Is Propagation of a (Blank) Action Still Necessary For a Client to get an Updated Relays.dat File? (Answer: No)

Hi all …

I saw an older forum entry from Sept '07 (Odd distance to relay for only a handful of systems) whereby running a one-time action (a blank one, for example) was necessary for clients to see a new Relay when the Relay comes on-line. The blank action propagates the relays.dat file to the clients.

I saw a case today whereby I brought a new Relay online in the same subnet as two other relays but after running the Force Relay Autoselection task, the client distribution across the two other relays did not change very much.

Is it still necessary to run an action to propagate relays.dat when new Relays come online?


The clients get the information about relays from the relays.dat file in the actionsite.

I don’t know if adding a new relay is sufficient for the actionsite to be considered new and need to be gathered by clients.

Adding something to the actionsite, even if it is just a new blank task should do this. Sending a blank action should also do this, but I don’t know that a blank action is specifically needed. The important part is that the actionsite get revised so that all clients gather it.

It could be the case that none of this is needed in newer versions of BigFix, or it is also possible that an action from the actionsite is needed, even though I don’t think it is.

So, in other words, I simply have to create a blank action, and that’s it? I don’t have to run this action?


Yes, it might be sufficient to create a blank action in the master action site, but not actually run it.

You could use the parse relay dot dat thingy to see what is in the current relays.dat file on a client, then create a blank task, and then check again after the actionsite propagates.

See here:

That is a good idea … thanks! --Mark

The short answer is, I have no idea how this stuff works. I just poke at it progressively harder until it does, which if it works at a consistent point each time, then that is probably what is required. I didn’t even know about the Relays.dat file until a month or so ago.

Luckily the basic principles of how BigFix works are simple enough that I can infer a lot.

In this case, I know that the Relays.dat is in the actionsite and I know the actionsite should propagate if it is revised. Though, it is a mystery to me how the Relays.dat gets updated to contain a new Relay on the root server side, so you might want to start there and see which relays are contained there. The clients aren’t going to ever know about a relay that is not already “known” by the root.

Also, if you are not a Master Operator, then your best bet to get the actionsite to propagate may be to take a blank action targeted dynamically at a property or group. If you instead took an action from your non-master opsite and targeted it to a specific machine, then it would likely revise your opsite and the client’s mailbox site, but not the actionsite.

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Heh, you could have fooled me :slight_smile: Your reasoning makes sense. (I am also a master operator).


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I suppose most people concerned with Relay Infrastructure are also Master Operators.

jgstew is pretty spot on. Once the server learns of a relay, which depends on a client reporting itself as relay after the relay has been installed, the relays.dat files has to be propagated to all endpoints to see it as a new option for relay selection. This used to require a manual propagation of the actionsite for any reason (blank action, new property, etc), but now it is done automatically once a new/changed/removed relay is detected. So you shouldn’t need to do a manual propagation in any of the 9.x releases, and possibly 8.2, can’t remember the version where this changed exactly.