Manual Chapter : GLOBAL-SITE Administator Guide v1.1: Introduction to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

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GLOBAL-SITE Controller

  • 1.1.1 PTF-02, 1.1.1 PTF-01, 1.1.1, 1.1.0
Manual Chapter


Introduction to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

Welcome to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller is a network appliance that manages publishing, distribution, and synchronization of file-based content and applications to local and geographically distributed Internet sites. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller uses a publishing metaphor, tracking your content as publications. When you log on to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, you can view the current state and status of your publications at a glance. You can see specific information about each publication, view or modify sections and versions, and update or publish any publication as easily as using the mouse to point and click.

Figure 1.1 The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Publication List screen

Application tools

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports a browser-based application, and also supports an administrative command line utility. The browser application provides access to all GLOBAL-SITE Controller features and functions. Figure 1.1 shows the Publication List screen, the application screen that you see when you first connect your browser to the Configuration utility from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller home page. Figure 1.2 shows the Configuration Utility home page for GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Figure 1.2 Configuration Utility home page

The browser application

The Publication List screen (shown in Figure 1.1) gives you an overview of your publications, and status of each, and a quick way to delete any publication. In addition, it provides a link to the Publication Editions screen where you can view further details about each publication. Figure 1.3 shows the Publication Editions screen, which shows details for the editions of each publication, and provides access to the sections, section versions, subscribers, and publication options associated with each publication that you manage.

Figure 1.3 The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Publication Editions screen

The Publication Editions screen, shown in Figure 1.3, is one of a series of publication screens that display the basic building blocks of your publications, provide status of each, and lead you through the publication process. There are tabs for each of the major pieces of a typical publication: Editions, Sections, Subscribers, and Publication Options (non-archived publications do not show an Editions tab). Each tab displays a screen that provides an overview of the element, and access to status and details for that element. You can typically create, modify, or delete each element, and add or remove that element from a publication. You also use the publication screens to start and monitor the publication process.

The navigation pane, displayed in the left frame, provides links to both help, and application screens. Click the headings Publishing, Distribution, BIG-IPs, or System to see summary help for that group of functions. Click any of the other options on the navigation pane to access an application screen for use.

The screens available from the Distribution, BIG-IPs, and System areas in the navigation pane assist you in managing the administrative functions of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. Use these screens for viewing or adding GLOBAL-SITE Controllers that function as distributors, for creating and managing your BIG-IP Controllers and virtual servers, for adding or removing user accounts, and for setting the system time and pausing or restarting the GLOBAL-SITE Publication Scheduler.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller screens have a standard application title bar across the top, which includes both the screen title and a help button. You can click the Help button to open a page of help pertinent to the screen you are viewing when you click the button.

The UNIX command line utility

The supplemental UNIX command line utilities supports important maintenance commands that allow you to perform troubleshooting tasks. The command line utility also supports basic administrative commands, such as configuring and updating the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. For more information on the command line utilities, refer to Appendix A and Appendix B.


The GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports all source and target servers running UNIX, NT, and MAC operating systems. It adapts to your existing server and publishing systems.

Operating systems

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller runs on RedhatTM Linux version 6.1.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports a variety of source and target server operating systems:

  • Windows NT®
  • Windows® 95
  • UNIX platforms
  • Mac® OS

Web browsers

You can connect to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller using either of the following popular web browsers:

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer, version 4.0 and later
  • Netscape® Navigator, version 4.0 and later

GLOBAL-SITE Controller features

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller offers a variety of management and control features for your content synchronization and distribution needs.

Application and content synchronization

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller provides total control of all content publishing processes. The browser-based application makes it easy for you to pull content from multiple staging servers, and then synchronize final delivery across all servers simultaneously, at one or more sites, regardless of location.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller allows web publishers to intelligently deploy files and directories to web servers. Web publishers can define standard file distribution profiles, or set up one-time distribution rules. In addition, when doing updates between publisher and distributor controllers, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller transmits only updates, reducing traffic on network resources.

Version control

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller is designed to track and save all changes while providing continual access to all prior versions. It synchronizes the project data accordingly. Your web publishers are not limited to publishing only the most recent content. In archived publications, the complete history of each project is now accessible.

Site recovery and one-button rollback

The GLOBAL-SITE version-control feature provides instantly available application and content rollback. This feature is critical for effective management of your applications and content at Internet speed. In case of problems with a site or with content, web publishers can immediately select any previous edition to be republished to production web servers and they can accomplish this with the click of a button.

Content and administration security

Built-in security mechanisms throughout the GLOBAL-SITE Controller protect Internet content and applications for transfer between the publisher and the distributor, then ensure proper delivery of content and applications to the production server. The browser-based administrative tool uses SSL to encrypt information passed between the browser and the GLOBAL-SITE administrator web server.

Visibility into publishing process

The design of the browser interface makes it easy to view the publication organization, and monitor the publishing process. You start at the overview and work to more specific details of each publication. At any level, you are one click away from a different perspective of your publication.

With the Publish Progress Display screen, web publishers can monitor the process as they update sections, or deliver content to subscribers. The Section File Listing screen shows the name, size, and revision date for each file in a section version.

Throughout the browser interface, screens provide status of the publication, edition, or section. If you choose the manual publishing or delayed activation options on the Publication Options screen, your publishing process will stop at selected times so that you can confirm status before continuing with the delivery of the edition.

Adaptable open systems and web publishing support

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports all source and target servers running UNIX, NT, and Macintosh operating systems. You manage all processes through a browser-based interface, or the command line utility.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller also works with all existing web publishing tools, including those with staging servers. Some of the file-based content and applications that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports are:

  • HTML
  • Java Scripts
  • Active Server Pages
  • Adobe® PDF
  • Microsoft Windows applications

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller adapts to your organization's existing IT investment by synchronizing content, applications, and configurations across arrays of heterogeneous servers. You do not even need to consider the tedious and expensive task of installing additional server software.

Secure, succinct network traffic

Pairing a GLOBAL-SITE Controller distributor with a GLOBAL-SITE Controller publisher provides increased scope for delivering content while maintaining both security and cost effectiveness. This publisher/distributor configuration allows you to publish securely behind firewalls, and take advantage of less expensive communication options.

When you use GLOBAL-SITE publisher to GLOBAL-SITE distributor publishing, this is what happens:

  • The publisher sends to the distributor only the differences (file changes) between the current edition on the distributor and the new edition.

  • The information is encrypted by the GLOBAL-SITE publisher.

  • The information is transferred across the WAN only once, from the publisher to the GLOBAL-SITE distributor.

  • The distributor then transfers the whole edition of changed files to all of the subscribers.

Environmental requirements for GLOBAL-SITE Controller hardware

General guidelines

A GLOBAL-SITE Controller is an industrial network appliance, designed to be mounted in a standard 19-inch rack. To ensure safe installation and operation of the unit:

  • Install the rack according to the manufacturer's instructions, and check the rack for stability before placing equipment in it.

  • Build and position the rack so that once you install the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, the power supply and the vents on both the front and back of the unit remain unobstructed. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller must have adequate ventilation around the unit at all times.

  • Do not allow the air temperature in the room to exceed 40° C.

  • Do not plug the unit into a branch circuit shared by more electronic equipment than the circuit is designed to manage safely at one time.

  • Verify that the voltage selector is set appropriately before connecting the power cable to the unit.

Guidelines for DC powered equipment

A DC powered installation must meet the following requirements:

  • Install the unit using a 20 Amp external branch circuit protection device.

  • For permanently connected equipment, incorporate a readily accessible disconnect in the fixed wiring.

  • Use only copper conductors.

What's new in version 1.1

This section introduces the main features that are new to version 1.1 of the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller, and tells where you can find detailed information about each feature.

BIG-IP Controller integration

GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.1 introduces the first step in integration with BIG-IP Controllers and support for scheduling publishing processes. BIG-IP Controller integration provides several benefits to controlling and maintaining site performance during content update, and introduces a number of new controls over the content activation process. Content activation is one of the final steps in publishing: it occurs after the copying phase, and is when the GLOBAL-SITE Controller changes the temporary files on the subscriber to permanent, active files that customer viewers can access. For details, see Scheduled activation of new content, in Chapter 3.

Non-archived publications

Prior to this version, the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller has been used as a content version control system as well as for propagation of content from section servers to subscriber servers. Version 1.1 introduces non-archived publishing, which gives GLOBAL-SITE Controller customers the option to trade content versioning for improved performance in propagating content.

When creating a new publication, you can now choose whether the publication will be archived. Archived publications include only archived sections. For non-archived sections, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller does not create or keep versions of the file contents, but it does create and keep lists of file dates and sizes so that it can detect changed files. With these lists, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can store enough information to determine when files have been changed, added, or deleted. See Creating non-archived publications, in Chapter 3 for details.

Scheduled publishing

GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller now supports scheduled delivery and activation of new content.

You can set up publishing to occur at regular, pre-determined times and at specific timed intervals. You can also start the publishing process manually, and have it delay until a later, pre-determined time. For details, see Scheduling the publishing process in Chapter 3.

Scheduled activation of new content

Along with the ability to schedule the publishing process, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller now allows you to determine how and when the new content will be activated at the subscriber for the customer to see. For details, see Scheduling the publishing process in Chapter 3.

Improved status and error reporting

GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.1 supports improved status and error reporting, where you can select the type of error reporting you want, and choose to send email alerts, notifying someone of publishing errors. In addition, you now have the ability to compare publication editions (see the Publication Editions screen online help) for archived publications, and to compare section version differences for both archived and non-archived publications (for details, see the online help for the Section Detail screen, Section History tab).

Multi-disk support

Version 1.1 increases the reliability of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller by adding a second disk. This helps protect against controller down time and data loss in case of disk failure, and improves performance by providing two disks to share the work. During installation, the First-Time Boot utility prompts you to choose whether to use the second disk for backup (mirroring the disks for a lesser amount space with error recovery) or increased storage capacity (appending the disks for a greater total of space).

There are different configurations of the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller; check with your vendor for disk size and total capacity.

First-Time Boot utility

The GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller installation is accomplished through the First-Time Boot utility, a wizard that guides you through a brief series of tasks to set up the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Finding help and other technical support resources

In addition to this administrator guide, you can find help and technical documentation about the GLOBAL-SITE Controller in the following locations.

Release notes

You can access the release notes for the current version of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller by clicking Release Notes on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller home page. The release note contains the latest information for the current version, including a list of new features and enhancements, a list of fixes, and, in some cases, a list of known issues.

Online help

You can find different types of help online in the following locations:

  • PDF version of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide
    A PDF version of this administrator guide is available from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller technical support page at This site always has the most recent version of the Administrator Guide. Note that if you upgrade your GLOBAL-SITE Controller at a later time, the upgrade may include an updated PDF version of the guide.

  • Getting started help
    Each heading in the navigation pane, including Publishing, Distribution, BIG-IPs, and System, provides a basic summary of the related features.

  • Screen help
    Each screen in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller has an online help page that you can access by clicking the help button at the upper right of the screen. The help page describes the screen you are currently working in. The Tasks tab gives brief procedures for how to use the screen, and the Controls tab lists each control on the screen and provides an explanation of what it does.