Release Notes : GLOBAL-SITE Controller Release Note

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GLOBAL-SITE Controller

  • 1.1.0
Release Notes
Original Publication Date: 04/03/2000

Summary:

Contents:

Installing the upgrade

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller will be completely installed by an F5 Networks representative.  Following are the software only upgrade instructions.

These instructions assume that you have:

  • A GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.0 machine
  • A RedHat CD-ROM with a globalsite.tgz file and upgrade script on it
  • A RedHat upgrade kickstart floppy.

Instructions:

  1. Insert the CD-ROM and upgrade kickstart floppy disk into the appropriate drives and reboot the machine.
  2. If for some reason the machine does not go into the kickstart upgrade process, you may need to change the boot sequence in your BIOS settings. To do this,:
    1. Reboot the machine, and when you see Press DEL to enter SETUP at the bottom of the screen, press the Delete key.
    2. Select BIOS FEATURES SETUP and scroll down to the boot sequence field.
    3. On your keyboard, use the plus and minus keys (+ and - ) on the keypad to change the sequence to A,CDROM,C.
    4. On your keyboard, press Esc to return to the main menu, then F10 to save and exit, and type Y to save to CMOS and exit.
  3. About half-way through the installation process, you see a window titled Customize Packages to Upgrade.  Choose NO, since the kickstart file knows which files it needs to upgrade.

  4. If you see a screen titled Kudzu telling you that it has detected a new device, ATI: 3D Rage IIC AGP, you can either choose Ignore, or wait for the screen to time out.

  5. When you see the screen showing completion of upgrade, remove both the CD-ROM and the floppy from the drives, and press Enter to reboot.

    Note:  You may need to wait for the machine to start shutting down before you are able to remove the CD-ROM from the drive.

  6. When the machine finishes rebooting, log on as root (if you need your password, contact your support service).

  7. Type: mount /mnt/cdrom .

  8. Type: /mnt/cdrom/gsite/upgrade .
    This takes you through the upgrade procedure, and prompts you for the following items:
    • Passphrase-If you chose to encrypt the private key with a passphrase on the original installation, then you are prompted for that passphrase when the GLOBAL-SITE administrative web server is restarted.
    • SSH configuration - SSH is configured on your machine. You may restrict SSH access to your machine by editing the file /etc/sshd_config and adding the line: AllowHosts host1 host2 , where host1, host2, and so on, are the hosts that you would like to allow access to your machine. Otherwise, any host will be allowed access.

What's new in this version

This section provides a concise look at enhancements included in the release.

New features and enhancements

  • BIG-IP Controller integration
    GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller version 1.1 introduces the first step in integration with BIG-IP Controllers and support for scheduling publishing processes.  BIG-IP Controller integration provides several benefits to controlling and maintaining site performance during content update, and introduces a number of new controls over the content activation process.  Content activation (known as the commit phase in the command line utility) is one of the final steps in publishing: it occurs after the copying phase, and is when the GLOBAL-SITE Controller changes the temporary files on the subscriber to permanent, active files that customer viewers can access.  For details, see Chapter 3 of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide.
  • Non-archived publications
    Prior to this version, the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller has been used as a content version control system as well as for propagation of content from section servers to subscriber servers.  In version 1.1, we introduce non-archived publication, which gives GLOBAL-SITE customers the option to trade content versioning for improved performance in propagating content.

    When creating a new publication, you can now choose whether the publication will be archived.  Archived publications include only archived sections.  For non-archived sections, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller does not create or keep versions of the file contents, but it does create and keep version lists of dated files so that it can detect changed files.  With these version lists, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller can store enough information to determine when files have been changed, added, or deleted, without having to keep copies of all the various versions of all the files.   For details, see Chapter 3 of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide.
  • Scheduled publishing
    The GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller now supports scheduled delivery and activation of new content.

    You can set up publishing to occur at regular, predetermined times and at specific timed intervals.  You can also start the publishing process manually, and have it delay until a later, predetermined time.  For details, see Scheduled Publications in Chapter 3 of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide.

    Along with the ability to schedule the publishing process, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller now allows you to determine how and when the new content will be activated at the subscriber for the customer to see.  For details, see Scheduled Activation of New Content in Chapter 3 of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller Administrator Guide.
  • Improved status and error reporting
    GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller version 1.1 supports improved status and error reporting, where you can select the type of error reporting you want, and choose to send e-mail alerts, notifying someone of publishing errors.  In addition, you now have the ability to compare publication editions (see the Publication Editions screen help) for archived publications, and to compare section version differences for both archived and non-archived publications (for details, see the online help for the Section Detail screen, History tab).
  • Multi disk support
    Version 1.1 increases the reliability of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller by adding a second disk.  This helps protect against controller down time and data loss in case of disk failure, and improves performance by providing two disks to share the work.  During installation, the First-Time Boot utility prompts you to choose whether to use the second disk for backup (mirroring the disks for a lesser amount space with error recovery) or increased storage capacity (appending the disks for a greater total of space).  

    Note:  There are different possible configurations of the GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller.  Check with your SE or sales person for configuration details and total available space on your GLOBAL-SITE Controller.

  • First-Time Boot utility
    The GLOBAL-SITE Content Controller installation is accomplished through the First-Time Boot utility (FTBU), a wizard that guides you through a brief series of tasks to set up the GLOBAL-SITE Controller.  For more details, see First-Time Boot utility.

Fixes

This is brief summary of the major fixes included in the release.

  • Create vs. Use Sections
    In GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.0, there may have been some confusion about creating a new section within a publication.  If you re-used a section name across publications, you might have thought you successfully created a new section when you actually used an existing section and changed the settings. 
    Remember that sections can be used in multiple publications. 
    GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.1 provides checks to keep you from re-creating a section that you already have.  The GLOBAL-SITE Controller now prompts you with an error message if you:
    • Try to create a section with the same name as an existing section
    • Try to create a section with the same path and source and login as an existing section
    You can still use the Edit Section List button to add a duplicate section (same path, same login) to your publication. 

  • Can't easily change address or other info for a subscriber
    In version 1.0, once an edition was published for a publication to a certain subscriber, you could not change the address, login information, or path for that subscriber using the browser interface.  You can now rename a subscriber node rather than having to delete and recreate it.  In addition, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller provides safeguards for your publication:  It checks that no subscribers reference a node before renaming it, and checks before allowing you to rename a node to a name that already exists.  In either case, if there is a conflict (subscribers for the node, or another node with the same name), the GLOBAL-SITE Controller creates a new node, rather than renaming the existing one.

  • Deleting Log Files
    We have changed the naming strategy of Log Files so that they now reuse the same name.  This eliminates the cleanup problem that version 1.0 had.  Now, the GLOBAL-SITE Controller clears log files at the beginning of a publishing process. 

First-Time Boot utility

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller will be completely installed by an F5 Networks representative.  The last step of installation, usually completed at the customer site, is to run the First-Time Boot utility. 

Before starting the First-Time Boot utility (FTBU), you should have this information at hand:

  • Host name
  • Aliases
  • IP address
  • Name server(s)
  • Search domains(s)
  • Gateway IP address
  • Netmask
  • Your time zone
  • Current time
  • Telnet password (optional)
  • Disk mirroring information
  • SSL certification information, private key passphrase
  • User password
  • GLOBAL-SITE password
  • GLOBAL-SITE identifier for the machine

Known issues

There are characteristics of the GLOBAL-SITE Controller, version 1.1, that may affect your publishing.

  • Non-archived publishing ignores file names with an embedded linefeed character.
    Non-archived publications tolerate removing files during the publishing process.  However, they cannot parse a file name with an embedded linefeed character.  When a non-archived publication encounters a file name with an embedded linefeed character, it treats that file as though the file has been removed, and successfully finishes the publishing without copying the file.  (Archived publications parse these file names correctly, but report an error if a file is removed during this parsing.)

  • Non-archived publishing does not show updating section progress  
    For non-archived publications, the Publish Progress Display screen for the updating sections phase does not update frequency may not show the progress that is taking place.  During the update process, the File Listing and MB areas on the screen remain at zero until the process is complete.  Because the total elapsed time for non-archived delivery is much faster, this may not be a significant amount of time, but it could be noticeable if you are waiting for a sign of progress.

  • "File no longer exists" 
    During the update process for archived publications, if a file is removed from a source server during the update, the publishing process fails, and you see an error message that says, "File no longer exists."  You may notice this when running a scheduled publication.  You can avoid this issue by not modifying or moving files once the publishing process has started.

  • Cannot change path on subscriber you have already published to
    If you are working with a particular subscriber, that you have already published to, and try to change the server name, user name, and one of the paths, and save it, you get an error screen.  The GLOBAL-SITE Controller will get only part-way through the process.  The problem is in trying to change a path that you have already published to.

  • Must run manual publishing cycle after adding new subscriber to a scheduled publication
    When adding a new subscriber to a scheduled publication, you must run a manual publishing cycle before returning the publication to a scheduled cycle.  The process is:
    1. Turn off the scheduler for the publication.  (Use the Pause Schedule button on the Publication Sections screen.)
    2. Add the new subscriber.
    3. Initiate a publishing cycle manually.
    4. Return the publication to its scheduled state, if preferred.
  • NcFTPd incompatibility
    GLOBAL-SITE Controller version 1.1 has compatibility issues with the NcFTPd server.  Attempting the publishing process using the NcFTPd server may result in errors.

  • Distributors
    • You cannot switch an existing subscriber to a new distributor that has not already published the same version that the subscriber has.  The subscriber and distributor must be in synch on a section-by-section basis.

    • For a particular BIG-IP Name (on the BIG-IP Detail screen), if you attempt to change a BIG-IP Distributor to one that is not associated with the BIG-IP Controller, it can take several minutes to receive the error message.

  • BIG-IP Controller integration
    • You cannot remove a virtual server subscriber when a section is disabled.  The solution is simply to enable the section before deleting the virtual server subscriber. 

    • Each subscriber name must be unique, regardless of which system or distributor it goes through.  With virtual servers subscribers, the node names must also be unique, across the entire GLOBAL-SITE system.


  • Section status can be confused with publication status.  For instance, when two sections are updated together, and one section completes, the Section Detail screen can report that the finished section is still updating.  This keeps configuration changes from being made for that section, and keeps you from using the section in another publication.

The GLOBAL-SITE Controller publishing process is constrained by the restrictions of your file system.
For example:

  • There are device names reserved for use by Windows NT®.  These include: AUX, CON, PRN, and NUL.

  • Be aware of issues with case-sensitivity on some file systems. For instance, on a UNIX server, you could have three different files:  mygoodfile, MyGoodFile, and MYGOODFILE.  If you published to an Windows NT® server, they would all be put to only one file, as NT is not case-sensitive.

  • If you have heterogeneous file systems, your file names must be able to work across the systems.

  • Be aware of the constraints on special characters in NT, and with Netscape.  NT does not allow some special characters, shown here in brackets [ \ / : * ? " < > # | ].

  • The only special characters that GLOBAL-SITE names can handle safely are the space and the underscore, shown in brackets [ ] and [ _ ].  Do not use other special characters in any global/SITE publication, section, or subscriber names:  no double quotation marks, no apostrophes, no slashes, no question marks, no dashes.