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MediaBeacon University

N3twork Remote Preview Clustering

Introduction

MediaBeacon's R3volution product has been designed to grow from one server with multiple applications to a multi-server cluster. Additional servers on the LAN that are connected to the main instance of MediaBeacon are called Remote MediaBeacon Nodes. These are individual applications that are designed to offload processes from the primary MediaBeacon server and to increase the speed with which certain operations are performed. The Nodes are available as an option with MediaBeacon's N3twork Application Bundle and include the Importer Node, Preview Node, and Events Node. Each node can be installed and configured on designated hardware and collaborates with the main MediaBeacon services. Remote MediaBeacon Nodes are available for MediaBeacon Enterprise Pro only. As the demands grow for MediaBeacon to perform tasks faster and more efficiently, additional nodes can be added.

Additional fees may apply for any or all additional nodes added to the system. Nodes are part of the licensing agreement with MediaBeacon, Inc.

This document will describe the Preview Node and outline the process for installation, configuration, and setup, with detailed step-by-step instructions. Further training is available by contacting a MediaBeacon representative or accessing the MediaBeacon resources page: https://www.mediabeacon.com/resources.

Description

The MediaBeacon Preview application allows the offloading of asset previewing and conversion from the main MediaBeacon R3volution server. Dedicated servers running MediaBeacon Preview are referred to internally as "preview nodes". There can be several nodes attached to a single MediaBeacon server.

Initial Configuration

There are a few requirements that have to be met in order to use the Preview service:

  • Preview must be able to access the same database as the primary MediaBeacon server.
  • Preview must be able to mount the Shared Files Directory from the primary MediaBeacon server.
  • The IP address of the Remote Preview Node must be whitelisted on the "Enterprise" tab under "Applications" of the main MediaBeacon server.
  • On Mac, install Java 8, which is required to run MediaBeacon 8.0. Download it from: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre8-downloads-2133155.html

Database Requirements

When configuring the database settings within MediaBeacon, be sure to use a hostname or IP address that is accessible outside of the primary MediaBeacon server. If 127.0.0.1 or localhost is used as the host, Preview assumes that the database is on the same system as itself, and not the primary server.

NRPC001.png

Above is an example of a valid database configuration on the MediaBeacon server.

Database Ports

For the database server, make sure the necessary port is open for database access between the database and the Preview node (typically '3306' for MySQL, '1521' for Oracle, and '1433' for Microsoft SQL Server). Verify that database logins are allowed from the Preview node and using the same database authentication information as the main MediaBeacon server. If MediaBeacon is using MySQL, Preview will need to download the JDBC driver and restart. This is an automatic process that requires access to the internet.

MediaBeacon Ports

NRPC002.png

Next, verify that the necessary ports are open on the main MediaBeacon server and the database server in order to allow the remote Preview server to connect to them. On the main MediaBeacon server, make sure the "External SOA applications" checkbox is checked under the Enterprise tab of the MediaBeacon server-side Admin Console, and that the port designated in the "Port:" field, and the port above it are allowed through any firewalls between the MediaBeacon server and Preview (the default port is '44444' so both 44444 and 44445 need to be open). Be sure to click on the Change Remote Password button in the External SOA Applications area and set a password in the windows that pops up. Make a note of this password, as it will be needed to connect Preview to the MediaBeacon server. After making the changes, restart MediaBeacon.

Preview Node Configuration

Here is Preview on initial launch:

NRPC003.png

External Applications

MediaBeacon Preview requires external applications to preview certain asset types.

Macintosh

  • QuarkXPress: 6.5.x, 7.x
  • Adobe InDesign: (CS5, CS5.5, CS6, CC, CC 2014, CC 2015)
  • Adobe InDesign Server
  • Microsoft Excel: (Office 2004, 2008)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: (Office 2004, 2008)
  • Microsoft Word: (Office 2004, 2008)
  • Apache Open Office
  • Adobe DNG Converter (handles RAW camera files)
  • Adobe Flash: (CS5, CS5.5, CS6, CC 2014, CC 2015)

Windows

  • Adobe InDesign (CS5, CS5.5, CS6, CC, CC 2014, CC 2015)
  • Adobe InDesign Server
  • Microsoft Excel: (Office 2007+)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: (Office 2007+)
  • Microsoft Word: (Office 2007+)
  • Apache Open Office
  • Adobe DNG Converter (handles RAW camera files)
  • Adobe Flash: (CS5, CS5.5, CS6, CC 2014, CC 2015)

NRPC004.png

Once the desired applications have been installed on the Preview node, click the Preview with external applications checkbox and then the Configure button to bring up the window to the right. Choose the applications that Preview should use, and then restart the Preview application for the changes to take effect. Ensure that the setup here matches that of the main MediaBeacon R3 server.

Start Converter Service

Checking this box allows the MediaBeacon Preview instance to field Loading Dock requests. If the MediaBeacon environment in question has the Disable internal Preview System checkbox set (on the Enterprise tab of the main MediaBeacon R3volution application), it should be noted that at least one of the MB Preview instances in the environment needs the Start converter service checkbox set for the Loading Dock to function. Otherwise all requests (whether conversions or No Change downloads) will sit and not become available for download.

Movie Profiles

NRPC005.png

To configure video transcoding and video preview options, click on Movie Profiles to bring up the above window, which is identical to the one in the main MediaBeacon application. Ensure that the setup here matches that of the main MediaBeacon R3 server. If there are different codecs available, or different options for the codecs, check that the main MediaBeacon R3 server and preview node have the same versions of QuickTime and any third-party codecs installed. Again, any changes here will require a restart of the MediaBeacon Preview application.

Launch Settings

Next, configure the launch settings. There are four options for launching Preview: Manually, On Login, On Boot, On Boot + Reload.

NRPC006.png

Manually: This option requires a user to manually launch the Preview application after the host system has finished booting up.

On Login: This will cause the Preview application to launch automatically upon login to the user account on the Preview server.

On Boot (Macintosh only): This will allow the Preview application to launch on boot. A user must be set to login to the server automatically, at which point the application will launch and then revert to the login screen after 10 seconds. Fast User Switching must be enabled for this option.

On Boot + Reload (Macintosh only): This option is identical to On Boot, but with the additional feature of restarting if Preview was shut down for some reason.

Automatically launch on start: This checkbox will automatically start the Preview service when the Preview GUI is launched, eliminating the need for the user to click on "Start."

Connecting Preview to MediaBeacon

Mount 'Shared Files Directory'

Once Preview has been configured, mount MediaBeacon's Shared Files Directory to Preview's server with full read and write permissions via AFP or SMB. To do this on a Macintosh, press Command-k, enter the server's IP or hostname, and select the correct directory. On Windows, the remote directory must be mapped as a drive letter.

Whitelist Remote IP

By default, the main MediaBeacon server will disallow all remote connections from external applications. Before attaching to the main server, be sure to enter the Remote Preview Node's IP address in the "Enterprise" tab under "Applications". Alternatively, click "Discover External Applications." This will open a temporary 2-minute window during which the main server will accept incoming connections. Attaching to the server during the time will automatically add the Remote Preview Node to the whitelist.

NRPC007.png

Attach MediaBeacon Server

Next, connect to the main MediaBeacon server by clicking Attach Server on the Remote Preview Node. MediaBeacon Preview will automatically show all available MediaBeacon servers it can attach to.

NRPC008.png

Select appropriate server from the list, click Join, and enter the password. This password is set by clicking "Change Remote Password" in the External SOA Applications area of the main MediaBeacon server.

MediaBeacon N3twork uses Zero Configuration technology for dynamic discovery of nodes and XML-RPC for passing configuration. If the server doesn't show in the list, it's likely that a firewall is blocking the zero-config protocol used to generate the list, or the Preview node is on a different subnet than the main MediaBeacon server. In either case, simply check the Custom server checkbox and type the IP or hostname of the server in the field given, then click Join.

Note that port '44444' is just the default MediaBeacon uses for communications between the MediaBeacon server and Preview. If this port is unavailable it is possible to set another value in the External SOA Applications area and put that same port in this configuration dialog.

Starting Preview

After the password is accepted, Preview will automatically find the Shared Files Directory that's mounted on the preview node. Click Start. Preview will now start handling preview requests queued in the database for the main application.

Logging

NRPC009.png

Above is a screenshot of the logging system, accessible from the View log ... button. The logging system is like that used in MediaBeacon. If there are issues with previews, check the logs on the Preview node that handled the request.

Port Information

Below are the default ports used to connect.

  • Connects to MediaBeacon R3volution core: 44444, 44445, and 44446.
  • Connects to the database.
  • Connects to the file system.

Running as a Windows Service

Before attempting to set this up, make sure you have MB Preview configured and working (not as a Windows service). This assumes you have attached to Core MediaBeacon R3volution already. When using the Command Prompt, ensure that it is run using the "Run as administrator" option.

  1. Edit the file 'etc\mb_preview_inst.bat' by doing the following:
    1. Correct the path for Java.
    2. Correct the paths for the MB Preview install location.
    3. Correct the value for mb.mount.point.
    4. Select a good value for maximum memory ('PR_JVMMX', units are MegaBytes).
    5. Correct the value for the OS account that runs MediaBeacon ('PR_SERVICEUSER')
  2. In Window's services area (ex. run 'services.msc' in Windows 'Run...' menu), use the LogOn tab in the 'MediaBeacon-Preview' service's Properties to set appropriate password for the OS account being used. Leave the default '********' placeholder in the .bat and set the password after service install to avoid storing the plain text password.
  3. In the same Properties area, use the Recovery tab to set the three dropdown menus to 'Restart the Service' so it recovers automatically in the case of a crash.
  4. Make sure MB Preview isn't running ('Stop' button in MB Preview GUI, check in Task Manager that there aren't stray 'java.exe' processes, kill them if so), then start the service in Windows' Services UI.
  5. Check that prunsrv.exe shows in the 'Details' tab of Task Manager, and that the subordinate java.exe that launches comes up OK.
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