Originally Posted by Ars Technica
Get out your list, because you can add another application to the tally of legitimate uses of BitTorrent.
Apparently, software updates are getting so big these days that simply downloading them from a server is becoming prohibitively time consuming, especially when the same updates need to be applied to many different machines. A Dutch university has some 6,500 desktop PCs in ten locations, which on occasion need to download 3.5GB worth of different types of updates. That's a handsome 22.2TB in total. In a traditional client-server world, that's some modest lifting.
In fact, INHOLLAND University's IT department used to have almost two dozen servers distributed over the university's locations to serve up these downloads. The school was able to retire 20 of them after adopting a new way to distribute updates: BitTorrent.
The peer-to-peer protocol allows PCs to download most of the updates from each otherâ€”the remaining servers are mostly needed to send out the first few copies and then coordinate the up- and downloading. One of the advantages of the BitTorrent protocol is that it uses bandwidth where it can find it: faster links are automatically used more.
Using this technology, updating all 6,500 PCs can be done in less than four hours. Previously, this took four days. Four days down to four hours for the same needs!
Leo Blom of ITeleo, who came up with the idea of using BitTorrent, told Ars, "Let me put it this way: if INHOLLAND wants to migrate to Windows Vista, they only have to send out an image through BT. All 6,500 desktops can be migrated overnight in two hours' timeâ€”with one push of a button. It's a real migration killer. Migration used to mean a lengthy and trying process. At INHOLLAND, we took a different approach."
According to TorrentFreak, the university's management team was reluctant to adopt the peer-to-peer technology, but they quickly changed their minds after seeing a demonstration. Students and staff who think they can use the modified BitTorrent client for other purposes will be disappointed to learn that the system is completely locked down.