Applies To:Show Versions
- 2.1 PTF-01, 2.1.0, 2.0.0
- Why GLOBAL-SITE Controller?
- Planning to configure the GLOBAL-SITE Controller
- Using the publishing cycle
The GLOBAL-SITE Controller is used to manage the process of accumulating a logically consistent set of content and copying it to a set of content servers in a controlled way.
The basic process involves:
- Capturing files from one or more sources
- Storing files and/or file lists on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller for publications
- Distributing those files to a set of content servers
In order to define related sets of files, including where and how they are distributed to different servers, you establish relatively static relationships among a set of objects.
Those relationships are the key to achieving your goal in updating your file sets on the set of systems. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller helps you manage the various steps in the process of moving files through the pre-defined states of publishing, whether it is updating or delivering the files.
In order to follow the basic GLOBAL-SITE Controller processes, it is important to understand the fundamental GLOBAL-SITE elements. You should also be aware of issues to consider when planning the organization of your publishing systems, deciding what you want to do in configuring the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, and managing and delivering your content.
- A section contains information that tells the GLOBAL-SITE Controller how to get a set of files that it collects from a source. In archived publications, editions contain versions of sections, which reference the changed files.
- A publication is one or more sections to be published together to one or more subscribers. An edition of a publication is a set of section/version pairs used in archived publications.
- An archived publication stores a copy of each file for each edition on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. In non-archived publications, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller stores no content, but keeps a version list of dated files.
- A distributor is a remote GLOBAL-SITE Controller that provides access to additional remote content servers. A publisher can deliver publications directly to content servers, known as subscribers, or deliver to a distributor, which then delivers the publication to the subscribers.
It may help you to consider the GLOBAL-SITE elements as relating to a publication like a newspaper.
A publication is a set of content like a newspaper or online magazine. Publications are made up of sections.
A section is a set of files that stores related content. For example, a section could be an online news article that consists of two files: an HTML file that contains the article text, and a GIF file that contains a related picture. Together these files make up the section that the end user views as a single article.
In archived publications, sections have versions (identified with numbers) associated with each file included in the section. For example, you publish a news story section, and then an hour later you review more information about the story. You can revise the HTML file, and publish it as a new version of the section. (In non-archived publications, there are no version numbers, but a date and time show the last time the section was retrieved and you can republish the section.)
Archived publications also have editions, similar to newspaper editions. In the context of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, an edition of a publication is a set of sections with specific version numbers.
A subscriber is the person or business to which the publication is delivered. To publish or distribute to subscribers, you must know their location and how to get there.
Before you begin configuring the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, it is a good idea to consider what you need, plan what to do, and plan how to do it. This helps save time because you can set things up initially in the way that will be most efficient for you in the long run.
You need to define:
- Where to look for new content
- Where to put new content
- Whether to store content on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller
You can use any file as content as long as you can specify a path to the server and directory that store the file and a method of access for the file. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller collects the content from this location and, for archived publications, stores it as a version of a section. For each archived section, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller stores two things: the content of each file included in the section and the access information for the section.
Once you have defined the content (that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller stores as a version of a section), you can later distribute the content to one or more content servers, referred to as subscribers. However, before you can publish the content, you need to know which servers subscribe to the content and provide a path for delivering the content to them. This process of taking content from one place that you define, and putting it somewhere else that you define, using a prescribed set of steps, is referred to as the publishing cycle.
For your planning purposes, you need to understand the basic difference between archived and non-archived publications.
- Archived publications allow you to revert to a previous edition or section version by storing copies of the content on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.
- Non-archived publications provide faster content replication and delivery, but do not provide versioning abilities.
Remember that archived publications and non-archived publications are mutually exclusive. Archived publications have only archived sections. You can create non-archived sections only within a non-archived publication. You cannot change an archived publication to a non-archived publication, or vice versa, except by first recreating the publication with a new name, and then deleting the old one. For more details about non-archived publications, refer to #1039658 Creating non-archived publications, on page 3-20 .
The key to configuring a GLOBAL-SITE Controller is:
- Determine what the logical publications are
- Determine which sections are in each publication
For example, one of your publications may be a quarterly report. This publication may include sections such as: Word from the CEO, Company Mission Statement and Goals, Investors, Customer Listing, Investments this year, Profits, Projections, and Summary. Another publication might be a monthly marketing update or a weekly recruiting listing. You may find that some sections, such as Company Mission and Goals, are useful in more than one publication.
Although you decide about the publication first, when using the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, it makes sense to define the sections first, and then define the publication. Before proceeding further, you need to plan the overall organization of the publications and the sections per publication.
Each publication defines two major relationships:
- The sections that are published together
- The set of subscribers receiving the content from a given section
The publication organizes the sections you have defined. It is this publication that is delivered to subscribers. For example, a publication can be defined as your web site (www.yoursite.com), which is composed of many separate sections (www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin, www.yoursite.com/marketing, and so on).
A publication can be archived or non-archived. You determine this attribute when you create the publication. This affects how the publication is delivered and whether or not versions are stored. Note that the screens you work with while managing your publication have subtle differences based on the type of publication you are working with.
This chapter of the Administrator Guide deals primarily with archived publications, but you can find more details about non-archived publications in #1039658 Creating non-archived publications, on page 3-20 , and in the online help.
You need to assign a unique name to each publication. This name is a label that identifies the publication in the various work screens through the browser interface.
For our example, assume you are creating a publication called WebPub1.
Note: In the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, the screen name appears in the application title bar across the top of the browser interface and is not included on most screens shown as figures in this guide. The screen names are shown in the figure caption for each screen.
There are boxes for the name of the publication and an optional description. To define how the publication delivery process works, you can set or change the publishing, scheduling, and error handling options now or later.
- In the navigation pane, click List Publications.
The Publication List screen opens.
- Click the Add a Publication button in the top right corner of the screen.
The New Publication screen opens.
- Make the necessary changes as required. For further information regarding this screen, click the Help button found in the upper right corner of the screen.
Once you have created the new publication, you can click its name to open the Publication Editions screen (for archived publications) or the Publication Sections screen (for non-archived publications).
Note: You cannot change the archived/non-archived option once you create a publication. For all other options, you can set or change them at a later time from the Publication Options screen. For more information about publication options, click the Help button on the Publication Options screen.
Using the Publication detail screens
The Publication detail screens are the center of operations for nearly all configuration activities and content delivery for a publication. In our example, and for all archived publications, the Publication Editions screen is the first you see. There are four major tabs that correspond to the four main areas of information: Editions, Sections, Subscribers, and Pub. Options. For non-archived publications, you first see the Publication Sections screen and never see the Editions tab.
Click any tab to display a detail screen of the same name for that aspect of your publication.
- The Publication Editions screen shows details of your editions and is used to deliver content from sections to subscribers.
Note that if you are working with a non-archived publication, you do not see the Publication Editions screen.
- The Publication Sections screen shows section details for a specific publication and is used to manage sections.
- The Publication Subscribers screen lists the subscribers for the publication and is used to define where the section content is delivered.
- The Publication Options screen is where you set options for the delivery process including scheduling, error handling, and virtual server controls.
Before delivering content, you need to tell the GLOBAL-SITE Controller where to find it. You do that by clicking the Sections tab and using the Publication Sections screen.
A GLOBAL-SITE Controller section includes both content files and a path to the content files.
Before you set up the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, you should answer some basic questions. Start by working backwards:
- You have a server (subscriber): what content needs to be managed?
- How many sections do you need?
Remember that different roots (/path1/part1, /path2/part2) must have different sections.
A section contains all the files and directories in a given path (path, directory, and file names are all case sensitive). A section can exclude any specified subdirectories, known as exceptions. Exceptions are directories that are in the path, but are not included in the section. You can also include or exclude all files with specific file extensions, such as .cgi and .html.
- What will you name each section?
Remember that in order to create a section, you must have a unique name for it. This name is unique among all sections, within all publications. Be sure to distinguish names using characters, not just uppercase versus lowercase letters; not all operating systems are case-sensitive.
- What is the path to each section?
You must identify the specific directory path on the server that is the source of the section's content. Note that some operating systems are case sensitive; be sure to get the paths exactly right.
- Do you have authority to access the information?
You need to provide authorization access by specifying the user ID and password for access to the server where the content is stored.
Defining a simple section
The first step, once you have created a publication, is creating sections. Updating the content for a section is one of the most frequent tasks you will perform. To create a section, you:
- Give the section a name
- Specify the server that contains the section
- Provide access settings: the user ID and password for the server
- Define the location of the content with a path
The section you create will be archived or non-archived, depending on the publication it is part of. You do not have to specify this, but you should remember that a section carries the attribute of the publication it is created for, and cannot be shared between archived and non-archived publications.
Once you have created the section, you have several options, including testing the connection, creating exceptions to the section, or creating an initial version of the section on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. The following text in this section of the guide introduces all of these tasks.
This example shows how to create a new section called sec1, which gets its content from the directory /home/webcontent/testsite on the system myserver.f5.com using the FTP account website.
To create a section
- On the navigation pane, click List Publications.
The Publication List screen opens.
- Click the publication for which you want to create a section.
The Publication detail screen opens.
- From the Publication detail page select the Sections tab for your new publication.
The Publication Sections screen, Figure 2.3 , opens.
- Since there are no sections yet, you need to create one: click the Create New Section button.
The Create a New Section screen opens.
- Fill in the boxes to create your new section. For more information regarding this screen, click the Help button in the top right corner of the screen.
Once you create the section, if there are no errors, the Section Detail screen opens, showing the source detail for this section.
Note: Section names must be unique for the section that you want to add. The name can only consist of alphanumeric characters, spaces, dashes (-), and underscores (_). You cannot change the name of a section once you have created it.
Testing your section
Once you create the section, we recommend you test the connection to confirm that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can connect to the server that stores the content using your access method. Testing the connection verifies that the user ID, password, and path information are valid by connecting to the specified system.
Note: The Test Connection button is found in the top right corner of many screens in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. We highly recommend you use this button to test connections whenever you create or change parameters that affect connectivity (for example: paths, transfer methods).
To test your section connection
From the Section Detail screen, click the Test Connection button.
The Connection Test screen opens.
The Connection Test screen displays the test results in a table. The table lists the name for the source server, the path for the section, and the success or failure of the test connection. The left side of the table shows what is being tested, the right side shows the results of that test. The Connection Test screen content changes, depending on what is being tested.
Creating a section version
Now that you have created a section, you may also want to try creating an initial version of the section on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.
To create a version
On the Section Detail screen, click the Get New Version button.
The GLOBAL-SITE Controller goes through the process of gathering content from the specified location and storing an initial version of it.
For more information, refer to Updating the content of sections, on page 2-21 of this chapter.
Modifying your section settings
Once you have created a section, you can return to the Section Detail screen at any time to change parameters.
To change your section parameters
- From any Publication detail screen, click the Sections tab.
The Publication Sections screen opens (see Figure 2.3 ).
The Publication Sections screen lists all sections for the publication.
- Click the name of the section you want to work on.
The Section Detail screen for that section opens.
- Make the necessary changes to any Section attributes.
If you make a mistake or change your mind, click the Revert button to undo any changes you have made to this section.
- Click Save to save your new settings.
Loading initial content into sections
At this point in our example, or if you are working with an archived publication, you can update the content for a section from its source, or you can create an edition. In non-archived publications, the publishing process updates the sections each time you publish.
To update the content of a section
- Start at the Publication Sections screen. You see your sections listed (see Figure 2.3 ).
- Click the Get New Version of Selected Sections button to begin the process of gathering new files from those sections.
The Publish Progress Display screen opens (Figure 2.7 ), allowing you to monitor the progress of the process.
Publishing status is discussed in more detail in the section Displaying status, on page 2-26 , later in this chapter.
Remember, it is still necessary to specify the destination for a section in order to actually publish any content.
To the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, a subscriber describes a single system that is the target for delivering the contents of one or more of the sections belonging to a publication. There are two types of subscribers for your publications: server subscribers, which can a server or a virtual server (also known as origin servers in EDGE-FX Cache) and cache subscribers. For more information about EDGE-FX Cache and cache subscribers, please see #1039102 Working with EDGE-FX Cache and cache subscribers, on page 3-15 .
Defining server subscribers
The GLOBAL-SITE Controller delivers your publication to a server subscriber. A server subscriber can be a server or a virtual server (see #1033455 Setting up a virtual server subscriber, on page 3-13 ) if the BIG-IP Controller is part of your network setup. (See #1032908 Creating a BIG-IP Controller on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, on page 3-12 .) For the files to be delivered successfully, you must provide the controller with:
- The specific path (server and directory) where content is delivered
- The transfer method by which the content is delivered
This is done when you add a subscriber, but can be changed at any time from the Subscriber Detail screen.
In the example so far, you have defined your web site as a group of sections and created a single publication to manage them as a group. Now you have to specify which servers will receive the publication.
You also have one or more web servers that need to receive that content. You need to specify the exact relationship between each section and each web server.
To add a subscriber
- From any of the Publication detail screens, click the Subscribers tab.
The Publication Subscribers screen opens.
- In the Add subscriber type box, leave Server (the default).
- Click the Add a Subscriber button.
The Add Subscriber screen opens.
- Make the necessary changes as required. For more information regarding this screen, click the Help button in the top right corner of the screen.
- Once the subscriber is created, you can click the Test Connection button to verify that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can successfully log into the specified server using the user account and locate the specified path(s). This is a good thing to do at this point and any time you make changes to the subscriber definition.
Defining a distributor
If you want to use a secondary GLOBAL-SITE Controller to distribute to remote subscribers, you need to set it up and add it to the primary GLOBAL-SITE Controller as a distributor. Secondary GLOBAL-SITE Controllers also need to be configured so that they are aware of, and can communicate with, the primary controller. To do this, you set up and add the primary controller as a distributor to the secondary controllers as well.
To add a distributor from the primary GLOBAL-SITE Controller
- On the navigation panel, under Distribution, click Add a Distributor.
The Add a Distributor screen opens.
- Fill in the boxes as required. For more information regarding this screen, click the Help button in the top right corner of the screen.
- Repeat these steps for each distributor you wish to add.
To add a distributor from the secondary GLOBAL-SITE Controller(s)
- On the navigation panel, under Distribution, click Add a Distributor.
The Add a Distributor screen opens.
- Fill in the boxes as required using the primary controller's name and identifier. For more information regarding this process, click the Help button in the top right corner of the screen.
- Repeat these steps on each secondary controller you added to the primary controller.
- Once the distributor is created, you can click the Test Connection button to verify that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can successfully log into the specified server using the user account and locate the specified path(s).
All the new distributors can be found on the GLOBAL-SITE Distribution List; new distributors are added at the bottom of the list.
Once you have both your primary and secondary distributors set up, you can easily specify a distributor for any subscriber that you add. See To add a subscriber, on page 2-18 in this chapter for details on adding a subscriber.
To add a distributor with a subscriber
- Add the subscriber as you would normally. See To add a subscriber, on page 2-18 of this chapter for details.
- In the GLOBAL-SITE Distributor box, select the distributor that you want to use for this subscriber.
- Fill in the boxes as required, and click Add.
This adds the new subscriber and opens the Subscriber Detail screen.
- On the Subscriber Detail screen, click Test Connection to verify that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can successfully log into the remote server.
Running a connection test verifies that access can be established with the distributor using the user ID, password, and path information that you provided.
So far, we have discussed how content is organized into sections, how sections are organized into publications, and where those publications go. Now we need to look at the process of capturing a consistent set of content to be published to one or more subscribers (servers).
Within the publication cycle, there are two independent activities:
- Updating the content of sections
- Delivering the content to subscribers
These two activities are typically executed together, but they do not have to be.
To gather new content for an archived publication, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller makes a copy of the content on the specified source server. The copy is stored as a version of the section. For ease in tracking, versions are numbered, starting with 1 the first time a new section is updated.
For archived publications, there are four ways to update a section's content at any time. Each method opens the Publish Progress Display screen.
- From the Publication Sections screen, click the Get New Version of Selected Sections button.
- From the Section Detail screen, click the Get New Version button.
- From the Publication Editions screen, click Create Edition. On the Create a New Editions screen, select the Get a new version option from the version box and click the Create Edition button.
- From the Publication Editions screen, click the Deliver Edition button. On the Deliver screen, select Create new Edition from the Edition box, and click the Deliver Edition button. (This also publishes the newly retrieved files.)
In all cases for an archived publication, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller examines the directory tree specified by the combination of its staging server name, user ID, and path. The GLOBAL-SITE process ignores any exception directories on the path, includes or excludes the specified file extensions, and compares the content to the most current version in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller's versioned section. This process gathers: any new files; any files with different (not necessarily newer) modified timestamps; and any files that are a different size, and stores them in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. The number of new or changed files is displayed on the Publish Progress Display screen.
If the GLOBAL-SITE Controller determines that the set of files is identical to the latest version in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller's versioned section, it does not create a new version.
The Section History tab on the Section Detail screen lists all versions currently stored in the section. (This tab does not appear on the Section Detail screen for non-archived publications.)
In the example, we have already stored two versions. You can view the contents of any version by clicking the number in the Version column.
Keep in mind that multiple publications can share a single section. For instance, an image could be used by numerous publications.
Creating the very first version of a section may take some time, as all of the content from the source must be copied to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller and converted into its stored form in the section. However, subsequent updates should be faster, as they first compare the date and time of all the files on the staging server with those stored in the latest version in the section. Only new files, and those that have different timestamps or sizes, are copied into the section.
The next section reviews the publication process step-by-step so that you can better understand how the GLOBAL-SITE Controller works.
Tip: An important reason not to update section content automatically, as part of the content delivery process, is so that the content being delivered is not inadvertently different from what is expected. When you update sections prior to delivery, the exact contents of that version are frozen and remain independent of any possible changes made to the files on the staging server for that section.
The publication process includes a number of distinct phases. The overall flow of the content distribution phase of the publishing cycle for archived publications can be seen like this:
- Create the edition
Define an edition and establish the publication settings that control this specific distribution process.
- Deliver the edition
Publish the specified edition to all subscribers.
There are two methods of creating a new edition. You can create a new edition automatically as part of a publication delivery, after you first check all section staging servers for new content. Alternatively, you can perform the section update and edition creation process separately. This method allows you to have more precise control over exactly what content is delivered.
For details of the non-archived publication process and the enhanced scheduling options, refer to the online help or to #1024160 Scheduling the publishing process, on page 3-2 and #1039658 Creating non-archived publications, on page 3-20 .
Creating the edition
The preparation phase involves defining exactly which version of each section in the publication will be published. This set of section versions defines an edition.
Once an edition has been established, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller creates a snapshot of all the parameters necessary to complete the rest of the process.
To manually create a new edition
- On the navigation pane, click List Publications.
The Publication List screen opens.
- Click the name of the publication for which you want to create a section.
The Publication Editions screen opens.
- From the Publication Editions screen, click the Create Edition button.
The Create a New Edition screen opens.
The Create a New Edition screen displays all the sections in the publication, with a Version box that lists the each section's version. The latest existing version (with the highest version number) is displayed first in the Version box. You can click the arrow at the right of the box to view additional versions, create new versions, or remove the existing version. You accept the displayed version of all sections by clicking the Create Edition button.
- Select the action you want for each section and click the Create Edition button. To accept the default version for all sections, click the Create Edition button without modifying the version boxes.
The Publication Editions screen opens, with the newly created edition added to the list. The new edition in turn lists each section it contains and which version of that section will be delivered.
The GLOBAL-SITE Controller automatically assigns both version and edition number, and increments each to the next higher value whenever a new one is created. Most listings also display the date and time they were created.
From the Publication Editions screen, you can click the section name in the edition listing to view the Section Detail screen for that section. Or click the version number and date for a section to view the Section File Listing screen for that version of that section.
Some of the publishing phases can be lengthy and are therefore designed as asynchronous processes. So that you can follow the process, the overall publication status is always displayed wherever the publication is listed. On any Publication detail screen you can see Status: Idle in the top left side of the screen just above the tabs. When the publication status is not Idle, you can click the Status message at the top of the screen to display the Publish Progress Display screen.
You can also access the Publish Progress Display screen at any time from any Publication detail screen by clicking the Show Details button.
During the Idle state, the screen refreshes itself infrequently. Once the delivery process has started, the screen automatically updates more frequently and provides more detailed delivery status.
Of course, you can use the Refresh or Reload button on your browser at any time to update the status on demand, or you can use the Stop button on your browser to stop the automatic updates.
Once you have set up all your sections and decided what versions you want to deliver to your subscribers, the final step is actually delivering the publication.
To deliver the archived edition to the subscribers
- From the Publication Editions screen, click the Deliver Edition button.
The Deliver screen opens.
The Deliver screen in our example shows that neither path has anything published to it yet. The Edition box defaults to the last edition selected in the Publish Editions screen. Consequently, you should double-check the Edition box before delivering, to ensure that you have the right edition selected. If necessary, you can change the edition displayed in the Editions box.
- For each subscriber, select the sections you want to include in this edition by checking or clearing the check box in the Include column next to each listed section.
Note: If there are two (or more) sections with the same path, and any of these sections are included for this delivery, then all of these sections will be delivered to the subscriber(s) even if you cleared the Include check box.
- Click the Deliver Edition button.
The Publish Progress Display screen opens.
To deliver a non-archived publication to the subscribers
- From the Publication Sections screen, click the Deliver button.
The Deliver screen opens.
- In the Action column, select the action to take for each section. Options are Deliver, Ignore, and Remove. Repeat this for each subscriber/each section listed on the screen.
Note: If you have two (or more) sections for the same subscriber with the same path, you must select the same Action for all of them. You will get an error message if two sections with the same path have different actions.
- For non-archived publications, click the Deliver button.
The Publish Progress Display screen opens.
On the Publish Progress Display screen, you can observe the overall publication status change through multiple states, reflecting the individual subscriber path states in the detail list.
Note that Figure 2.12 shows details from an early phase in the process, and the details are about the sections. For details on all publishing phases and status messages, see Interpreting phases in the status line, on page 4-22 and Using the Phases of Publication table, on page 4-25 of this guide.
Using the Cancel button
Sometimes either the section update process (getting new content) or publication delivery process needs to be stopped before it is complete. Perhaps a section source or subscriber becomes unavailable during the process and there is no point in proceeding further until the problem is corrected.
Whenever the publication state does not show as Idle, various control buttons are displayed on the detail status screens. The Cancel button is crucial.
The behavior of the Cancel button depends on how you have set up Error Handling on the New Publication or Publication Options page. If you set up the publication to Pause publishing, log the error and wait for user input, then clicking Cancel pauses the process at whatever point it is, and you can restart the process at that point.
If the publication is not set to pause publishing, clicking Cancel stops all processing activity. If the publication has not yet reached the Copying Updates phase, this resets the publication to Idle.
If the publishing cycle is stopped without any error indication and without having been manually stopped, clicking the Continue button should complete the publication cycle for any subscribers that have already had all section files copied to them by.
You can also try delivering again for the subscriber sections that failed, by clicking the Retry button . You can stop the publishing cycle with the Reset button , which restores the previously published edition and returns the publication status to Idle.
During transitions of the publishing cycle, you may need to know what is going on, what the status of the publication is, or how to tell if something has stalled or if it is still progressing. Table 4.1, on page 4-25 , lists the various activities or transition states, gives information about what should be happening, and includes suggestions on how to proceed if it is stalled and when to start over.