SaaS architecture with all of the port requirements which are needed for proper P2P communication. In this lab you will be completing steps 1 and 2; deploying the P2P server and then configuring the peer distribution settings in the AirWatch console.  

1. Installing the Peer-to-Peer Server

Before we can leverage P2P for software distribution we need to install and configure the P2P server.

Warning: The following steps to configure the Peer Distribution settings in the console will only work when your console language is set to English. Please switch your language to English before continuing, you can revert back after successfully saving the Peer Distribution settings.

1.1. Navigate to Peer Distribution Settings

  1. Click Peer Distribution

1.2. Peer Distribution Software Setup

  1. Select Override

Normally customers will have to click Download Peer-to-peer Server to obtain the latest copy of the P2P server from the myAirWatch Resources portal, however for this lab we have already downloaded the executable, please continue on to the next step.

1.3. Open File Explorer

  1. Click on the folder to open File Explorer

1.4. Launch VMware P2P Server Setup

  1. Expand Documents
  2. Click HOL
  3. Double click to launch VMwareP2PServerSetup_752_9.2FP2

1.5. Use An Existing SQL Express Server

  1. Select Use An Existing SQL Or SQL Express Server
  2. Click Settings

1.6. SQL Server Information

  1. Type "vescsrv-01a.corp.local" into the Machine Name field
  2. Uncheck Use Default SQL Instance
  3. Type "ADAPTIVASQL" for the SQL Instance field
  4. Click OK

1.7. Install P2P Server

  1. Click Install

1.8. Security Key

  1. Click Copy Key To Clipboard

This step is very important, do not close out of this windows until you have copied the key and successfully completed the P2P integration in the console. Once this window closed you will not be able to access the Security Key and will have to re-install the P2P server.

1.9. Shared Authentication Key

Back in the AirWatch console,

  1. Click Change
  2. Then paste your previously copied Security Key into the Shared Authentication Key field

1.10. Launching Command Prompt

  1. Click on the Windows Start Menu Icon
  2. Type and search for cmd
  3. Click on cmd

1.11. Obtaining the IP

  1. Type "ipconfig", then press Enter
  2. Copy the IPv4 Address

1.12. Server Name/IP

  1. Paste or type your IPv4 Address ( into the Server Name/IP field
  2. Select All Devices for your Assignment Groups
  3. Click Save

1.13. P2P Setup Success

You will notice the screen refresh a few times as all of the validations are completed. At the top of the screen notice that all apps have been published and new apps will automatically be pushed to use P2P. In addition, all of the Windows 10 devices part of the assignment group chosen will automatically receive the required P2P client.

NOTE - If this step fails, double check your previous configurations and confirm you provided the correct IP and the server name and SQL instance when installing Adaptiva.  In addition, check that the SQL Server (ADAPTIVASQL) service is running by navigating to Start > Run > services.msc > SQL Server (ADAPTIVASQL).  If it is not running, start the service by right-click > Start Service.  Once it is running, attempt to save your settings again.

Warning: If you are unable configure the Peer Distribution settings in the console, this will only work when your console language is set to English. Please switch your language to English before continuing, you can revert back after successfully saving the Peer Distribution settings.

1.14. Troubleshooting Info

  • Server ID - Use this value when you talk to an AirWatch representative about issues with the peer distribution system.
  • Health Check - Validates communication between the peer-to-peer system and the AirWatch infrastructure.
  • Publish Content - Force publishes all Windows 10 native apps to P2P server (only metadata is sent).
  • Activated Licenses - Download list of devices with active license.  

1.15. Review & Considerations

In this section we installed the P2P server and P2P clients. In the following section we will upload a sample app then enroll our Windows 10 devices to see how P2P works.

Encryption - Communication between the peer-to-peer server and AirWatch is encrypted. The communication is not encrypted between peer-to-peer clients in the network. This communication uses UDP but the package itself is not encrypted between clients. Although the system checks for tampered packages, a best practice is to not send confidential packages with peer-to-peer distribution.

License Overages - The peer-to-peer system does not stop you from assigning more licenses than you have bought. If you assign extra licenses, the system charges you for them. You can always view the active number of licenses in the Peer Distribution section of the console.

Console, Client, and Server Versions - You must deploy and use the supported version of the peer-to-peer client and the peer-to-peer server. Update the peer-to-peer server when the AirWatch Console includes an update to the peer-to-peer client. If the versions are not supported, the feature does not work.

Application Metadata - The peer-to-peer system stores and transmits the blob ID (or content ID), the application size, and the application hash. It does not store or transfer any other data.

Initial Downloads - The first download in a peer distribution process takes the longest time. After the initial downloads and as more devices in the subnet receive the application, download times get faster.

Activation Processes - After you save your configurations, the system activates the peer-to-peer server and clients with a license key. You can input your topology or use the one the network generates at activation. Also at the time of activation, the system publishes all the existing Win32 application content to the peer-to-peer server. From this point on, devices that belong to the peer distribution network begin to receive the application download.