Posts in Category "Application"

Connect Meeting RTMP VS/VIPs on Load-Balancers

This article applies to on-premise Adobe Connect servers running behind hardware-based load-balancing devices or SSL accelerators.

A common cause of performance problems in Adobe Connect Meetings stems from the improper configuration of the Virtual Server (VS) Virtual IP Address (VIP) handling Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) traffic in on-premise Connect deployments.

An Adobe Connect Meeting Server is at least two servers in one (possibly more if AEM/Events and UV telephony are incorporated); it is at least always a Tomcat-based HTTP application server and an Adobe Media Server (AMS) using RTMP. The two servers are fully integrated to work together in tandem to support Adobe Connect Meetings.

The most popular load-balancing and SSL acceleration  option in the Adobe Connect on-premise enterprise is the F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). This tech-note will illustrate the proper configuration of an RTMP VIP supporting Adobe Connect Meeting on an F5 LTM. The concepts apply to any load-balancing device and SSL accelerator.

The first thing to note is that the general configuration of a Connect server or cluster running behind an SSL accelerator or load-balancing device always requires more then one VIP. There are no exceptions to this rule and any attempts at shortcuts will result in delayed deployments and support cases. Attempts to place all traffic on a single VS/VIP are as common as they are incapacitating. General Connect cluster architecture tech-notes are here:

Adobe® Connect™ server pools/clusters and hardware-based load-balancing devices with SSL acceleration

Adobe Connect Servers and Hardware-based Load-balancing Devices

A simple diagram of an Adobe Connect server behind an F5 LTM follows; see the two VS/VIPs and Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) for each on the LTM:

C9SSL

Below we add a server to show a basic Connect cluster VIP configuration; see how each Connect Meeting server has its own VS/VIP while one VS/VIP servers both HTTPS application servers.

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Note: Neither of these basic diagrams depicts advanced configurations such as the integration of the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Events module. This article focuses on the performance of the Adobe Connect Meeting RTMP VIP in its basic context.

There is usually not an option for RTMP in the VIP profile of a hardware-based load-balancing device. A basic TCP profile is the correct choice. Here it is depicted on an F5 BIP-IP LTM:

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With detail:

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Note that the symptom for an improperly configured VS/VIP is either the inability to launch a Connect Meeting or excessive latency in the Meeting due to RTMP tunneling (RTMPT) encapsulated within HTTP when the RTMP VIP is blocked or inoperable.

The presence of a capitol “T” in the latency indicator of an Adobe Connect Meeting indicates tunneling as depicted in this tech-note:

Tunneling with RTMP encapsulated in HTTP (RTMPT) should be avoided as it causes latency

Further diagnosis is usually warranted by using the Connect Meeting Addin in logging mode as depicted here:

Enable Logging in the Meeting Addin

Also here:

Troubleshooting Verbose Meeting Addin Logging

When the RTMP VS/VIP profile is improperly configured, the Connect Meeting addin verbose log will show it clearly, particularly when it is compared with the server-side debug log.

Example snippet from a Connect Meeting addin verbose log:

18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL connection closed.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL DoSSLHandshake WaitHandshake not in ssl_active state. (State is 0.) Failing.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL DoSSLHandshake WaitForSocket not in ssl_active state, failing.
18:51:55    16844    PLAYER_TRACE    SSL Receive socket read error 0x0.
18:51:55    16844    ACTION_TRACE    5/10/2016 14:51:55.101 [DEBUG] breezeLive.main.FCSConnector [attempt 1 of 60] Trying fallback tunneling connection rtmps://onlinemeeting.connectexample.com:443/?rtmp://localhost:8506/meetingas3app/7/1234567/
18:51:55    17179    PLAYER_TRACE    NetConnectionIO::DoConnect rtmps protocol, HTTP(S) tunneling, tunnel open succeeded.

The corresponding snippet in the server debug log as well as the application logs will read: RTMPT and often reconnect=true:

               Line 23456: 2016-01-17  14:25:06              32260    (s)2641173          Asc-Room               IA_CONNECT      [dID:32, ticket:123456789xyz, phase:, uID:, name:]             New client connecting:  { ip=127.0.0.1, protocol=rtmpt, player=MAC 11,9,971,247, savedConnectionSpeed=undefined, reconnect=true }                        –

[11-05 15:08:05] FCSj_Worker:18 (INFO) params: {bytesdown=0, protocol=rtmpt, ticket=123456789xyz, status=C, reconnect=true, nickname=John Doe, action=register-client, role=v, bytesup=0, session-timeout=12}

Correct configuration of the RTMP VS/VIP is extremely important; a Connect Meeting VS/VIP must have a dedicated FQDN.  It must have its own SSL certificate if SSL is accelerated through the load-balancing device and the VS/VIP must not have an HTTP profile; a TCP profile is needed.

For some additional information about troubleshooting Connect architecture with reference to hardware-based load-balancing devises and SSL accelerators, see the following tech-notes:

The Adobe Connect Deployment Guide on the F5 Website needs Updating

Configuring application-level health monitors for Connect on BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager

Publishing PowerPoint Presentations in Connect Meetings

There are different techniques that a Connect content author or Connect Meeting Host may employ to publish PowerPoint content in Adobe Connect Meetings. This article discusses them and how they differ and how to choose the correct option and avoid common pitfalls. The four basic techniques are:

  • Direct upload or drag and drop into a Connect Share Pod
  • Upload to the Connect Content Library and then link to the Meeting Share Pod
  • Publish to the Connect Content Library using Adobe Presenter and then link to the Meeting Share Pod
  • Publish locally using Presenter to a zip package and upload to Connect

I will summarize each of these and then compare them and offer some tips to help make sure that the published converted SWF closely matches the original PPTX.

The first and perhaps most commonly used option by Meeting Hosts is to upload a PPTX directly to a Meeting room Share Pod. The ease and simplicity of this approach certainly accounts for its popularity: You can simply drag and drop a PPTX presentation into the Share Pod or navigate to the source PPTX and upload it.

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Drag and drop is pictured above. As the PPTX is dropped into the Share Pod from the local client, the boarder around the Share Pod will appear with a yellow highlight.

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File conversion begins as soon as you drop the file into the Share Pod.

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The PPTX is converted and ready for viewing as shown above.

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You may also browse to the PPTX file locally from the Share Pod menu drop-down: As a Connect Meeting Host or Presenter, click the down arrow in a Connect Meeting Share Pod and choose “Share Document” as shown above.

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Choose “Browse My Computer” (We will discuss content in the shared library anon).

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Browse to the PPTX locally and select it.

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The size of the file and bandwidth available will determine the amount of time it takes to upload.

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Likewise with conversion.

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The PPTX is converted and ready for viewing.

 

Uploading to the Content library is also a common method of Publishing a PowerPoint to Connect. This technique provides a URL for on-demand playback of a the PPTX as well as a single source for use in multiple Connect Meeting rooms. Multiple Connect Meeting rooms may share a presentation from the same source in the Content Library thereby simplifying editing and version control.

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Browse to the Content Library in Connect Central and choose “New Content” as shown above. Note that a Meeting Host will have access to “My Connect” by default but may need to request access to “Shared Content” and “User Content” folders depending on prior account-wide administrative permissions set.

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Browse to the desired PPTX on your client or share.

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Select the desired PPTX upload.

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Name the Presentation in Connect Central, create a custom URL and summarize the content for administrative reference if desired.

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There will be a delay while the content is processed; see the spinning wheel in the upper left.

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Once completed, the active URL and summary will be displayed.

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To use the Presentation uploaded to the Content Library in a Connect Meeting, simply point the share pod to the Content Library and link it to the meeting.

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It will appear instantaneously in the Connect Meeting as it is already uploaded to the Connect server.

 

The third means of uploading a presentation to Connect employs Adobe Presenter. This is the richest and most accurate PowerPoint conversion option. Presenter integrates with Connect, in fact, Connect had its start as Presenter: Presidia and Breeze 3.0 were originally based on PowerPoint on-demand content publishing to SWF. The integration of Flash Communication Server in Breeze 3.0.8 led eventually to the current Adobe Media Server and the Tomcat Application server platform along with such feature rich integration as Adobe Media Gateway for telephony and Adobe Experience Manager for Events management. Presenter has a long history and it is a very rich on-demand learning tool: http://www.adobe.com/products/presenter.html

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Once installed, Presenter appears as a menu option in PowerPoint and you can drive publishing to Connect in a number of ways.

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Out of necessity, here I will be intentionally terse and ignore a plethora of Presenter features and focus only on using Presenter to publish PowerPoint content for use in a Connect Meeting. The dialog above is under Adobe Presenter>Presentation menu items in PowerPoint with Adobe Presenter installed.

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The dialog above shows Presenter publishing options, among them is Adobe Connect which pushes the published Presentation to the Adobe Connect Content Library. Presenter is able to publish to any Connect server to which the author has access and permissions by its domain name.

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Presenter launches a browser to log into the Connect Central Content Library.

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By default Presenter will log into the Connect Central “My Content” folder belonging to the Presenter Author.

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Fill in the customer URL option if desired and the summary fields.

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Publishing may take a few minutes depending on the size of the PPTX file.

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Once complete the active URL is available along with the summary.

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It is now available as on-demand content and can be used from the Content Library in a Connect Meeting.

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From the Connect Meeting room, choose the Share Pod drop down option and browse to the Content Library. Here I am using the “My Content” folder as the repository.

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The published presentation is available in the Connect Meeting Share Pod.

 

The fourth method of publishing a PPTX to Connect is to first publish locally as a zip package using Presenter and then upload it to Connect.

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Within PowerPoint under Adobe Presenter >Presentation, choose “Publish” and set the publishing options to “My Computer” and the Output options to “Zip package”. Click “Publish”.

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The conversion process may take a few minutes.

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By default it will publish the zip package to: \Documents\My Adobe Presentations\

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In the Connect Central Content Library, choose New Content.

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See that among the supported upload file types, a zip package is listed.

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Browse to the locally published zip package; in this case it is: \Documents\My Adobe Presentations\Large\Large.zip

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Add the details in the Connect Central Content Library and click Save to begin the upload.

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The published active URL allows access to the on-demand Presentation.

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In the Meeting Share Pod the Presentation is accessible from the Content Library.

You may also directly upload the Presenter published zip package from the author’s client to the Connect Meeting Share Pod and ignore the Content Library as shown below:

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The presentation is available for use in the Connect Meeting Share Pod.

 

Choosing the best presentation publishing option:

Once the PowerPoint presentation is selected, converted, and uploaded by whichever means, it is prudent to review it to check for any delta between the uploaded content and the original PPTX. Deltas are usually in one of two forms:

  • Select fonts do not match
  • Tables or bullet formatting does not line up as expected

With reference to custom fonts such as certain esoteric mathematical symbols, this article may help: Tips on Mitigating Connect Server-side PowerPoint Publishing Deltas

Using Adobe Presenter to publish, effectively eliminates any font discrepancies as all publishing is done on the author’s client where presumably all fonts are installed and are available to facilitate accurate conversion.

When uploading a PPTX to the Connect Central Content Library without Presenter, a Connect server-side version of Presenter, called Producer, facilitates the conversion process invoking the fonts available server side. If a font is used in the PPTX that is not available on the server, Producer will choose the closest font available on the Connect server to the original font.

Note: Adobe Connect hosted and ACMS customers who wish to have proprietary fonts installed on their Connect accounts  should contact the Connect Support Team to discuss the process.

When uploading a PPTX directly to a Connect Meeting room Share Pod, server-side Producer is not invoked. The client-side is leveraged and Microsoft Office should be installed on the client as PowerPoint client-side helps facilitate the conversion.

This warning message may appear when uploading a PPTX to Connect:

pptx42.fw

This warning is most common when Mac users who do not have Microsoft Office installed on their clients, attempt to upload a PPTX directly to an Adobe Connect Meeting room. There are not any client-side assets to facilitate conversion.

This tech-note is relevant: Best Practices for Sharing PPTX Files on Adobe Connect

With specific reference to portions of tables missing from graphs, often this can be mitigated by saving a PPTX as  PPT and re-uploading it to Connect.

A PPTX may also be locked down and further editing prohibited. This will affect conversion of the PPTX because conversion to SWF in Connect is a form of editing.

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PowerPoint menu options to Protect the Presentation prior to uploading may cause a delta in the converted uploaded Presentation.

 

Conclusion:

The surest way to have the richest and most accurate PPTX to SWF conversion is by using Adobe Presenter on the author’s client. The next most accurate is to upload to the Connect Content library and invoke server-side Producer for conversion. The quickest way is to simply upload directly to the Meeting Share pod but be sure to have Microsoft Office  installed on the client to help mitigate any delta. Be sure to upload and test well in advance of the Adobe Connect Meeting.

9.5 Connect Edge Proxy Server Full Installer

The new 9.5 Connect Edge Proxy Server full installation procedure follows.

Note: This article applies to on-premise Connect customers who have purchased Edge Proxy servers and must install or upgrade to Connect version 9.5. The only possible exception to on-premise exclusivity may be for those who are hosted by a managed ISP that supports external Enterprise Proxy Edge Servers (this latter model is uncommon).

Step 1: Download the Connect Edge Server installer from the URL location provided by the Adobe Connect Support or Customer Service team;  extract and install it with local administrative permissions.

edgeintro.fw

edgeextract.fw

The first installation screen option allows language selection among the following:  English, French, German and Japanese. Click OK to proceed or x (in the upper right) to quit.

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Step 2 displays the Welcome window in your selected language. Click ‘Next’ to proceed or ‘Quit’ to exit.

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Note: If you have a previous version installed, this pop-up message will display:

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Step 3 displays the License Agreement: The administrator conducting the installation must accept the agreement to proceed. Click ‘Previous’ to go to the previous panel, ‘Next’ to proceed or ‘Quit’ to exit.

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Step 4 displays the option to Select Destination: This panel offers a browse button and facilitates choosing an installation directory. Choose the installation destination, click ‘Previous’ to go to the previous panel, ‘Next’ to proceed or ‘Quit’ to exit.

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Note: If the destination directory for the installation selected in this panel already exists then the below warning will appear. Click ‘Yes’ to continue or ‘No’ to quit.

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Note: If the target directory does not exist, this screen will display:

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Step 5 presents Shortcut Creation options: This screen will facilitate creating the shortcuts in the Start menu. Click ‘Previous’ to go to the previous panel, ‘Next’ to proceed or ‘Quit’ to exit.

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Step 6 presents a Summary: Click ‘Previous’ to go to the previous panel, ‘Next’ to proceed or ‘Quit’ to exit.

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Step 7 presents a progress screen: This will occur when the installation starts. The installer will extract the files and will try to take a backup of any previous installation. During this panel a command prompt will occur if there were initially any edge services installed. It will create a backup in the same location where it originally existed, but will append “_backup” in the directory name. Wait for the processes to complete.

Note: A clean installation is highly recommended rather than any attempt at installing over older versions of the Edge.

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After the processes are completed, click Next to proceed:

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Step 8 offers a GUI, Edge Server Setup Configuration: This panel writes the Edge Server FQDN, the Connect server FQDN, the Cluster ID and the server ports into the Edge server configuration.

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Example entries follow based on the sample deployment diagram below:

Edge Server Hostname: edge.company.com
Connect Server Hostname: connect.company.com
Edge cluster ID: edge.dmz-edge
Connect Server Normal Port: 80
Connect Server Secure Port: 443

 

95EdgeDMZstunnelOriginstunnel

Step 9 presents the Finish Panel: The installation has completed. Click ‘Done’ to finish the installation:

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Post installation, the Edge config.ini file, based on our example will contain these relevant entries:

FCS_EDGE_HOST=edge.company.com
FCS_EDGE_REGISTER_HOST=connect.company.com
FCS_EDGE_CLUSTER_ID=edge.dmz-edge=1
FCS.HTTPCACHE_BREEZE_SERVER_NORMAL_PORT=connect.company.com:80
FCS.HTTPCACHE_BREEZE_SERVER_SECURE_PORT=connect.company.com:443

Note: Prior versions of the Connect Edge often employed (although never required) a custom.ini file in the Connect Edge server installation root directory for these entries. The custom.ini would then override the config.ini file in the \conf directory. Placing a custom.ini in the root installation directory is still an option as well as a hazard should one contain stale or wrong entries. The new Edge installer writes directly to config.in through the screen illustrated in step 8.

Once the Connect Edge Server is installed, it must be registered with the origin server or cluster for which it serves as proxy:

On the origin server, register the Edge server by adding the Edge server unique name into the host mappings section of the Connect Management Console; the settings will propagate throughout an origin server cluster from any one of the origin servers:

Start > Programs > Adobe Connect Server > Configure Adobe Connect Server

If the Edge is communicating with the origin server, then you will see a preregistration configuration under the server settings tab:

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Add the same unique Edge name into the host mapping fields as follows to register the Edge; this is a manual security mechanism to prevent unauthorized pirate Edge server registration:

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Note: The common identification variable in the custom.ini on the origin and the config.ini on the Edge is the cluster ID; following our example is dmz-edge=1 indication the first zone by name; add this to the custom.ini file on the origin(s).

Note: Even a single Edge server warrants its own cluster ID.

edge.dmz-edge=1

For additional information on Edge server deployments including maintenance and troubleshooting, see the articles on the Connect Users Community. Note that the custom.ini file is used in these articles to configure the Edge by overriding the config.ini. As aforementioned, while the new 9.5 installer writes directly to the config.ini, the custom.ini, when used as described will override the config.ini.

The first tutorial listed below discusses the reverse proxy use of the Edge and the second discusses the enterprise proxy use:

Adobe Connect Edge Server Deployment Options: part 1
Adobe Connect Edge Server Deployment Options: part 2

Generating Server-side Logs to Troubleshoot On-premise Connect Deployments

In order to diagnose unexpected behavior within Adobe Connect, it may be necessary for the Adobe Connect Support team to examine server-side logs from an on-premise Connect deployment. The logs directory is located in the Connect (or Breeze – it is not uncommon for Connect upgrades to reside in legacy Breeze directories) directory:

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Within the logs directory there are sub-directories containing various logs:

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The most commonly requested log by the support team, is the debug.log. It can be found in the logs>support directory. With the services running, the current debug log will appear without a date at the top of the debug.log file list. The default rollover is 12 hours generating AM and PM logs each day:

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In order to make the debug.log file more useful for purposes of diagnosis, you can enable verbose logging by adding entries to the custom.ini file located in the Connect or Breeze version sub-directory. Here you see it located in a 9.3.1 directory under the Breeze root installation/upgrade directory:

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Before editing the custom.ini file, be sure to create a backup copy of it. Add the following lines in order to enable verbose logging:

HTTP_TRACE=true
DB_LOG_ALL_QUERIES=true

Note that for versions of Connect 9.2 and prior, use yes instead of true:

HTTP_TRACE=yes
DB_LOG_ALL_QUERIES=yes

Save the custom.ini file (be careful not to accidentally change the file type to .txt) and during a scheduled maintenance window, cycle the Connect and AMS/FMS services in order to load the changes and begin verbose logging (note this will bring Connect down while the services cycle):

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There are occasions when it may be prudent to provide more than one log for a more complete diagnosis. To provide a full sample of the various Connect logs without sending a massive historical sample of log files, you may simply stop the Connect services (during scheduled downtime as this will bring down Connect) and rename the entire log directory to log.old. Then upon starting the services back up, recreate the issue being diagnosed and then stop the services.

This activity will generate a new small log directory isolating the issue under scrutiny that you just reproduced in Connect: Zip/compress this new abbreviated log directory with all its fresh abbreviated sub-directories and provide it to the the Adobe Connect Support team to help expedite more exhaustive server-side log analysis. This option is particularly helpful when examining a cluster as each server will have a set of logs. When providing cluster logs, always label each compressed log folder to easily identify the server from which it came.

Note that often when diagnosing unexpected behavior in Adobe Connect Meetings, it may also be prudent to enable client-side Connect addin verbose logging as well.  The relevant client-side logging tech-notes are here:

Enable logging | Meeting Add-in

Troubleshooting Verbose Meeting Addin Logging

SQL Update Warning Message in 9.5.2 Patch can be Safely Ignored

While applying the SQL update in the 9.5.2 patch,  you might encounter a warning message as depicted below:

sql3

This is a general message and can be safely ignored while applying the patch. It is not expected to cause any unexpected inconsistencies in the environment later although full function testing is always prudent after and updates.

Here is the SQL update file that is used in the 9.5.2 patch for your reference :

sql2

Environment :  Adobe Connect Licensed Upgrade

 

CSO: DATE (03-02-2016) – Adobe Connect Meeting/Content Launch Issue – RESOLVED

Update #2:

This issue is now resolved.  The issue was fixed as of 11:01 ET.

Meetings and content should be launching and saving normally.

 

Update #1:

We are investigating a storage issue where existing meetings, recordings, and content aren’t launching/accessible if they are needing to be pulled from the main shared storage infrastructure.

Some meetings and content may launch (if they are recent and still in local server cache) but there may be issues saving the current state of those meetings after they are done.

This is affecting accounts on clusters in the SJ1 datacenter which include: NA1NA2NA6NA8NA9, and NA12.

This appeared to have started about 10:20 ET.

The teams are all involved and troubleshooting the issue as a priority issue.

Updates to follow.

Please see the Status Page for more information.

New Adobe Connect Support Blog Subscription Option

Now you can stay on top of the new articles and posts by subscribing to the Adobe Connect Support Blog. Simply go to the Adobe Connect Support Blog home page and enter your email address and check off the categories about which you would like to be notified. Click “Subscribe me” and you will begin receiving  regular updates:

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Connect Meeting Room “NOT FOUND” Error when Launching

This blog article is pertinent to Adobe Connect HOSTED customers who have an account on the following clusters:

NA1, NA2, NA6, NA8, NA9, NA12

We have discovered a new bug recently with the 9.5.2 update (now live on accounts hosted on the clusters mentioned above) which can cause an issue for customers.

 

ISSUE:

You may try to launch a room and get a “NOT FOUND” error instead of the room opening as expected (image below):

notfound

 

This is because if the template from which a meeting room was created happens to have been deleted, then the meeting could result in the ‘Not Found’ state after 9.5.2 upgrade.   Meetings can have many ‘layers’ of templates under them.  Rooms created off of a template created off of a template created off of a template….and so on.  This will only affect a room if the template immediately underneath it is deleted.  Otherwise, if a template many layers underneath a room is deleted, this bug will not be present.  If you are not in the habit of deleting templates, you shouldn’t have to worry about this issue.  If for some reason you run into a room that will not launch and the attempt results in a ‘Not Found’ error screen as seen above, it could be because it’s template was inadvertently or intentionally deleted by the host, and admin, or any other user who has access to modify and administer that template.  Sometimes admins and meeting hosts go into Template folders (either My Template or Shared Template folders) and purge old, no longer used templates.  This could lead to rooms that were created off of those templates, experiencing this problem now as of the 9.5.2 upgrade that was performed this past weekend (February 7th).

Support has a way of recovering templates if they were recently deleted.  They should be contacted as soon as possible so that content (the template) can be recovered if it is still available on our storage devices and backups.

We are working on a hot-fix patch ASAP (we are targeting end of week internally and it should not impact the 9.5.2 rollout scheduled for the remaining clusters).  This fix should alleviate this issue and make it so that the meetings that were created off of a now deleted template, will still launch as expected.

Please contact support for any questions / concerns on this issue or if you are a partner/reseller and have customers who are experiencing this issue.  Again, it will only affect meetings on the clusters mentioned above, where the template used directly underneath a meeting, has been deleted.  Multiple layers down won’t affect the highest level meeting but any template underneath that has a template directly below it, will also be in this state if launched.

 

Identifying the right Visual C++ libraries for Connect 9.x releases

Environment :

Adobe Connect Licensed 9.x

If you’re planning to deploy a 9.x Patch/Full release in your Adobe Connect environment, make sure you have the following Visual C++ libraries installed on the Adobe Connect server :

Additionally, if you are installing 9.4.2f patch, the below additional runtime might be needed as well on the server to avoid any missing DLLs :

Important Information :

Above Visual C++ Runtimes are required for facilitating uploading of documents in Adobe Connect content library or sharing them in meeting rooms.

If you are experiencing any issues uploading any contents on the account or meeting room like ppt,pdf format etc, make sure to verify the above libraries should be installed on all the Adobe Connect servers.

Contact Support for any further information or queries.

 

Behind the Curtain: Making Multiple Connect Meetings or Seminars Appear as One

On those occasions when a Meeting invitation may attract more participants than expected or planned for at the last minute so that you are unable to increase Seminar capacity in a timely manner, a skilled host can use two or more Connect Meeting rooms and project them to participants as though it were one room as an emergency workaround. Here is a basic outline of how to split a large meeting onto multiple servers. It is prudent to not just have more than one Meeting in these cases, but also to make sure each Meeting is hosted on a separate server in a cluster to add robustness to the meeting. Load-balancing is a wonderful thing and you should always use it to its fullest.

Assume an example of a three-server cluster/pool of Connect servers and that you want to split a Connect Meeting onto all three servers; a simple 3-server cluster is depicted here to use as an example:

C9SSLCluster3Simple

For a working example, let’s place a Connect Meeting room hosted on each server; to do this you will need three separate URLs: One URL for each 1/3rd  of your attendees. Getting the attendees distributed among the three rooms can be tricky. One effective technique is to either send out three different invitations, with each targeting 1/3rd of your audience and each offering a different URL, or just point everyone to a page with  all three URLs and request/instruct the participants to alphabetically arrange themselves in subsets of users by URL selection. That way it is not random; I have seen this technique work fine; here are sample meeting URLs based on our picture above:

http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting1
http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting2
http://connect.domain.com/splitmeeting3

To make certain the each meeting is hosted on a separate server (rather than all three on one as load-balancing could easily prescribe), it will require some effort to keep entering and leaving the room until your meeting lands on the server you want. Using multiple browsers may be helpful as well. Working on this well in advance of the meeting is prudent as there is a session timeout factor to consider. The load balancing algorithm will eventually get the sessions distributed but it may take some effort.

The way to tell which server you are on is simple: In any meeting room click Help and while holding down the shift key click About Adobe Connect. This will pop up an RTMP string that will identify the server that Meeting is hosted on and also which server a client is coming through as each client can be using multiple servers (just to add not only to the complexity, but also the overall robustness).

Here is what the RTMP strings might look like for each of the three servers in our simple example above ( I am inserting some URL parameters from a hosted meeting as I write this in order to create our hypothetical example RTMP strings – rtmp://arfms3.adobeconnect.com:1935/?rtmp://pcparapp07:8506/meetingas3app/89676385/630888204/)

rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/

The first name in the string (connectmtg0#) is the built-in Connect Edge server and the second name (connapp0#)  is the Connect origin server  hosting the meeting (each Connect servers runs both AMS/FMS and Tomcat together). The second name is the important one for our technique of splitting the attendees onto separate meeting servers.

In the hypothetical RTMP string samples above, I have made these artificially neat and tidy, the truth is that the first part of the string can be any of the three for any meeting participant regardless of the application server hosting the meeting. For example, you could come in to connapp01 through connectmtg03 – any combination is possible. Load balancing is done at more than one level as Connect leverages both a hardware-based load-balancing device and also its own internal clustering capabilities; combinations for various clients (including the hosts and presenters) in our example cluster depicted  above might include:

rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp02:8506/meetingas2app/847483076/1086833046/
rtmps:// connectmtg01.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp03:8506/meetingas3app/847483077/1086833047/
rtmps:// connectmtg02.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/
rtmps:// connectmtg03.domain.com/?rtmp://connapp01:8506/meetingas1app/847483075/1086833045/

The key to remember is that the second name is the one that matters; a distribution of participants approximating 1/3rd on each server is the goal targeting: connapp01, connapp02 and connapp03. After this is set-up, the pre-meeting preparation part is complete (this should be done at least one hour prior to the meeting).

Next comes the creative hosting venture during the split meeting: As the host, you will need all three meetings open in front of you to manage them as one. From the perspective of the participants, there is only one meeting (ignore the host behind the curtain). Be sure to hide the Attendee List Pod in the Presenter-only area as it will only present those participants in that specific Connect Meeting thereby allowing a peek behind the curtain or misrepresenting the size of the entire three meeting combination.

And here is where the techniques are very much up to you:

  • Splitting video among the three rooms is possible using a third-party option, one we have used successfully is: Splitcam.com.
  • For audio, if using integrated audio, be sure to use the same integrated telephony number for all three rooms.
  • If using VoIP, then allow one speaker only at a time to send audio via VoIP.

Some ways in which you can limit the amount of data being processed in your room and to improve the overall performance of these sessions are:

  • Optimize room bandwidth. In a Connect Meeting, at the top of the screen click on MEETING > Preferences. Under the preferences menu you are able to adjust screen sharing, video and VoIP quality setting separately.
  • Turn off cameras whenever they are not in use.
  • When in use, multiple cameras should probably be set to SLOW images (depending on how many and other variables).
  • Turn off VoIP if not talking.
  • Participants should directly connect to the fastest internet connection available and be on a dedicated DSL connection, at a minimum.
  • No clients or hosts on wireless – allow no exceptions.
  • Shut down Email, instant messaging, and any programs NOT being used for the presentation.
  • Shut down any VPNs as a VPN will potentially destroy the possibility for success.

When large Connect Meetings or Seminars become commonplace in your enterprise, this cumbersome workaround quickly becomes impractical and you should increase your Seminar or Webinar licensed capacity as needed to avoid this complexity and manual work. With that said however, this technique will work in a bind and will provide a robust Connect Meeting experience for a very large audience even if it challenges a seasoned Connect Meeting host.