Remote configuration of ECDN edge server settings

Changing the configuration of an ECDN edge

After being installed, there are a few reasons why an enterprise might need to change the configuration of the ECDN edge. One of these reasons is a network change, meaning the internal IP or DNS server of the machine changes. Another reason might be enabling, disabling or changing SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) metrics monitoring. Yet another scenario could be enabling, disabling or changing the log forwarding as well.

Traditionally, to execute on changes to the configuration requires downloading the configuration file from the management portal, copying it to the hypervisor and importing it with the virtual machine instance. However, IBM Cloud Video has recently launched a new method, where changes can be directly made through the portal after the initial setup. The remote configuration feature removes the manual work that had previously been involved.

Starting a remote configuration

To initiate the remote configuration process, one first navigates to the edge server they want to change the configuration of. Afterwards, one clicks the “change configuration” link. This will walk the admin through a four step process.

The first is setting a location, which might not have changed. The locations are those already present in the account and can be given unique names. For example “Tokyo office A”, “Tokyo office B”, “Seattle office”, etc.

The second step is setting the domain name, or in this case changing the domain name. This will either be a custom hostname or a fully qualified domain name. Custom hostnames, which remove the hassle of managing DNS (Domain Name System) entries, places the hostname in an IBM generated domain. A sample domain might be “ecdn01.mycompany.deepcaching.net”, where the ‘ecdn01’ is the edge server name and ‘mycompany’ would be a name associated with all the edges from your company. These custom hostnames are automatically generated and can be renamed. In addition, IBM provides and stores the encryption HTTPS certificate. In contrast, companies can elect not to share encryption keys with IBM. In this scenario, the enterprise uses a fully qualified domain name and needs to manage the DNS entries of the ECDN edge servers on their internal DNS server. The servers will then use the customer’s domain name, such as “ecdn01.mycompany.com”. In this case, the enterprise also generates, stores the certificate and manually copies it to the servers.

The third step involves configuring the edge server. This can be either static or dynamic. If it’s dynamic, many of the fields will be left blank and addressed automatically. If the domain name is static, though, there are fields provided to fill out the Local IP, Netmask and Gateway as well.

There are several optional fields that give flexibility for network administrators: correct time settings using the NTP (Network Time Protocol) fields is important to ensure stream encryption, Log forwarding and SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) helps to monitor HTTP(S) logs and hardware CPU, memory and other hardware metrics.

The fourth step is choosing a method to configure the server and complete the setup. This includes the two old methods, which both involve downloading a tiny configuration file in a virtual CD format for VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V. The new “Update remotely” option is the recommended method, and the easiest. The only requirement is that there are no viewers currently using the edge instance before it gets reconfigured.

Once started, the status will show as “Pending Update”. For convenience, a notification will appear stating when the reconfiguration was started as well. This can be helpful for admins to estimate when the process will finish.

In the event the remote configuration fails, the system will automatically revert to the last working version of the settings. So if the server was misconfigured and the connection was lost, you could still deliver content using the edge without having to log in to the hypervisor and manually attaching the the configuration virtual CD to the virtual machine.

To note, the remote configuration feature requires the latest server release. That said, existing customers’ servers will be automatically updated to the latest in order to take advantage of this new feature.

Summary

The remote configuration function of ECDN simplifies a process that previously took more manual effort and more time to complete. It joins one of several, recent updates to the product, such as enhancements around monitoring network performance & status for ECDN.

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