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up2date, mirror repositories, and performance



This is NOT a gripe!

I am posting this message in the hope that someone out there will have a 
"better idea".  I am not sure that there is a better idea but I can hope.  
The current situation is better in some respects but it is still not enough.

When FC1 came out, up2date was configured to use a single server to download 
files from.  Even though Red Hat appeared to augment 
download.fedora.redhat.com with heavy duty proxies (which it could only do 
with the http protocol), it was not enough and download was slooow.

OK, FC2 and a new up2date with the capability to download from a mirror site 
selected from a list of mirror sites.  Better but still not enough.

There are a couple of problems with the mirror sites.  First, they differ with 
how much bandwidth they are connected to and how much loading is on a 
particular server.  Second, mirrors are not being updated "in a timely 
fashion".  That is, you may have an indication that updates are available but 
when you run up2date, it connects to a mirror that has not been updated 
recently.  With the volume of updates occurring on a daily basis, it must be 
difficult to keep the mirrors in sync.

Now, http is a connectionless protocol.  You could download each file from a 
different server.  This has the potential of improving performance by 
spreading the load more dynamically.  Unfortunately, this requires a perfect 
world where mirrors are always current.

Right now, my alternative it to manually identify a server with good 
performance and a current set of packages.  Then I edit sources to use that 
server.  I will likely switch to the approach I use with FC1 where I download 
the stuff once to a local repository and then use up2date on the multiple 
test systems I have to update from the local repository.  All this is very 
manual and I would like to have something which is more automagical.

The addition of the mirror list is a good capability but now suffers from 
servers being out-of-sync.

Anyone have a "better idea"?
-- 
Gene




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