Manual Chapter : GLOBAL-SITE Administator Guide v2.0: Increasing Control over Publishing

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GLOBAL-SITE Controller

  • 2.1 PTF-01, 2.1.0, 2.0.0
Manual Chapter


Increasing Control over Publishing

Using enhanced publishing features

Once you have read through instructions on how to set up a basic archived publication, you will be ready to create your own publications. You may want to add some additional control to the publishing process, or you may want to create a non-archived publication. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller provides several features that help you administer and manage your various publications. Some features you can use to augment basic publishing include:

  • Scheduling the publishing process
    Scheduling the delivery to and activation of content on the subscribers allows you more freedom, offers additional control, and provides a consistent delivery of content to your subscribers.

    • Scheduled initiation of publishing provides options for daily, weekly, or continuous delivery of your publications.
    • Scheduled activation of new content offers opportunities for immediate or delayed activation after copying new content to the subscribers, and for activating content on all subscribers at once, in groups, or independently.

  • Working with BIG-IP Controllers and virtual servers
    The integration of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller with the BIG-IP Controller provides several benefits to controlling and maintaining site performance during content update. This feature gives you the ability to restrict web access to subscribers in conjunction with a BIG-IP Controller. This reduces the risk of exposing a possibly inconsistent mix of old and new content to web users during the update process.
  • Working with EDGE-FX Cache and cache subscribers
    Using the GLOBAL-SITE Controller as the content management appliance for EDGE-FX Cache eliminates the cache's polling process and keeps the cache informed of new content on the origin servers. This restores network bandwidth and enables the caches to have the most current content as soon as possible.
  • Creating non-archived publications
    Non-archived publications give you the option to trade content versioning for improved performance in propagating content. Non-archived sections do not leave versions of the file contents on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, but they do create version lists of dated files so that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can detect file changes. Using non-archived publications tends to provide a faster delivery of content to subscribers and requires less storage capacity.
  • Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent
    The GLOBAL-SITE agent enables limited remote administration of target servers. Using the agent gives you the ability to stop web services, register components, and reboot the server. The agent can also provide safer communication of passwords and content than FTP does, if you use its WebDAV capabilities.
  • Transferring files using a method that meets your needs
    The GLOBAL-SITE Controller gives you four different methods to transfer files: FTP, FTP-Push, WebDAV, and WebDAV-SSL. Each method has its pros and cons. For details, please see Understanding file transfer methods, on page 3-25 of this chapter.
  • Using exceptions to sections
    Creating exceptions to sections provides you with additional flexibility in designing and implementing your publications. Exceptions allow you to exclude a subdirectory from a section when publishing the section. In addition, extensions allows you to either exclude or include only those files with a specified file extension.

Scheduling the publishing process

One of the things that can save you time and add reliability to your updates is the ability to schedule the publishing of your content. GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller supports both 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 determine how and when the new content will be activated at the subscriber for the customer to see.
  • You can trigger delivery whenever there is new content using FTP-Push. See Section updates using FTP-Push, on page 3-35 .

    To understand the full extent of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller scheduling features, you should understand a bit about how publications are delivered to subscribers. In most cases, publishing happens in two phases: copying content from the source to the subscribers, and then activating the new content on the subscriber. When the GLOBAL-SITE Controller delivers the content to the subscribers, it is initially in a temporary location and not yet available to the viewers. Activation moves this content to its permanent location on the subscriber and makes the content available.

Scheduled publications

Setting up schedules for your publications can help automate the publishing of new content on a regular basis, make your update process less dependent on human intervention, and add a degree of regularity to the publishing process. The process of creating scheduled publications is simple and can be done when you initially create the publication or later in the lifetime of the publication.

Reviewing scheduling features

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller offers several features and choices for scheduling the publishing process. You can provide as much automation for your publishing as you want, and you can always pause the schedule for a publication or revise the settings at a later time. Some of the scheduling features include:

  • The continuous update process sends content updates (sections and publications) to your most out-of-date subscribers first, and continues the cycle until all out-of-date subscribers are updated.
  • You can set the schedule to run, or not run, for specific days of the week.
  • You can make changes to a publication only when the publication is in an idle state. However, you can pause the schedule at any time. If the publication is not yet publishing, you can immediately make configuration changes. If the publication is publishing, it continues its current process until done, and then pauses its schedule. When the schedule pauses, you can make changes.
  • On a scheduled publication, you must pause its schedule before you can do manual deliveries.
  • Scheduled updates publish automatically to out-of-date subscribers (which may be out of date because the last publishing process did not complete).
  • You can set delays for starting the publishing process and activating new content for all manual deliveries. Default times are configured and editable in the Publication Options screen.
  • If a publishing process runs longer than the scheduled interval, the schedule ignores all missed update times except the most recent, and automatically begins the missed update as soon as it finishes the current update. For instance, on a schedule with 5-minute update intervals, if an update takes 18 minutes, the scheduler will miss three update intervals (one at 5-, one at 10-, and one at 15-minutes) during the 18-minute process. But after completing the 18-minute process, the scheduler will start again without delay in response to the immediately preceding scheduled interval (the one missed at the 15-minute mark).
  • After you set the scheduling features for a publication, use the System Settings screen to turn on the GLOBAL-SITE publication scheduler so that scheduled publishing can take place. This screen also allows you to pause and restart scheduling for the entire GLOBAL-SITE system.
  • You can allow content changes to trigger publishing by using FTP-Push as your transfer method. For more information, see Section updates using FTP-Push, on page 3-35 of this chapter.

Using scheduling options

Most of the settings for scheduled publications and activation of content are made in the New Publication or Publication Options screen. For procedural details, see the online help for those screens.

The scheduling options available for initiating the publishing process include:

  • Manual initiation of the publishing process to begin immediately or at a later pre-determined time
  • Publishing that runs automatically one or several days a week
  • Publishing that occurs at regularly-timed intervals
  • Publishing at one or more pre-set times during the day

    Of course, you can override manual publication scheduling settings when you deliver the publication or edition. Use the Deliver screen setting to change the time or choose to deliver Now.

    On all the Publication detail screens, you have the option to pause and resume scheduled publishing.

    After scheduling your publications, you may want to look at the System Settings screen, where you can check or set the GLOBAL-SITE Controller system time and stop or start the GLOBAL-SITE scheduler. (Check the online help on that screen for details.) You may also want to look at the scheduled activation options available on the Publication Options and New Publication screens.

Scheduled activation of new content

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 into permanent, active files that customer viewers can access.

The GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller provides a number of controls over the content activation process. These controls fit into two categories:

  • Independent activation mode
    This mode is useful for a publication with more than one section, when it is important that new content from each section is activated on a subscriber as soon as possible, regardless of whether other sections are updated. (In controlled activation, all sections are copied before the activation phase begins.)
  • Controls for the controlled activation mode
    With these controls you can activate new content on groups of subscribers, rather than on all subscribers at once. Activating some subscribers instead of all at one time minimizes the disruption of the complete web site during content update.

    Whether your publication is working on a schedule or published manually, you can determine how the new content is activated on the subscriber. For manually initiated delivery of content, you can delay the activation of new content until a predetermined time or wait and give the go-ahead manually.

    Figure 3.1 Use the Publication Options screen to activate new content

    You use the New Publication or Publication Options screen for settings that determine how content is activated as part of the publishing process. The two major choices are:

  • Independent activation of sections on subscribers
  • Controlled activation of all subscribers or a group of subscribers all at once

    Controlled activation includes additional options:

  • Activating manually published content with a delay, with user input, or at a particular hour
  • Activating subscribers all at once, or half of them, or a quarter of them at a time
  • Activating subscribers through one distributor at a time

    The Deliver screen also provides the opportunity for independent activation of sections on subscribers.

    The Publishing Progress Display screen provides the Continue button so you can by-pass a publishing initiation or activation delay.

Comparing controlled and independent activation

In order to understand the independent activation features, it is important to understand the controlled activation process.

  • In controlled activation, the publishing process moves all the publication together through the process strictly one phase at a time. A new phase is not started until the previous phase is complete. Therefore, a section's content cannot be activated on a subscriber until all the content of the other sections have first been copied to the subscriber.
  • Independent activation allows each section of each subscriber to independently move into the activation phase as soon as that section's copy phase is completed.

    Imagine that you have files being made available for download from different sources. You may want the files to be made visible to the customers as soon as they are ready, rather than waiting until all of them are ready to become available. In this case, it is acceptable to activate files for a given section as soon as they are copied to a subscriber. You would want to use independent activation.

    Both controlled and independent modes of activation are available for either manual or scheduled publications.

Options for controlled activation

With the GLOBAL-SITE Controller you control how subscribers are activated. These control options are on the New Publication and Publication Options screens under Activating New Content. (For details on how to use these options, see the online help on either screen.) The default for activating content is that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller tries to activate all subscribers simultaneously.

You can change the default behavior and specify that only some of the subscribers should be activated together. In addition to all subscribers, you can choose one half or one quarter. This option is most useful in conjunction with control of the BIG-IP Controller.

When you are accessing some of the subscribers via a distributor, you can use the Activate through one distributor at a time check box to specify that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller should activate subscribers through one distributor at a time. If you use this option, the subscriber activation percentage specifies what fraction per distributor to activate together.

Working with the BIG-IP Controllers and virtual servers

A powerful feature of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller is the integration of publishing with the BIG-IP Controller. (As of this release, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports integrated functionality for the BIG-IP Controller versions 3.1 through 3.3.1. You may want to check with your vendor regarding enhanced compatibility in subsequent BIG-IP Controller versions.) Typically, BIG-IP Controllers are used to load balance an array of servers. You can increase your publishing scope and control over your publications if you set up a virtual server subscriber on the BIG-IP Controller, and use the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to control it and the nodes behind it as a single entity.

When the GLOBAL-SITE Controller accesses a virtual server subscriber on a BIG-IP Controller, you have the option to maintain the subscriber site performance by removing the virtual server nodes from user access while updating the contents of the site. The restriction of web access to subscribers in conjunction with a BIG-IP Controller reduces the risk of exposing a possibly inconsistent mix of old and new content to web users during the activation process.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide does not provide details on BIG-IP Controller functionality. You may want to refer to your BIG-IP Controller user guides for details of setting up the BIG-IP Controller and virtual server nodes.

Use the GLOBAL-SITE Controller browser interface to:

  • Set up a BIG-IP Controller as a virtual server
  • Remove unused BIG-IP Controllers
  • Change settings for current controllers
  • Mark BIG-IP Controller nodes as down during publishing

Guidelines for BIG-IP Controller GLOBAL-SITE Controller cooperation

Before you create a virtual server subscriber on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • The GLOBAL-SITE Controller must be configured on the same BIG-IP Controller interface as the virtual server nodes. This is typically the internal interface (the network interface through which a BIG-IP Controller distributes connections). In newer releases of the BIG-IP Controller, that interface must have admin access.
  • The BIG-IP Controller must have the bigorb-server installed for the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to talk to. (Your vendor may install it for you.) For security reasons, the bigorb-server responds to requests only from a GLOBAL-SITE Controller on an internal or admin interface.
  • The GLOBAL-SITE Controller must have FTP or WebDAV access to the virtual server nodes using the same node IP address that the BIG-IP Controller has configured for the virtual server that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller will in turn use to create a virtual server subscriber.
  • You need to define a virtual server on the BIG-IP Controller for port 2792 (for GLOBAL-SITE Controller to GLOBAL-SITE Controller communication, using the F5-GLOBAL-SITE protocol) if it will be used as a distributor for another GLOBAL-SITE Controller.
  • If the GLOBAL-SITE Controller (that you are using with the BIG-IP Controller) is to be used as a publisher, you must configure on the BIG-IP Controller a virtual server to it for port 443 (HTTPS) for access to the web browser. You will probably also need a secure NAT (SNAT) for the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to get FTP access to systems via the BIG-IP Controller, such as section sources.
  • Once you have completed the preceding tasks, you need to inform the GLOBAL-SITE Controller about the BIG-IP Controller via the Add a BIG-IP screen, which will also indicate whether communication works or not.

Creating a BIG-IP Controller on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

To add a new BIG-IP Controller to the GLOBAL-SITE system, use the Add a BIG-IP screen (from the navigation pane, click Add a BIG-IP). You can add a BIG-IP Controller only if the BIG-IP Controller is up and available locally or through a distributor.

To add a BIG-IP Controller

  1. Type the name of the BIG-IP Controller that you want to add. This is the internal IP address, or alias of the BIG-IP Controller.
  2. Type a description for the BIG-IP Controller. This identifier may make it easier for you to recognize each controller.
  3. Select a BIG-IP distributor from the list of available controllers.
  4. Click the Add button to add this BIG-IP distributor.
    The BIG-IP List screen displays.

    Once you have added the BIG-IP Controller, you can see it listed on the BIG-IP List screen, where you can delete any controller that has no references. You can also review or change the BIG-IP Controller settings on the BIG-IP Detail screen. If the BIG-IP Detail screen does not show any virtual servers, then the BIG-IP Controller is set up incorrectly.

Figure 3.2 The BIG-IP Detail screen

Setting up a virtual server subscriber

If you have one or more BIG-IP Controllers set up on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, you have the option of setting up a virtual server subscriber. If the GLOBAL-SITE Controller is not aware of any BIG-IP Controllers, your option is to set up a normal server subscriber. To set up any server, start with the Publication Subscriber screen.

Figure 3.3 Selecting a virtual server subscriber on the Publication Subscriber screen

To add a new subscriber

  1. From the Add subscriber type box, select Virtual Server.
  2. Click the Add a Subscriber button.
    The Add Virtual Server Subscriber screen displays.
  3. Fill in the form with subscriber access details, sections to include, and section paths.
  4. Click Add.

Marking BIG-IP Controller nodes as down while updating content with the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

When you publish content to a virtual server subscriber, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can have the BIG-IP Controller disable web access to the individual nodes of the virtual server while the GLOBAL-SITE Controller is activating the content. This prevents web clients from seeing a mix of old and new content. Once the content has been successfully activated, the BIG-IP Controller is instructed to re-enable web access. Use the BIG-IP Virtual Server Control options on the Publication Options screen for these settings.

Figure 3.4 BIG-IP Virtual Server Controls on the Publication Options screen

If you set up a virtual server subscriber, you can specify that 50% of the subscribers are to be activated together and that access to them be disabled during the activation phase. Using this method, no single virtual server node is enabled with a mix of old and new content at the same time. Because they are accessed via a virtual server address, any single subscriber may show old pages while the first files are being updated, but will then have a new page once the new content is available.

A final option, under BIG-IP Virtual Server Control, reduces the likelihood of mismatched content. The Time out persistent connections check box under BIG-IP Virtual Server Control can temporarily enable simple persistence before disabling any of the nodes. This helps to lock each web user into a single node and reduce the chances that a BIG-IP Controller will load balance the user from a system with old content to one with new content.

If you choose the Independent Activation mode, the BIG-IP Controller is instructed to disable and re-enable web access for each subscriber section independently. We do not recommend that you use the persistence option in conjunction with independent activation mode.

Working with EDGE-FX Cache and cache subscribers

As an administrator performing routine publication management you can populate or expire cached content on the EDGE-FX Cache from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. When the GLOBAL-SITE Controller completes publishing content to its subscribers (which the EDGE-FX Cache calls origin servers), it can immediately notify cache subscribers to update stored content from those servers. Integration between these products:

  • Improves content delivery: Newly-published content can be automatically cached before it is requested so content gets to the end-user faster.
  • Consumes less bandwidth: The cache is told when content has expired, eliminating the need for constant freshness checks.

    You can also create cache subscribers from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. Cache subscribers receive information on the status of new content from the controller. This eliminates the cache's need to poll the origin servers to check for new content, and consumes less bandwidth. The caches can then get new content prior to any request for that content, or can remove outdated content as soon as it expires.

    In order for the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to manage your cache, you must make sure that you have configured the EDGE-FX Cache to external validation mode. Please refer to the EDGE-FX Cache documentation for this information.

Guidelines for EDGE-FX Cache GLOBAL-SITE Controller cooperation

In order for you to effectively use the GLOBAL-SITE Controller and EDGE-FX Cache arrangement, you must ensure that both the GLOBAL-SITE Controller and the EDGE-FX Cache are configured to work with each other. In addition, you must be aware of certain details.

  • The EDGE-FX Cache must be configured to allow the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to manage it. See the EDGE-FX Cache documentation for information on how to do this.
  • The user must have permission for each cache operation. Permissions are set on the EDGE-FX Cache machine. See the EDGE-FX Cache documentation for information on how to do this.
  • Cacheable dynamic content will not be expired, however most dynamic content is not cacheable.
  • All content on the cache for a domain that is in external validation mode, must be managed (expired/populated) by an external agent (the GLOBAL-SITE Controller). If non-managed content for that domain gets into the cache, it will never expire.

Managing a cache from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

When setting up a cache subscriber, you have the option of setting it to expire content or populate content. Once you have entered the URL root and the section path, you need to choose between expire and populate:

  • Choose Expire if you want the cache to delete the content.
  • Choose Populate if you want the cache to immediately get new content (before a request is made for it).

    In order for the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to manage the cache, you must have the correct permissions set on the cache, and you must have correctly configured the EDGE-FX Cache. For details, please see the EDGE-FX Cache documentation and Guidelines for EDGE-FX Cache GLOBAL-SITE Controller cooperation, on page 3-16 of this chapter.

Creating a cache subscriber

There are three ways to create a cache subscriber in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. All are effective, however some are easier to do. Depending on the situation, you can:

  • Create a cache subscriber from a server subscriber
  • Create a brand new cache subscriber
  • Clone an existing cache subscriber

Creating a cache subscriber from a server subscriber

Ideally you will create your cache subscribers after you have already created your server subscribers. This way you can make sure you have created a cache subscriber for each content server that you have a cache for. It also saves you time, as some of the settings will already be filled in with the correct information.

To create a cache subscriber from a server subscriber

In order to follow this procedure, you must have already created a server subscriber. Please see #1025293 To add a subscriber, on page 2-18 of this guide for more information.

  1. From the Subscriber Detail screen of the server subscriber you are creating a cache subscriber for, click the Create Cache button at the bottom of the screen.
    The Cache Subscriber Detail screen opens with the Section column and Path boxes already filled in.
  2. Complete the settings as necessary. For questions about the URL Root, see Determining a URL Root, on page 3-20 . Click the Help button for this screen for additional information.

Creating a new cache subscriber

Use this procedure if you are creating a cache subscriber that is not based on a server or virtual subscriber. When you create a new cache subscriber you have to fill in all the fields and paths manually. You must make sure you enter paths and directories exactly or the GLOBAL-SITE Controller will not be able to contact the cache.

To create a new cache subscriber

  1. From any of the Publication detail screens, click the Subscribers tab.
    The Publication Subscribers screen opens.
  2. In the Add subscriber type box, select Cache.
  3. Click the Add a Subscriber button.
    The Add a Cache Subscriber screen opens.
  4. Fill in the information as required.
    For questions about the URL Root, see Determining a URL Root, on page 3-20 . For more details regarding this screen, click the Help button in the top right corner of the screen.
  5. 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 manage the specified domain. This is a good thing to do at this point and any time you make changes to the subscriber definition.

Cloning a cache subscriber

Before you can clone a cache subscriber, you must already have a cache subscriber created. The list of subscribers is found on the Subscribers tab. You cannot have exact duplicate of any subscriber, therefore when you clone a cache subscriber the Subscriber box and the Cache box will be cleared and you will need to provide new information for these boxes. Change any other boxes on the screen as necessary.

To clone a cache subscriber

  1. From the Cache Subscriber Detail screen, click the Clone button at the bottom of the screen.
    A new Cache Subscriber Detail screen opens. All the boxes have data except for Subscriber and Cache.
  2. Enter a new name in the Subscriber box for this cache subscriber. You can use only alphanumeric characters, spaces, dashes (-), and underscores (_).
  3. Enter a new host name in the Cache box.
  4. Change the data in the other boxes as necessary.
  5. Click Update to save your new subscriber.

Determining a URL Root

The URL Root is entered on the any of the cache subscriber screens (Add a Cache Subscriber and Cache Subscriber Detail). When a URL Root and a Section Path are combined, they create a complete URL that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller sends to the cache subscriber. This URL tells the cache subscriber where to find new content (populate) or which old content to delete (expire).

You have certain URLs that you manage on the origin (content) servers whose content may be cached. These URLs have a root that is the same for each URL. It is this root that you will enter in the URL Root box on the Cache Subscriber screen. The URL Root must contain the protocol and domain of the website. For example:

URLs to manage:*.**.**.*

URL Root to create:

Section Paths:

Creating non-archived publications

Non-archived publication is basic, fundamental content replication. It takes content directly from the user's source and moves it directly to the location where it can be accessed by the customer-viewers. It does not keep copies of the content on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Non-archived publication uses the same process as archived publications to determine which files have changed since the last publication. Once it determines which files have changed, it copies the new files to the subscribers and activates them. Activating files is the process of changing them from temporary status, not viewable by users, to permanent and available to the viewer on the subscriber.

Non-archived publication is the right choice when you are looking for speed of publishing over guaranteed backup and the ability to revert to a previous version of a publication. Because the GLOBAL-SITE Controller does not keep copies of the files, the publishing process is not constrained by the size of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller disk, but only by the subscriber capacity.

Looking at benefits of non-archived publications

Non-archived publishing retains many of the benefits of archived publishing:

  • The GLOBAL-SITE Controller still replicates only content that has changed since the last publishing cycle.
  • You can cancel the process at any time.
  • Files are still moved through a secure channel to all distributors.
  • You can schedule publishing.
  • You can configure the publishing process to pause or continue when encountering errors.

Planning for non-archived publications

For your planning purposes, 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.

To change an archived publication to a non-archived publication, you need to recreate the publication with a new name, and then delete the old one.

Considering the details of non-archived publishing

Before creating non-archived publications, there are a few things you might want to think about. These details can affect the efficiency and performance of your non-archived publications.

  • How do you organize your files and directories?
  • What is the usual size of your sections?
  • What is the typical amount of activity in your files?
  • What is the capacity of your subscriber server?

Organizing files and directories

Before copying content to the subscriber, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller reviews all content at the source, looking for things that have changed between the new content and the content the subscriber has. It does this by comparing a list of files, sizes, and dates (that are tracked by the GLOBAL-SITE Controller) to the list of files, sizes, and dates on the source. The time it takes for this comparison depends on how the content is organized. The fewer directories you have in the section, the less time it takes to complete the comparison. For instance, publishing fewer than 100 directories seems rapid, and publishing more than100 directories takes noticeably longer. Because the important element here is not the number of files but the number of directories, you may want to structure your publications with this in mind.

Reviewing section size

During the content copy, for each file that has changed, the entire file is copied to any distributors, and then to any subscribers. (Compare this to the archived publishing process, where only the changes are sent to the distributor, and the entire file is sent to subscribers.) Each file within a section is copied sequentially from the source to the subscriber. During this process, it is the larger sections that determine how fast the copy phase can go. Therefore, it is more efficient to have roughly equal section sizes. This will improve the performance of the copy process over having several small and one really large section.

This information is provided to help you set expectations based on your own file structure and organization, and not as a suggestion that you change your publication structure.

Checking file activity

During the update process, the directory list is created and then the files are retrieved. During the time that files are being copied to the subscriber, each file is compared to how it was at the initial comparison. If the file has been removed or becomes empty, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller ignores it, and does not copy it to the subscriber during the current publishing cycle. The subscriber keeps the old file, which will be updated on the next publishing cycle. The reason the GLOBAL-SITE Controller ignores it at this point, is that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller assumes the file may be in flux and possibly incomplete.

When you set up your publication, you need to watch for very active files, and be careful to schedule publishing for times when they are most likely to be static. If you publish when these files are changing, you may find that the subscribers do not get an updated version of that file. For additional details, refer to Scheduling the publishing process, on page 3-2 of this guide.

Assessing subscriber capacity

During the copy phase, the changed files are copied into a temporary directory of the subscriber. These files are not available to the viewers until they are activated. During this time, the subscriber server contains all the old content and all the changed content. Therefore, the subscriber server capacity must be large enough for the old content and the changes to co-exist temporarily.

Using procedures for non-archived publications

Creating, managing, and publishing non-archived publications is very much like dealing with archived publications. The New Publication screen is the same for archived and non-archived publications, however to make a publication non-archived you must clear the Archive publication editions and section versions check box at the top of the screen.

There are a few differences on various application screens. Most noticeable is the fact that when you are dealing with non-archived publications, you do not see the Editions tab as you do when working with archived publications. And, because non-archived publications have no editions and no versions, you will notice other small differences on some screens. These differences are noted in the online help pages for each screen.

One important difference is the delivery screen. Non-archived publications allow the following actions: Deliver, Ignore, or Remove for each section on a subscriber. You must choose the same action for all sections that share the same subscriber's path.

Note: Once you have created a publication, you cannot change its archived or non-archived state.

To create a non-archived publication

  1. Start at the New Publication screen. (From the navigation pane, click Add a Publication, or from the Publication List screen, click the Add a Publication button.)
  2. At the top of the screen, clear the Archive publication editions and section versions check box.
  3. Complete the settings as required and click the Add button.
    The Publication Sections screen opens.

    Refer to the online help for this screen if you need additional details. Remember that you do not have to specify all options when you create the publication; you can return later and set scheduling and error-handling options.

    Note: The Editions tab does not display, as there will be no editions of a non-archived publication.

To create a non-archived section

On the Publication Sections screen for your non-archived publication, click the Create New Section button.

The Create a New Section screen displays.

Any section you create here is automatically non-archived.

Procedures for dealing with non-archived sections are detailed in the online help for the specific screens. Most procedures are the same for archived and non-archived sections and the online help pages point out any differences.

Understanding file transfer methods

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller offers four transfer methods, FTP, FTP-Push, WebDAV, and WebDAV-SSL. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. This section of the guide will help you choose the right transfer method for your needs. Following the transfer method sections is a section detailing how to choose a port based on the transfer method you chose.

Warning: Changing the transfer method of an existing section can have serious consequences if the services you are talking to have different root directories.
For example, you will encounter a problem if you changed transfer methods from FTP to WebDAV and your FTP server had a different root directory than your HTTP server.
In particular, changing an existing section to FTP-Push requires copying the section's files to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. See #1037596 Switching sections in an existing publication to use FTP-Push transfer method, on page 4-11 of this guide.


The GLOBAL-SITE Controller functions as an FTP client and initiates contact with FTP servers where content is picked up. FTP is familiar to most users, is readily accessible, and available on all platforms. However, FTP does have its limitations, which include:

  • Opening a new connection for most commands, which increases overhead, and slows the operating system
  • Transferring passwords and files with no encryption or error checking
  • Requiring manual intervention on each subscriber to run CGI, and other normally executable files, because many FTP servers cannot set the execute permission on transferred files


There are two main differences between FTP and FTP-Push:

  • With FTP-Push, the machine associated with a section contacts the GLOBAL-SITE Controller when content has changed and pushes content to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller (the controller is the FTP server in this case). The content is stored on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. (For more information, see To add content to an FTP-Push section, on page 3-37 of this chapter.)
  • Once content is updated on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, an FTP-Push section can be set to trigger the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to push the new content out to the subscribers. If you set up your FTP-Push this way, you do not need any manual intervention to deliver the publication. FTP-Push has the same inherent disadvantages as standard FTP. (For more information, see Section updates using FTP-Push, on page 3-35 of this chapter.)


To use WebDAV (World Wide Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) to transfer files, you must either have a web server that supports it (IIS5.x or Apache HTTP Server with mod_dav), or use the GLOBAL-SITE agent. If you install the GLOBAL-SITE agent, you can use WebDAV to transfer files even if your web server does not support it. (For more information please see RFC 2518.)

WebDAV reuses connections, resulting in efficient use of the operating system and firewalls. WebDAV with digest authentication encrypts passwords and performs file checking, making it easier to discover files that have changed in transit. (For more information on digest authentication, please see RFC 2617.) WebDAV can maintain the execute permission on files.

To use digest authentication with a Windows 2000 server, the server must be configured as a domain controller. For more information, see Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL, on page 3-34 of this chapter.

For file transfers for either sections or subscribers, on Windows NT/2000 machines, you can use WebDAV if you install the GLOBAL-SITE agent. For more information, see Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent, on page 3-28 of this chapter. For subscribers, if you are going to use any agent actions you must install the GLOBAL-SITE agent, and you must choose WebDAV for your file transfer method.


WebDAV-SSL adds security to WebDAV file transfers by encrypting both passwords and files using secure socket layer (SSL) features. However, you trade increased security for file transfer performance. For more information, see Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL, on page 3-34 of this chapter.

Choosing a port for the file transfer method

You must use the correct port number for successful file transfer. Each transfer method has a default port as follows:

  • FTP = Port 21
  • FTP-Push = Port 21
  • WebDAV = Port 80
  • WebDAV-SSL = Port 443

    In general you will want to use the default ports. However, if you are using the GLOBAL-SITE agent, use the port number that you entered when you installed the agent (the default is 50,000).

Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent

When you install the GLOBAL-SITE agent on a server, it gives you the ability perform certain necessary tasks remotely from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. There are three tasks you can perform remotely when the GLOBAL-SITE agent is installed:

  • Stop HTTP Server before activating content
    Allows you to stop the web server on the subscriber when you deliver new content or components. Stopping and restarting the server allows the server to recognize new files. The ability to stop the server also allows you to get around locked files, as stopping the server unlocks the files.
  • Reboot machine after activating content
    Allows you to reboot the subscriber (server) so it recognizes newly registered components
  • Register components
    Allows you to register components of your web site that need to register with the operating system or the web server.

    The GLOBAL-SITE agent also allows you to use WebDAV as your transport mechanism even if your web server does not support WebDAV. WebDAV provides safer communication of passwords and content than standard FTP.

    You must install the GLOBAL-SITE agent on each Windows NT/2000 machine that you want to use it on.

    Once you have installed the agent on a section or subscriber machine, you will need to modify the settings for the section or the subscriber to enable its use. The Connection Test results have also been expanded to include information on the agent, where appropriate (see To test an agent for a subscriber or section, on page 3-33 ).

To install an agent on a server

Run the following installation on each Windows server that you want to install the GLOBAL-SITE agent on. You do not install this on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Following are step by step instructions for running global-siteagent.exe.

  1. Log on to the subscriber using an account in the Administrators group and exit from all other Windows applications.
  2. Connect to the setup program on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller from a browser on the subscriber. Use the name of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller in the following URL:


  3. On the opening screen, click Agents.
    The Agent Download screen opens.
  4. Click Windows.
  5. Select Run this program from its current location, and confirm it in the next popup screen.
  6. Read the Welcome screen and click the Next button.
  7. Read the license and click Yes if you agree to the terms.
  8. Read the acknowledgement screen and click Next.
  9. Accept the default destination folder or browse to select an alternative, and then click Next. The default destination folder is

    c:\Program Files\F5 Networks\Global-Site Agent

  10. Type the port the agent monitors. The range is 1-65535 and the default is 50000. You will use the same port number again, so please make a note of it.
  11. Type the directory to which files are delivered. This usually matches your IIS DocumentRoot directory. The default is:


  12. Select the hosts that can access the agent (it is safer to limit access to the IP address of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller):

    · all
    All hosts with a password can access the agent (the default.

    Only hosts in can access the agent.

    · IP address
    Only one host can access the agent (the hostname does not work).

  13. Select one or more of the following options to restrict the agent:

    · Restart the web server and reboot the computer

    · Register and unregister components

    · Deliver and activate files on this computer

  14. Add users and passwords in the Agent Password Manager popup screen.
  15. When you finish typing names and passwords, click Exit.

To enable an agent for a subscriber

This procedure is done on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller from a browser anywhere in the network.

  1. In the navigation pane, click List Publications.
    The Publication List screen opens.
  2. Click an existing publication.
    The Publication detail screen opens.
  3. Click the Subscribers tab.
    The Publication Subscribers screen opens.
  4. Click a subscriber in the Name column or create a new subscriber (see #1025293 To add a subscriber, on page 2-18 ).
    The Subscriber Detail screen opens. This screen has two tabs, Content Delivery and Agent Actions.
  5. On the Content Delivery tab, select the transfer method WebDAV.
    A default Port setting appears.
  6. Type the same port setting you specified when you ran the global-siteagent.exe program.
  7. Type a user ID. This should be the user ID you use for WebDAV access to this subscriber.
  8. Type a password. The agent uses the user ID and password to authenticate file transfers.
  9. Click the Agent Actions tab.
    If you selected WebDAV on the Content Delivery tab, then the box for Use Content Delivery connection settings is checked.
  10. In the Actions area, check one or more of the following boxes to remotely administer the services the agent provides to each subscriber. Note that the agent restarts all web services when finished.

    · Check Stop HTTP Server before activating content to stop the web services on the subscriber, enabling the agent to receive files and register components.

    · Check Reboot machine after activating content to allow the agent to reboot the subscriber to make it recognize newly registered components.

    · Check Register Components to allow the agent to register newly copied components on the subscriber. If the publication contains sections that have Register Components checked (on the Section Detail screen), then the Path field on the Subscriber Detail screen displays where components should be registered.

  11. Click Update if you are making changes to an existing subscriber.
    Complete the settings on the screen if you are creating a new subscriber. Click the Help button for more information on this screen.

To enable an agent for a section

  1. In the navigation pane, click List Publications.
    The Publication List screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the publication you are working with.
    The Publication Editions screen opens (for archived publications) or the Publication Sections screen opens (for non-archived publications).
  3. Click the Sections tab if you working with an archived publication. For non-archived publications you are already at this screen.
  4. In the Name column, click the section name or create a new section (see #1035176 To create a section, on page 2-11 ).
    The Section Detail screen opens.
  5. Select the transfer method WebDAV.
    A default Port setting appears.
  6. Type the same port setting you specified when installing the agent.
  7. Click Save.
    The Section Detail screen refreshes to display your changes.

To test an agent for a subscriber or section

It is a good idea to check your connections once you have made changes to a section or a subscriber to make sure that everything is working well before you start sending files.

To do this, click the Test Connection button found on either the Section Detail or Subscriber Detail screen.
The Connection Test screen opens.

There are several possible test messages, but the most common are:

  • The Contacting Agent on <server> on port <port number> line displays one of the following test messages:

    • Success
    • Error connecting to server

  • The Authenticating to Agent as <userid> line displays one of the following test messages:

    • Success
    • No agent present
    • Stop and start Server (OK or DENIED)
    • Reboot Server (OK or DENIED)
    • Deliver Files (OK or DENIED)

      · Register components (OK or DENIED)

Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL

WebDAV offers several advantages over traditional FTP:

  • WebDAV uses HTTP/1.1, which uses network connections more efficiently than FTP.
  • WebDAV can use either basic or digest authentication; digest authentication provides more secure password transfers. (To use digest authentication with a Windows 2000 server, the server must be configured as a domain controller.)
  • WebDAV can set the execute permission on files, enabling you to deliver and run scripts on every web server.
  • WebDAV on top of SSL can encrypt content as well as passwords.

    WebDAV-SSL offers one significant advantage over regular WebDAV: encrypted content files. WebDAV applies secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to both passwords and content files, adding significant security to file transfers. This level of security, however, adds overhead that reduces file transfer performance.

    Using the GLOBAL-SITE agent requires that sections use either the WebDAV or WebDAV-SSL transfer method. For more information, see Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent, on page 3-28 .

    WebDAV uses HTTP/1.1 to transfer files. If you have installed the GLOBAL-SITE agent, you can use WebDAV even if your web server does not support it. The web servers that do support WebDAV are IIS5.x or Apache HTTP Server with mod_dav. For more information on WebDAV in general, see

Section updates using FTP-Push

FTP-Push is a file transfer method to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller that is based on basic FTP. FTP-Push enables sections to push content to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. When using FTP-Push, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller acts as an FTP server. You can also configure FTP-Push sections to trigger the delivery of a publication.

FTP-Push has two distinct processes:

  • You can use FTP-Push to transfer files to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to await publication. FTP-Push sections contact the GLOBAL-SITE Controller and transfer files when content has changed.
  • You can use FTP-Push sections to trigger the delivery of new content to the subscribers, if you are using FTP-Push to move files to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Warning: We recommend that you not attempt to use FTP-Push if you are not familiar with FTP commands.

You must follow this sequence to create an FTP-Push section. First, create the publication (see #1024407 To add a publication, on page 2-7 ) if one does not already exist. You can share FTP-Push sections on more than one publication. Second, create a section and specify FTP-Push as the transfer method. Third, add content to the FTP-Push section (see To add content to an FTP-Push section, on page 3-37 ). (You can use FTP-Push in conjunction with a web development environment to FTP files directly to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.) Fourth, set up the FTP-Push section to trigger delivery of content to subscribers. This step is optional.

Note: Note that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller derives the user ID and path from the section name.

To create an FTP-Push section

  1. From the Create a New Section screen, select FTP-Push as your Transfer Method. (You must select the transfer method first when setting up FTP-Push.)
    The screen refreshes when you select FTP-Push and the only available boxes are Section Name, Description, and Password.
  2. Fill in the available boxes. For more information click the Help button on the top right of the screen.
  3. Click the Create button.
    The Section Detail screen opens with the modified information.

To modify an FTP-Push section

You can modify only Description, Enabled, and Password on the Section Detail screen for FTP-Push.

  1. In the navigation pane, click List Sections.
    The Sections List screen opens.
  2. In the Publication Membership column, click a publication name associated with the FTP-Push section.
    The Publication Sections screen opens.
  3. In the Name column, click the section name.
    The Section Detail screen opens.
  4. Make any necessary changes to the available attributes. For more information about this screen, click the Help button at the top right of the screen.

To add content to an FTP-Push section

You add content to an FTP-Push section by opening an FTP session on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller using the FTP-Push section's user ID, password, and path. Using standard FTP commands, create and remove directories, add and remove files.

Warning: We recommend that you not attempt to use FTP-Push if you are not familiar with FTP commands.

  1. Start an FTP client (not on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller) on the machine with the content and open a connection to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.
  2. Log in using the user name and password you specified when you created the section.
  3. Use the FTP command PUT to deliver files to the correct directories on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller machine that is publishing the content. (You may have to use the FTP command MKDIR to make directories before you copy files to them.)
    The files are transferred to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller machine.

    Note: If you are using a graphical user interface for FTP, follow your software's directions for moving files.

To retrieve a previous file version from an archived FTP-Push session

You can use FTP to retrieve files from a previous version of an archived FTP-Push section.

  1. Using FTP, log on to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller using the FTP-Push user ID and password.
  2. Create the FTP version directory by appending a plus sign (+) and the version number to the FTP-Push section path.

    /<section name>+<version#>


  3. Use FTP to change the working directory to the FTP version directory.

Setting up FTP-Push to trigger section delivery

If you set up an FTP-Push section in a publication to trigger delivery, once the FTP file delivery is complete for that section and the FTP session is logged off, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller delivers all the sections of that publication to the subscribers.

You may have five sections with content that comes in at different times, but you want to publish all the sections concurrently after they all have updated content.

To control when FTP-Push sections publish, you can set up a section that has no content. You configure only this section to trigger delivery (see To use an FTP-Push section to trigger a publishing cycle following). When you are ready to deliver the publication, you transfer a dummy file to this section, triggering the delivery of all sections for that publication to the subscribers.

Delivery of a publication to subscribers starts after FTP logout. How long after FTP logout depends on how you set Initiate ___ minutes after FTP logout on the Publication Options screen. If other FTP sessions log in before the delay times out, the timer starts anew after that session logs out.

If you do not want to use FTP-Push to trigger delivery, you have the option of starting the delivery manually or on a schedule (see Scheduled activation of new content, on page 3-5 ).

Warning: FTP-Push will not trigger delivery until after FTP logout. If another FTP session starts before Initiate ___ minutes after FTP logout times out, the timer will reset and won't restart until after the current FTP session logs out. If FTP sessions keep logging in before the timeout, it is possible to never propagate the section.

To use an FTP-Push section to trigger a publishing cycle

  1. In the navigation pane, click List Publications.
    The Publication List screen opens.
  2. In the Name column, select an existing publication.
    A Publication detail screen opens.
  3. Click the Pub. Options tab.
    The Publication Options screen opens.
  4. Under Initiating Publishing Process, click the FTP-Push button to choose FTP-Push to trigger publishing.
    The Initiating Sections box becomes available.
  5. Click the FTP-Push section(s) that you want to trigger a publishing cycle for this publication. To select more than one name, hold down the Shift or Ctrl key as you click.

    If you are using a dummy page to trigger publishing select only that section. (See Setting up FTP-Push to trigger section delivery, on page 3-38 of this chapter.)

  6. If you want to delay delivery after the FTP session logs off, type the number of minutes (0-60) you want to wait.
  7. Click the Apply Changes button.
    The Publication Options screen refreshes.

Defining exceptions to sections

As you set up your basic publications and create various sections, you may want to create exceptions to the section. Exceptions instruct the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to disregard specific subdirectories. An exception is a way of excluding a subdirectory from being published as part of a section.

The most challenging part of setting up exceptions is planning the publication in advance, so that sections and exceptions work to your benefit. Remember that, when first created, each section includes all files and directories at the given path. To exclude a subdirectory from the section, you must clear the box for that subdirectory. Note that you cannot exclude files, only directories, on the Section Browser screen. See To include or exclude file extensions, on page 3-43 for information on listing file extensions to include or exclude.

Creating exception paths

There are two ways to create exception paths. For one you can browse the directories, for the other, you will need to know the directory path that you want to exclude.


In this example, the source directory /home/webcontent/testsite contains a subdirectory /home/webcontent/testsite/images that we want to manage with a separate section.

Assuming you have already created your initial section, start at the Section Detail screen to create an exception path (in our example, it is sec1).

Figure 3.5 The Section Browser screen, clear boxes for exceptions

To create an exception using the Section Browser screen

Start at the Section Detail screen.

  1. Next to the Path box, click the Browse button.
    The Section Browser screen opens.

    This example assumes the path is already defined. The four boxes at the top of the screen display the content server address, the user ID and password needed to access the server, and the path.

  2. In the Path area at the lower left, the path appears in the top line: /home/webcontent/testsite. The remaining lines contain the names of the subdirectories in the path. Clear the box in front of the images subdirectory.
    The exception path appears in the Exception area to the right.
  3. To save your settings, click the Update button.
    The Section Detail screen opens again, with the exception path listed below the Path box.

To create an exception using the New Exception box

We recommend you use this method to create exceptions when you have a lot of directories. Start at the Section Detail screen.

  1. In the New Exception box, type the name of the directory you want to exclude. For this example, it is /home/webcontent/testsite/images.
  2. Click the Add button directly to the right of the New Exception box.
  3. Click the Save button to commit the changes to the section.

Tip: In all cases, the directory path for all section sources and subscribers must already exist on the specified servers. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller does not create them. For subscribers, it can create subdirectories, but it cannot create the initial root path.

A little more about exceptions

You may have questions about directory paths when you are setting up multiple sections that use exception paths. The typical situation is that one section's exception is another section's root. Even in that context, that path must already exist, or you must first create it manually on the subscriber.


Say that section1 goes to /root/section1. It seems reasonable that /root/section1 must already exist. You cannot assume you have permission to make it, especially on NT servers where it might be virtual.

Including or excluding file extensions

Within the directories where you store your content, you may also have files that you do not want to publish or deliver to your subscribers. With the GLOBAL-SITE Controller,l you can exclude files by their file type for this reason. Or you may have all types of files in a directory, but only want to publish the .html files. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller also allows you to include only file types that you specify.

To include or exclude file extensions

  1. In the File Filter(s) box, type one or more file extensions, separated by spaces. For example, cgi gif html.
  2. Click Exclude to keep files with these extensions out of the path, or Include to add files with these extensions to the path.