Using relays to increase the performance of BigFix

To take advantage of the speed and scalability that is offered by BigFix, it is often necessary to tune the settings of the BigFix deployment.

A relay is a client that is enhanced with a relay service. It performs all client actions to protect the host computer, and in addition, delivers content and software downloads to child clients and relays. Instead of requiring every networked computer to directly access the server, relays can be used to offload much of the burden. Hundreds of clients can point to a relay for downloads, which in turn makes only a single request to the server. Relays can connect to other relays as well, further increasing efficiency.

Reducing the BigFix server load

For all but the smallest BigFix deployments (< 500 BigFix clients), a primary BigFix relay should be set for each BigFix client even if they are not in a remote location.

The reason for this is that the BigFix server performs many tasks including:
  • Gathering new Fixlet content from the BigFix server
  • Distributing new Fixlet content to the clients
  • Accepting and processing reports from the BigFix clients
  • Providing data for the BigFix consoles
  • Sending downloaded files (which can be large) to the BigFix client, and much more.
By using BigFix relays, the burden of communicating directly with every client is effectively moved to a different computer (the BigFix relay computer), which frees the BigFix server to do other tasks. If the relays are not used, you might observe that performance degrades significantly when an action with a download is sent to the BigFix server.
Setting up BigFix relays in appropriate places and correctly configuring clients to use them is the most important change that has highest impact on performance. To configure a relay, you can:
  • Allow the clients to auto-select their closest BigFix relay.
  • Manually configure the BigFix clients to use a specific relay.
For more information, see Managing relays.