How to administer, use and maintain Nomad, including: some typical worked scenarios, a feature reference organized into core and advanced features, operational best practices and frequently asked questions.

In this section

Core features

Core features of Nomad that are available with minimal configuration of the Nomad client. Some features require additional configuration of Nomad client on Configuration Manager Distribution Points.

  • Download once to branchNomad ensures that software packages are only ever copied once per branch over the WAN – utilizing local computers as temporary file caches to distribute the software locally. This reduces the bandwidth required for delivering software updates and means that small offices or sites connected via poor network links can receive software updates more reliably. The Nomad clients with local copies of the package can themselves act as the master if the need arises. This significantly reduces the number
  • Download resumption and consistency checkingTo minimize repeated downloads of the same content from the Distribution Point Nomad supports download resumption and consistency checking.
  • Nomad CacheThe Nomad cache is essential to Nomad's download once to branch feature. The cache enables Nomad to hold its downloaded content so that it can be distributed locally to other Nomad peers. The Nomad cache contains downloaded content (such as packages, applications, and software updates) which can vary in size from relative small patches to rather large OS image files.Nomad uses file system hardlinks between the Nomad and Configuration Manager client caches, ensuring that only a single copy of the
  • Distributing software with Nomad and Configuration ManagerNomad integrates tightly with the Configuration Manager (CM) client content download process. When Nomad is installed, it registers with the Configuration Manager client as an Alternate Content Provider (ACP), which means the CM client will use Nomad as an alternative to BITS when it requires content, if Nomad is enabled for the requested content object. Nomad can be enabled on individual Packages (including Driver Packages, Operating System Images, Operating System Upgrade Packages and Boot Ima
  • Downloading content for CM Software Updates from Microsoft UpdateThis feature enables Nomad to download content from Windows Update / Microsoft Update (WUMU). Starting in CB version 1806, software updates can be deployed to devices without first downloading and distributing content to Distribution Points, instead clients download updates direcly from the cloud.
  • Deploying Office 365 updatesConfiguration Manager introduced support for Office 365 agents in Current Branch 1602, and Nomad introduced support in version 6.1.100. This section describes how Office 365 deployments differ in terms of ACP requirements and goes on to describe how Nomad behaves during the download.
  • Windows 10 Express Installation Files and Delta Content for UpdatesAs Windows 10 cumulative updates get very big, very quickly (often in excess of 1GB a few months after any given Feature Upgrade), Microsoft started publishing express installation files for these updates in addition to the traditional full update files. Configuration Manager introduced support for Windows 10 Express Installation File updates in Current Branch 1802 hotfix KB4163547.
  • App-V supportNomad supports application virtualization (App-V) applications which are deployed as streamed content by Configuration Manager.
  • Remote differential compression integrationNot only is Nomad aware of the file level differences between different versions of a package so that only changed files are downloaded, it is also aware of the differences within individual files. This is sometimes known as binary differential replication or binary deltas but is more commonly known as remote differential compression (RDC) integration.
  • Cloud SupportNomad supports the following Configuration Manager on Azure scenarios:
  • Windows 10 Express File UpdatesConfiguration Manager introduced support for Windows 10 Express File Updates in Current Branch 1802 hotfix KB4163547. As Windows 10 cumulative updates get very big very quickly (often in excess of 1GB a few months after any given Feature Upgrade), Microsoft now publish express installation files or these updates in addition to the traditional full update files. Express installation files are a much larger payload on the Distribution Point compared to traditional software update files, but the fe

Advanced features

Nomad provides a number of advanced features that require changes to the default configuration of Nomad client.

  • Peer copy over HTTP or HTTPSNomad peer copy uses SMB by default, which requires File and Print services to be enabled in order for it to share the content. From version 4, you could bypass these services and use the connectionless transfer protocol over the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) instead. However, this implementation was not scalable and fully secure. To overcome this limitation, peer-to-peer copy over HTTP is available from version 6.2 where each Nomad client acts as an HTTP server and can serve content from its cac
  • Full control over WAN link usageNomad dynamically analyzes the overall WAN traffic to ensure that it only uses a percentage of the total. It is also aware of mobile devices and knows the difference between wireless and wired connections and is able to select the most efficient available connection to use.
  • Nomad FanOutWindows imposes a limit on the number of concurrent connections on the Nomad share. The  FanOut feature  compensates for this limitation by enabling peers connected to the master to themselves allow connections to other peers requiring the download so that more peers can be updated at the same time.
  • IPv6 and DirectAccess supportBy providing support for IPv6 environments, Nomad supports distribution to clients connected to the corporate network using the DirectAccess feature.
  • Managing large package distribution with multicastIf you want to make more efficient use of your network when distributing the same data to many devices, you may want to consider using multicast – it may already be used in your environment for multi-media tasks such as providing video content. Multicast is a complex technology that requires complete buy-in from both your system and network administrators.
  • FIPS compliant communication encryptionNomad has always provided encryption for most of its communications and in Nomad 6.0 an advanced FIPS compliant encryption algorithm was made available. The United States Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) is a standard that defines security requirements for software used by the U.S. federal government. It stipulates that applications that encrypt any sensitive data should use only a certain set of approved encryption algorithms.
  • Nomad SECureNomad SECure enables content to be compressed and signed, and also encrypted on the DP which clients can download. If you intend to use this feature, you must update all Nomad clients to 6.1 or later, or they will fail to download encrypted content. This is because clients older than 6.1 only supports the original unencrypted data format.

ActiveEfficiency features

Features of Nomad that require ActiveEfficiency Server.

  • Single-site downloadNomad's single-site download (SSD) feature ensures a download across the WAN only happens once per site. It does this by maintaining information about which subnets are neighbors of each other (accessible on LAN rather than WAN), so that when an elected master considers a download from a DP rather than a peer in its subnet, it can discover which other local subnets already has the package. These subnets are typically at a single customer site, specifically a single geographical location. The seq
  • Integrating with WakeUpNomad integration with WakeUp enables Nomad to share content from its machines that are holding particular content, even if those machines are shut down. One reason why peers in the local subnet may not respond to the request even though they have content in their caches is that they are offline (shutdown, in hibernate or sleep mode). However, if WakeUp is integrated, the Nomad client would know which offline machine has the content and can wake it up when it queried ActiveEfficiency. The wake u
  • Nomad pre-cachingPre-caching lets you pre-load the Nomad caches of particular machines directly from the Configuration Manager console. This enables downloads to be available on the branch prior to a deployment taking place, which can be very useful in large-scale deployment scenarios.
  • Nomad Download PauseNomad integrates with Tachyon to enable pausing or resuming Nomad downloads throughout the estate. This feature provides a safety measure for situations when a faulty or harmful deployment is made by mistake. In such situations pausing Nomad downloads on all targeted devices can prevent or limit the potential damage. It can also be used to facilitate troubleshooting, making it possible to pause all Nomad downloads across the network and enable IT teams to eliminate content distribution from thei
  • The Nomad DashboardThe Nomad Dashboard is a collection of interactive tiles made available in the Configuration Manager console that provides you with a global view across your network of Nomad status and latest operation details. 

OS Deployment features

Nomad support for Configuration Manager OS Deployment.

  • OS deployment task sequencesNomad can integrate with OSD strategies to maximize the efficiency of distributing large OS content across the network. It does this by providing a number of Task Sequence steps that can be integrated directly into your OSD Task Sequences.
  • Peer Backup Assistant - PBAThe Peer Backup Assistant (PBA) feature enables files and settings data to be backed-up to a peer computer so that they can be maintained when the computer is being migrated to a new Operating System. Using PBA, you can avoid the cost of specifically provisioning state migration points or servers to hold the backup data, as peer computers can utilized to provide this feature. The risk of losing user data through the migration process is also greatly reduced in the process.

Nomad tools

Tools that can help troubleshoot or configure Nomad.

  • The Download MonitorThe Download Monitor tool (also known as NomadBranchGUI) is useful for administrators to troubleshooting downloads as they view the status of downloads on local and remote Nomad client computers.
  • The Nomad Baseline WizardThe Nomad Baseline Wizard is used to create a Configuration Manager Baseline from the Configuration Manager console for settings related to Nomad.
  • CacheCleanerThe downloaded content in the Nomad cache consume disk space therefore management of the cache is critical. Because files may be re-used and distributed to other devices on the same subnet or site, the simple solution of deleting the files as soon as they have finished downloading and executing is not sufficient. Instead Nomad has a sophisticated cache cleaner utility that automatically but intelligently maintains control over the cache's disk usage.

Operational best practices

Some best practices tips for particular operational situations.

Frequently asked questions