Manual Chapter : GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide v3.0: Introduction to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller

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GLOBAL-SITE Controller

  • 3.0.0
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 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 screen for the GLOBAL-SITE Controller. This is the first screen you see when you start the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

Figure 1.1 Configuration Utility home screen

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 ).

Figure 1.2 The GLOBAL-SITE Controller Publication List screen

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 is blank.

The navigation pane, along the left side of the screen, provides links to both help and application screens. Click the headings Publishing, Distribution, 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 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 units and virtual servers, for adding or removing user accounts, and for setting or viewing system settings.

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 (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 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 7.0.

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

  • Windows NT® and Windows® 2000 operating systems
  • Microsoft® Windows® 95, 98, and Millennium Edition
  • UNIX platforms
  • Mac® Operating System

Web browsers

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

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer, version 6.0
  • Netscape® Navigator, version 4.7X

GLOBAL-SITE Controller features

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller offers a variety of management and control features for enterprise content delivery networks (eCDNs), content synchronization and distribution.

Enterprise content delivery network

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller, in conjunction with the EDGE-FX Cache plays a significant role in F5 Network's enterprise content delivery network (eCDN). F5 Network's eCDN solutions help position content closer to the end user, reducing latency and load to origin servers, cutting bandwidth usage and costs, and enabling quicker downloads of both static and media-rich content, including streaming media. For more information on F5 Network's CDN offering, visit our website at

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. (If you are running the GLOBAL-SITE option on the EDGE-FX Cache, you can create only non-archived publications.)

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 stops 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 Mac® 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.

What's new in version 3.0

This section introduces the main features that are new to version 3.0 of the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller, and tells where you can find detailed information about each feature.


You can now use HTTP to map your web site and send files to the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to prepopulate your EDGE-FX Caches. The controller searches the web site and gathers data from the web-tree structure of the staging server (it must be a web server). For publications that use HTTP sections, you can use the GLOBAL-SITE Controller to push content to your EDGE-FX Cache(s) instead of having the cache pull content from the origin servers. See Section updates using HTTP, on page 4-30 for more information.

Running the GLOBAL-SITE Controller as an option on an EDGE-FX Cache

If you purchase an EDGE-FX Cache version 3.0, you may opt to purchase a license to run the GLOBAL-SITE Controller on the same machine as the cache. With a GLOBAL-SITE Controller that runs on an EDGE-FX Cache you can create only non-archived publications. We support this option only for version 3.0 caches. (You cannot upgrade an existing 2.2 or earlier cache to support this option.)

Enhanced publishing progress display

The default Publish Progress Display screen is now more concise, and displays just one line of status per subscriber. Therefore, the controller can display the publishing progress of large publications much more quickly. For more information, see the online help for this screen.

Setup utility

Setup utility is the new name for the First-Time Boot utility.

Finding additional help

In addition to this administrator guide, you can find this additional help and technical documentation about the GLOBAL-SITE Controller from the release notes and the online help.

Release notes

You can access the release notes for the current version by clicking Release Notes on the GLOBAL-SITE Controller home screen. 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 screen 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 major heading in the navigation pane (Publishing, Distribution, and System), links to 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.