All of the following features apply to Windows agentless and agent-based environments. For Linux agent environments, distribution servers can be used to download core files but not patches. Linux agents use YUM to download any patches that must be deployed.
Distribution servers can be used in a number of different scenarios:
•Distribution servers can be used to store patches that you wish to deploy. Distribution servers can be physically located near each group of machines you are managing. The console can copy patches to the distribution servers only, rather than to each individual machine. Each machine can then download the patches it needs from the nearest distribution server. This can greatly reduce network traffic in a distributed environment and be of huge benefit in wide-area networks. This is true in both agentless environments and agent-based environments. In agentless environments, using distribution servers means the console does not need to push patches to individual machines and individual machines do not need to download patches from patch vendor. In an agent-based environment, it can keep each machine from downloading the patches it needs from the patch vendor over the Internet.
•Distribution servers allow consoles and agents to operate in environments where they do not have Internet access but still need access to the most up-to-date engines and XML files. See What is a Disconnected Console Configuration for more information.
•Distribution Servers can be used to store any custom patches you may have defined. This is particularly important for agent-based environments. See Preparing to Use Agents for more information.