Edge Servers (Resource)
Edge server resources represent PCs running the Broadsign Control Edge Server application. In that way, edge servers are similar to player resources in Broadsign Control Administrator.
Edge servers are dedicated content repositories that players can use for better control over the bandwidth consumed by a network of Broadsign Control Players.
Note: Edge servers and players are unique resources in Broadsign Control in that they are both products (Broadsign Control Player and Broadsign Control Edge Server) and resources (player and edge server). As a convention, once you register one of these products, we no longer refer to it by product name, but by resource name.
Edge Server Usage
When a media file is requested and downloaded by a player using the edge server, the edge server will conserve a copy of the file locally, allowing any other playback PCs to retrieve it without going back to the Broadsign Server cluster.
The following diagram shows a Broadsign network configuration without edge servers, where five different playback PCs all request the same content:
For every playback PC that needs a piece of content, a request is made to the server, and the content is transferred. Since there are five playback PCs in the example above, this results in five requests and five file transfers from the Broadsign Server cluster.
The situation changes when using an edge server. Although all five playback PCs need the content, there is only one request and one transfer made from the main Broadsign Server cluster. All subsequent requests are handled by the edge server.
Assigning an edge server to be used as a player's content repository is achieved through player folders. In the Edge Servers tab of the Player Folder properties dialog, one or more edge server resources can be added and removed. Any players within that folder would then download their media files from those edge servers.
Edge Server Name vs Host Name
The hostname of edge server resources is their DNS name or IP address. This is the network address that all players assigned to use this edge server as their content repository will use to communicate with it. The edge server’s name is simply an identifier for convenience purposes and has no impact on network connectivity.
Edge servers normally use the standard Broadsign Content Transfer Protocol (CTP) for file transfers. This is the protocol used when a player system downloads content from Broadsign Server and would, therefore, also be used when downloading from an edge server, as well. The default port for the CTP protocol is 10805.
Note: Sometimes the edge server resource requests content from Broadsign Server cluster. In those cases, the edge server uses the industry standard File Transfer Protocol (FTP) instead of Broadsign's CTP. Broadsign pushes the content via FTP to the upstream location, which then delivers it to the edge server (typically, via satellite multicast).
If you select "Edge Servers" from the resource tabs on the left, then right-click anywhere in the work area, you will see this menu:
- Edit Edge Server: Opens the Edge Server Properties dialogue box.
- Add Edge Server Folder: Opens the "Add a folder" dialogue box.
- Edit Folder: Opens the Edge Server Folder Properties dialogue box.
- Download Report: Generates the Download report. See Download Report.
- Bandwidth Report: Generates the Bandwidth report. See Bandwidth Report.
- Incident Report: Generates the Incident report. See Incident Report.
- Network Health Report: Generates the Network Health report. See Network Health Report.
- Network Status Report: Generates the Network Status report. See Network Status Report.
- Service Panel: Opens the service panel for the selected edge server. See Service Panel.
For general information about adding, editing and deactivating resources, see Overview - Resources.
As with players, you need to register edge servers before you can use them as resources in your network. See Registrations.
To edit an edge server, use one of the following methods:
From the list panel, select an edge server. Then, from the view bar, select Edit.
- From the list panel, double-click on an edge server.
Edge Server Properties contain the following sections:
The Upstream Tab
If necessary, the login information of an upstream FTP site can be entered in the Upstream tab of the Edge Server Properties dialog. This only applies to edge servers using FTP servers, which are used for Broadsign Control to integrate with and utilize third party multicast solutions (typically over satellite).
The Sources Tab
The Sources tab in the General group of the Edge Server Properties dialog allows you to chain one or more Broadsign Control Edge Servers together. This arrangement allows the edge server concerned to obtain its content from one of the source edge servers specified, and to rotate amongst the sources if one of them is down.
You can associate a source edge server to your edge server by clicking the Add button in the Sources tab. This will cause a resource selector to appear, which will allow you to pick the source edge servers that you would like to associate to the edge server that you are editing.
The Folders Tab
Here you can view which player folders this edge server is associated to. All players within those folders or subfolders will request their content from the edge server. You can add or remove player folders that this edge server services by clicking Add or Remove.
Adding a new edge server to the network requires a new registration. Since each edge server is uniquely identified by their MAC Address, each registration needs to use a different MAC Address. Duplicate entries will be rejected. For more information, see Register a Player.
You can add a public key fingerprint to your edge server. This options helps when troubleshooting a problem with duplicate MAC addresses. See Duplicate MAC Addresses.
The edge server incorporates a simple HTTP server to respond to player emergency requests. Enable this feature only if needed so as to not open unnecessary ports in deployments that do not require it.
The edge server emergency message proxy, when enabled, will receive HTTPS requests from the players for x-html-packages on port 8888 and look for a specific HTTP header indicating the destination URL. The edge server will then asynchronously make the upstream requests to the Internet to fetch the x-html-packages by sending an HTTP HEAD every number of seconds defined in the Outbound request throttle field to the specified URL. The edge server will pace upstream requests for identical emergency message URLs to no more than once every number of seconds defined in the Outbound request throttle field.
Note: When installing an edge server with built-in HTTP server enabled, ensure that port 8888 is opened on your network.
Once an emergency message is downloaded, the edge server will serve it as a static file to all players. It will also deactivate it by removing the file, causing 404 not found responses to be returned to the player.
- If the response is anything other than a 200, the edge server ignores the response.
- If the response is a 200, the edge server follows up with a full HTTP GET. The contents of the URL response is sent to the players connected to the edge server and it is displayed in a browser, in fullscreen. The emergency message is now considered "active".
- The HTTP HEAD requests from the edge server to the remote server continue every number of seconds defined in the Outbound request throttle field until the edge server receives a response other than 200 (e.g., 404 not found). In that case, the edge server uses the response to deactivate the emergency message and return to the normal loop.
Note: When active, emergency messages interrupt the loop and play fullscreen.
An edge server may have more than one player requesting different emergency URLs and will process each in line with this.
For more information, see The Emergency Tab in the Configuration Profiles properties.
Edge server contacts receive email notifications when their corresponding edge server system goes into the MIA (Missing In Action) state, and when it recovers from this state. Edge servers poll Broadsign Server at regular intervals. Broadsign Server considers an edge server system to be MIA if it does not poll the server when expected, either because its network connection was interrupted, because the hardware running the edge server application lost its power, or because the edge server software application running on it exited abnormally. Broadsign Server proceeds to send an email to all edge server contacts informing them of the MIA system so that they may act to resolve any issues.
Contacts assigned to an edge server can be viewed in the Contacts tab of the Edge Server Properties dialog. Other contacts can be added or removed in this tab.
The Monitoring Tab
The Monitoring tab in the Edge Server Properties dialog allows you to associate incident thresholds to your edge servers, which will assist you in dealing quickly with any issues that may arise. Keep in mind that any incident thresholds set at the edge server level will override any applicable domain level incident thresholds.
You can associate an incident threshold to your edge server by clicking the Add button in the Monitoring tab. This will cause the Add Incident Threshold wizard to appear, which will allow you to select the incident type using the drop-down list and set the threshold's escalation options. The incident threshold that can be set on this resource is MIA.
The Configuration Tab
An edge server can have its settings, such as its poll rate or cache size setting, edited through Broadsign Control Administrator by assigning an edge server configuration profile to it. An edge server configuration profile is a template of preset service and parameter values provided by Broadsign Control.
In order to assign an edge server configuration profile to an edge server system, the profile must be linked to the edge server. This is done in the Configuration tab in the Settings group of the Edge Server Properties dialog, which can be accessed by selecting the “Edit Edge Server...” option from the edge server contextual menu. In the Configuration tab, push the Select button and choose the desired profile. When the corresponding edge server next polls Broadsign Server, it will apply the new configuration settings.
Note: While a remote configuration profile is assigned to an edge server, it no longer obeys its local configuration file. However, when a setting cannot be found in the remote configuration, the edge server falls back to its local configuration settings. In order to use the local file again, the remote configuration profile must be unlinked from the edge server by using the Clear option in the Configuration tab in the Settings group of the Edge Server Properties dialogue.
In the list panel of explorer view, each resource has a column selector menu. With this menu, you can configure the list panel to display information you want.
To access a resource's column selector menu:
- From the view bar, select Explorer view.
- In the list panel, hover your pointer over the panel header.
- Right-click, and the column selector menu will appear.
Select as many column options as you want.
- Id: Indicates the unique ID number of the resource. See Overview - Resources.
- Active: Indicates whether the resource is in an "active" or "inactive" state. See Overview - Resources.
- Folder Id: Indicates the unique ID number of the resource folder.
- Domain Id: Indicates the unique ID number of the domain. See The General Section.
- Primary MAC Address: The Primary MAC Address of the edge server. See System Registration.
- Secondary MAC Address: The Secondary MAC Address of the edge server. See System Registration.
- Discovery Status
- Licensed: Indicates whether or not Broadsign has licensed the edge server.
- License End Date: The date by which the edge server's current license will expire.
- Configuration Id: The unique ID number of the configuration profile associated with this edge server. See Configuration Profiles - Edge Servers.
- Public Key Fingerprint: A unique, alphanumeric code that Broadsign assigns to the edge server, upon registration.
- Remote Reboot: The date/time of the last request to the edge server to reboot.
- Remote Clear Database: The date/time of the last request to the edge server to clear its database.