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Does software exist that would make it easy to distribute software updates for a variety of programs over LAN?

My job involves supporting numerous low-bandwidth offices with very expensive internet but we still are extremely interested in having security updates required by our users. These offices have at most ten computers in each, usually five to eight. What would make sense to me is to mirror updates for specific software; Microsoft products, Firefox, Chrome, to one computer in each office and have other computers download from that one.

I can't imagine I'm the first person who's run into the need to keep offices up to date in Sub-Saharan Africa, is anybody aware of software that will allow me to do what I talked about above or perhaps another option?

Unfortunately, implementing classic server-centric windows networks is not an option. We don't have anybody on the ground to maintain these offices, all of my work is remote and remotely managing MS Domain servers without local technicians seems like it's asking for trouble.

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    I know Microsoft has something called System Center but IIRC that was quite expensive. – Jan Doggen Apr 15 '15 at 11:03
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    I am willing to pay for the solution however from the articles I am reading about System Center it is far more than I need. – Nahum G Apr 15 '15 at 11:04
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Thinking out of the box a little and in general it might well be worth investigating investing in a caching gateway server in such locations - it should be a server, preferably Linux based, that sits between the internet connection of such offices and the actual internet. Such a server can be configured so that any request for the same file will be served from the local cache rather than from the internet - this would include programme updates, icons, news pages, you name it - so would result in a faster browsing experience in general as well as much faster installs of updates, etc.

You could also probably set it up to download and cache files that you notify it are likely to be needed, e.g. Firefox/Chrome/etc. during low traffic times by having a chron task that checks a list you can remotely update and does the download into the cache overnight or in the early hours of the morning.

The reasons that I strongly suggest a Linux server is:

  • Server configurations are a lot simpler
  • You can run on older, cheaper, hardware
  • It is free and a lot of the necessary software is free

Full discussion of how to set up such a server in each office is much too broad a discussion for this forum but there are a lot of web resources, e.g. this and/or possibly paid consultancies that can suggest the basic setup.

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