Manual Chapter : GLOBAL-SITE Administator Guide v2.0: Introduction to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

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GLOBAL-SITE Controller

  • 2.1 PTF-01, 2.1.0, 2.0.0
Manual Chapter


Introduction to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

Welcome to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller is a network appliance that organizes and manages distribution and synchronization of file-based content and applications to local and geographically distributed Internet sites. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller is flexible, and has been designed to maximize your file management options. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller can:

  • Retrieve file content using a variety of access methods, or it can accept content that is delivered directly to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller itself.
  • Replicate content from multiple sources to one or more systems using a variety of delivery mechanisms.
  • Deliver content directly from a source to a target, or it can deliver content indirectly, through another GLOBAL-SITE Controller that has access to the sources.
  • Handle errors at multiple levels, with the goal of delivering complete, consistent sets of updates to all targets systems.

    The GLOBAL-SITE Controller uses a publishing metaphor, organizing your content as publications, and tracking the delivery of editions. When you log on to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, you can view the current state and status of your publications at a glance. You can see specific information about each publication, view or modify sections and versions, and update or publish any publication as easily as using the mouse to point and click.

Application tools

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller supports both a browser-based application and an administrative command line utility. The browser application provides access to all GLOBAL-SITE Controller features and functions. Figure 1.1 shows the Configuration utility home page for GLOBAL-SITE Controller. This is the first page you see when you start the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Figure 1.1 Configuration utility home page

The browser application

When you click the Configure the GLOBAL-SITE Controller using the Configuration utility link it opens the Publication List screen (Figure 1.2 ). This screen gives you an overview of your publications, the status of each, and a quick way to delete any publication. In addition, it provides a link to the Publication detail screens where you can view further details about each publication. Until you create a publication, the list screen will be blank.

Figure 1.2 The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Publication List screen

Figure 1.3 shows the Publication Editions screen, which shows details for the editions of each publication and provides access to the sections, section versions, subscribers, and publication options associated with each publication that you manage.

Figure 1.3 The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Publication Editions screen

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

The navigation pane, along the left side of the screen, provides links to both help and application screens. Click the headings Publishing, Distribution, BIG-IPs, or System to see summary help for that group of functions. Click any of the other options on the navigation pane to open the corresponding screen.

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

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


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

Operating systems

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

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

  • Windows NT® and Windows® 2000 operating system
  • Microsoft® Windows® 95, 98, and ME
  • UNIX platforms
  • Mac® OS

Web browsers

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

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

GLOBAL-SITE Controller features

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

Application and content synchronization

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

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

Version control

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

Site recovery and one-button rollback

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

Content and administration security

Built-in security mechanisms throughout the GLOBAL-SITE Controller protect Internet content and applications for transfer between the publisher and the distributor, then ensure proper delivery of content and applications to the production server. The browser-based administrative tool uses SSL to encrypt information passed between the browser and the GLOBAL-SITE administrator web server. Transferring files using WebDAV with digest authentication or SSL provides additional security as content files are passed between GLOBAL-SITE Controllers and sections or subscribers.

Visibility into the publishing process

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

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

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

Adaptable open systems and web publishing support

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

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

  • HTML
  • Java Scripts
  • Active Server Pages
  • Adobe® PDF
  • Self-registering DLLs
  • Microsoft Windows applications

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

Secure, succinct network traffic

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

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

  • The publisher sends to the distributor only the differences (file changes) between the current edition on the distributor and the new edition.
  • The information is encrypted by the GLOBAL-SITE publisher.
  • The information is transferred across the WAN only once, from the publisher to the GLOBAL-SITE distributor.
  • The distributor then transfers the whole edition of changed files to all the subscribers.

Environmental requirements for GLOBAL-SITE Controller hardware

General guidelines

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

  • Assemble the rack according to the manufacturer's instructions and check the rack for stability before placing equipment in it.
  • Build and position the rack so that once you install the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, the power supply and the vents on both the front and back of the unit remain unobstructed. The GLOBAL-SITE Controller must have adequate ventilation around the unit at all times.
  • Do not allow the air temperature in the room to exceed 40° C.
  • Do not plug the unit into a branch circuit shared by more electronic equipment than the circuit is designed to manage safely at one time.
  • Verify that the voltage selector is set appropriately before connecting the power cable to the unit.

Guidelines for DC powered equipment

A DC powered installation must meet the following requirements:

  • Install the unit using a 20 Amp external branch circuit protection device.
  • For permanently connected equipment, incorporate a readily accessible disconnect in the fixed wiring.
  • Use only copper conductors.

What's new

This section introduces the main features that are new to version 2.0 of the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller and tells where you can find detailed information about each feature.

Managing EDGE-FX Cache with the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 2.0 introduces web application management and integration with the F5 Networks EDGE-FX Cache version 1.5. (you may want to check with your vendor regarding enhanced functionality in subsequent EDGE-FX Cache versions). With this version of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, you can automatically send expire and populate commands to all your EDGE-FX Caches as soon as that content is available. This makes for a faster end-user experience, and saves bandwidth since the cache no longer needs to perform continuous freshness checks on content. For details, see Working with EDGE-FX Cache and cache subscribers, on page 3-15 of this guide.

Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent

The GLOBAL-SITE agent, when installed on any of your Windows NT/2000 servers, provides two important new features to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller:

  • The agent allows you to perform certain tasks remotely on any servers on which it is installed. With the agent installed you can:

    • Shut down web services before updating content so that you do not expose content in the midst of an update
    • Restart web services after content is updated
    • Register self-registering components
    • Reboot a server
  • The agent allows you to use WebDAV as your file transfer method even if your web server does not support WebDAV. With WebDAV you can send encrypted passwords and content. For more information on the advantages of using WebDAV, see the following section, Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL .

    For details about the GLOBAL-SITE agent, see Controlling servers with the GLOBAL-SITE agent, on page 3-28 and Understanding file transfer methods, on page 3-25 of this guide.

Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller now offers additional choices for file transfer methods with greater levels of security. You can now use WebDAV and WebDAV with SSL file transfer methods to retrieve and deliver data files. The WebDAV options provide two improved levels of security:

  • WebDAV always supports digest authentication for user IDs and passwords.
  • WebDAV-SSL establishes an encrypted channel for all data being transferred.

    With the WebDAV options, you can set execute permissions on files to deliver applications in the Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems.

    WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL offer several advantages over traditional FTP including: efficient use of network connections, more secure password transfers, the ability to execute permissions on files and encrypt content and passwords. For details, see Transferring files using WebDAV and WebDAV-SSL, on page 3-34 and Understanding file transfer methods, on page 3-25 of this guide.


Up to this point, the GLOABL-SITE Controller has published content by pulling information in from a source elsewhere, and then pushing it out to its distributors and/or subscribers. With FTP-Push, the FTP clients can push content to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller as soon as that content is ready. With FTP-Push, you can push content to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller using the standard FTP client. Since most content creation tools integrate an FTP client, you can push content to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller directly from your web development application, eliminating a step in the process of publishing your content.

FTP-Push sections can be used to trigger the delivery of new or updated content to subscribers. If set up to do so, once content is updated and the FTP session has logged off, the controller will deliver the new publication to subscribers. This, in conjunction with a content creation tool's FTP interface, allows full automation of the publishing cycle.

For details, see Section updates using FTP-Push, on page 3-35 and Understanding file transfer methods, on page 3-25 of this guide.

Improved path, exception path, and file specifications

With the addition of the Section Browser, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller gains a visual feature with a collection of benefits. The Section Browser screen is set up like a directory tree. You can use the Section Browser screen to select both the path and the exception paths for sections instead of having to manually enter this information.

The directory tree structure has the following advantages:

  • You have a better understanding of the structure of your publication because you can see how the directories and subdirectories are laid out.
  • You can browse the directory structure, so it is easier for you to set up and manage exception paths to publications.
  • You can click a check box to include or exclude a directory. You do not have to type in the path, which reduces errors and work.

    For details, see Defining exceptions to sections, on page 3-40 of this guide.

Improved error reporting

The log files in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 2.0 are now easier to read and provide more information. Now there is a single place to look for logs about all your publications (the System Log screen), a single place to look for logs about an individual publication (the Publication Log screen), and a single place to look for logs about a specific delivery of an individual publication (the Error Log screen). In addition, on the Publication Editions screen, you can click any date in the Last Published column to open the log for that edition.

The layout of the log file data make it is easier to read the log files and glean information from them. For details, see Understanding process logs, on page 4-19 of this guide.

Maintenance menu

From the command line interface you can run a system configuration utility to change many settings, including the GLOBAL-SITE Controller host information, time and date, passwords, the SSH configuration, and SSL certificates. Running this utility is more convenient than running the First-Time Boot utility because you can change just one or a few settings at a time.

For details, see Changing system settings using the System Settings screen, on page 4-17 of this guide.

What's new from version 1.1.1

The following features were new in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.1.1, but were not included in an update of the Administrator Guide.

XML provider

XML Provider for the SEE-IT Network Manager was introduced in version 1.1.1 of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. The XML Provider assists the SEE-IT Manager in collecting data on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller global configuration and physical system. The XML Provider uses an HTTPS agent residing on the controller to return data to the SEE-IT Network Manager in XML format. For details about enabling the XML Provider, refer to the documentation for SEE-IT Network Manager version 2.0 and later.

Removing unused editions

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller also provides functionality to remove unused editions. The Publication Editions screen includes a Remove Unused Editions button that displays a popup window to collect the information on editions that you want to remove from the publication. For more information, see Freeing up disk space by deleting editions and unused versions, on page 4-8 of this guide.

RAID status

In a mirroring configuration, disk failures were not apparent to users. Although sync errors are displayed on the console during boot up and initialization, the system would function as normal with one of the two mirrored disks. We have added a table in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller browser interface to display the current RAID status. For more information, see Changing system settings using the System Settings screen, on page 4-17 of this guide.

Compressing files in non-archived publications

We have improved the network throughput of non-archived publications by compressing the files that are copied to distributors.

Regulating non-archived publishing

We have changed the non-archived publishing process so that now the copy phase controls the number of processes that service the active publications. This method should ensure that the GLOBAL-SITE Controller does not experience problems under extremely heavy processing loads.

Finding help and other technical support resources

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

Release notes

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

Online help

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

  • PDF version of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide
    The Configuration utility home page has a link to the PDF version of this administrator guide. If you upgrade your GLOBAL-SITE Controller software at a later time, the upgrade may include an updated PDF version of the guide.

    A PDF version of this administrator guide is also available from the GLOBAL-SITE Controller technical support page at This site always has the most recent version of the Administrator Guide.
  • Getting started help
    Each item in the navigation pane, including Publishing, Distribution, BIG-IPs, and System, provides a basic summary of the related features.
  • Screen help
    Each screen in the GLOBAL-SITE Controller has an online help page that you can access by clicking the Help button at the upper right of the screen. The help page describes the screen you are currently working in. The Tasks tab gives brief procedures for how to use the screen, and the Controls tab lists each control on the screen and provides an explanation of what it does.

Technical support

The F5 Networks Technical Support web site,, provides the latest technical notes, answers to frequently asked questions, and updates to administrator guides (in PDF format). To access this site, you need to obtain a customer ID and a password from your F5 service engineer.