Caching Service Running on High Sierra User Macs

Contributor III

Hey nation,

Since I first heard that High Sierra would directly incorporate the caching service feature that was previously only found through, I began to dream about distributing our caching services across all Macs. I have always loathed the awful performance of the "Fusion Drive" Mac mini servers that we purchased and would like to get out of the Mac server management game altogether (even if they had SSDs, which are too expensive). My idea is to kick off the caching service on all or certain computers via terminal command using JAMF Pro and then kick my feet up having saved us some cash.

Here are my concerns:
1) Connection quality. I may only choose iMacs (we have over 80, distributed throughout the network) which are permanently hardwired at 1Gbps. We should probably prevent the doubling of our overall caching service wireless traffic since most clients will already be wireless. We have 10,000+ iPads and 1,300 Macs, which could be reason for caution in big App/OS rollouts.

2) Server availability. Of course with these being end user computers, they will be up and down depending on when they are being utilized. How might that affect usability? Will clients simply and quickly switch to a different caching server if theirs suddenly goes offline? I may keep two servers at our central location that can be reached by any client. In the event a client needs to switch to the Internet as a download source, is it smart enough to do that quickly and seamlessly? Our outbound connection can handle an extra 1 Gbps sustained if it came to that.

3) Space concerns. I figured I could get away with 5-10 GB on every computer that has caching services enabled. That provides enough space to store entire OS installs as well as the biggest App installs. As far as I know, the caching service is smart enough to distribute App A, B and C on Computer 1, App D, E and F on Computer 2, etc. if necessary, rather than trying to keep the same data on every caching server and therefore not building a fleshed out copy of everything we actually need to be cached. It may be smart enough to keep OS Install Chunk A and Chunk B in separate places as well.

4) Performance concerns for servers. I don't want to overload someones network connection because I just kicked off an automatic installation of an App on 10,000 iPads and their computer is one of only a few caching servers available at that moment. Also, how rude is it to steal 10 GB of their space for caching services? I believe all of our iMacs should have 250+ GB SSDs. And since they are SSDs, I am not concerned about drive performance.

Has anyone done this sort of thing? Am I insane for thinking about this? I absolutely thought that Apple wanted to move us in the direction of distributed caching services by building caching services straight into every Mac, but now I am not so sure that was their intent for enterprise environments.

Thanks for any insight or advice.