Posts in Category "General"

Event Template Account Logo will not Publish

Issue: The Connect Events template account logo in AEM does not change when you attempt publish a new template logo

Solution: To change the account logo on Event templates, you need to change the account logo of the Connect account from within Connect Central:

Click on the the thumbnail image to see the Customization page in Connect Central: Administration > Customization > Customize Central

Event-logo-CC.fw

 

For more information on Connect Central customization options see the following help link: Customize the Adobe Connect Central user interface

For more customization options see the following resource: Extensions : Solution extensions

For more information on Events Templates see the following tutorials:

Creating and Editing Event Templates

Resetting the Default Event Templates in Adobe Connect

Creating a Two Person Event Template with Adobe Connect

Event Administration in Adobe Connect 9

Adobe Connect 9: Event Migration Guide

Improving the Performance of Connect Meeting Clustered Fail-over

To improve the performance of Connect Meeting fail-over in a cluster, make the following changes to the custom.ini file and cycle the FMS and Connect services or reboot the connect servers:

The installation documentation for clustering originally prescribed setting the MEETING_TIMEOUT variable to 0 as shown:

#For Connect 8&9 Cluster fail-over add the following
MEETING_TIMEOUT=0
MEETING_CONNECT_BACK_TIME=1

We have discovered that setting the MEETING_TIMEOUT variable to 1 insures that a meeting will only have one active session while setting the MEETING_TIMEOUT variable to 0 opens the possibility (although rare) of a meeting having more than one active session. The result is a bit odd. Everyone could be happily in an ongoing Connect meeting while one attendee is alone in what appears to be the same meeting. This is usually triggered by an some form interruption in the isolated users meeting session such as from a brief outage in the network connection of the isolated user.

The new recommended custom.ini setting looks follows:

#For Connect 9 Cluster fail-over add the following
MEETING_TIMEOUT=1
MEETING_CONNECT_BACK_TIME=1

Save the custom.ini after making the change and cycle the Flash Management Sever and Adobe Connect Server services.

In Connect version 9.2, the meeting timeout session may be set back to 0 as we have made the appropriate code changes to insure the functionality works as originally intended even if a user experiences network interruptions and must reconnect to the meeting.

SSL Configuration Checklist for Connect with AEM-based Events

This supplemental checklist alongside the  Adobe Connect installation guide and the SSL Configuration guide, will help expedite your SSL implementation of Connect with AEM-Events:

1. Always begin with a fully functional installation of Connect and AEM-based Events before adding SSL; Do not attempt to secure a server that is not fully tested to run all features without SSL: A server running all features in the clear with no problems manifested is the only place to begin.

2. Decide whether to use hardware-based or software-based SSL and obtain appropriate public certificates and FQDN’s. If needed, see Mohit’s excellent instructions to generate CSRs. If you are using software-based SSL, stunnel can either be installed locally or on a separate server. If you are using hardware-based SSL you will want to refer to the relevant third-party documentation along with that provided by Adobe. For F5 BIG-IP LTM, the following articles along with this blog article and the resources aforementioned will help:

For information about stunnel installation options with Connect 9, see Jim’s blog post on Adobe Connect 9.0.0.1 and 9.1 stunnel installation options. Within the 9.0.0.1 installation folder, under  \Adobe Connect 9.0.0.1\Adobe Connect\Merge_Modules, we provide the installer for  stunnel-4.53.  From there, you can install Stunnel 4.53 for your SSL deployment. Adobe QE has tested stunnel version 4.56 collocated with Connect – installed within the Connect installation directory. These days it is arguably prudent to use the latest security option tested. Depending on the version of Connect you are running, if you wish to use stunnel locally, then you would create and/or populate the stunnel directory under the root install directory: Connect\9.1.2\stunnel.

Click on this thumbnail diagram below to see what it would look like with a hardware-based SSL accelerator:

C9SSLAEMSingle

Click on this thumbnail diagram below to see what it would look like with stunnel collocated with Connect:

C9SSLAEMStunnel

The rest of this checklist & summary will assume stunnel is being used collocated with Connect, but the configuration variables will apply to hardware-based external SSL acceleration options as well and even a casual glance back at these diagrams will help you infer the differences.

The sample file editing offered herein will be based on the single server stunnel example depicted in the diagram above.

3. Four FQDN’s are required: This is how our working example FQDN list would appear in a host file.

  • 192.167.21.176  connectmtg.domain.com
  • 192.167.21.175 connect.domain.com
  • 192.167.21.174:443  cqauthor.domain.com
  • 192.167.21.173:443  cqpublisher.domain.com

4. Four certificates (or a wildcard certificate) is needed; here is the list of certificates for SSL following our example:

  • connectmtg.domain.com
  • connect.domain.com
  • cqauthor.domain.com
  • cqpublisher.domain.com

Note: These are depicted in our working example as a wildcard certificate: domain.com. If the certificates are not trusted public certificates, then meeting rooms will not open; self-signed certificates will not work with meeting unless they are installed on all clients. Place the certificates into the stunnel installation directory: \Connect\9.1.2\stunnel\

5. Backup and edit the stunnel.conf file: in the \Connect\9.1.2\stunnel\ directory to set up the four VIPs and pools:

stunnel.conf for four servers on one
; Protocol version (all, SSLv2, SSLv3, TLSv1)
sslVersion = all
; Some performance tunings
socket = l:TCP_NODELAY=1
socket = r:TCP_NODELAY=1
TIMEOUTclose=0
options = DONT_INSERT_EMPTY_FRAGMENTS
; Service-level configuration
[https-vip]
; incoming vip for https (to secure Connect Application Traffic)
; ip address of the server with stunnel on it
; listens on port 443
accept =192.167.21.175:443
; ip of the connect server
; send the unecrypted request to port 8443
connect =127.0.0.1:8443
; Certificate info for Connect cert key in stunnel root
cert = domain.com.cert.pem
key = domain.com.key.pem
[rtmps-vip]
; incoming vip for fms (to secure Connect Meeting Traffic)
accept = 192.167.21.176:443
; ip of the fms server
; Send unencrypted request to 1935
connect = 127.0.0.1:1935
; Certificate info for Connect meeting cert key in stunnel root
cert = domain.com.cert.pem
key = domain.com.key.pem
[CQ_Author-vip]
; incoming vip for CQ-Author (to secure AEM-based Events Authoring)
accept = 192.167.21.174:443
; ip of the CQ Author server
; Send unencrypted request to 4502
connect = 127.0.0.1:4502
; Certificate info for CQ Author cert key in stunnel root
cert = domain.com.cert.pem
key = domain.com.key.pem
[CQ_Publisher-vip]
; incoming vip for CQ-Publisher (to secure AEM-based Events Publishing)
accept = 192.167.21.173:443
; ip of the CQ Publisher server
; Send unencrypted request to 4503
connect = 127.0.0.1:4503
; Certificate info for CQ Publisher cert key in stunnel root
cert = domain.com.cert.pem
key = domain.com.key.pem

6. Next backup and edit the custom.ini file: By default, the custom.ini will point to 4502 and 4502 for CQ Author and Publisher respectively; you must change the links to reflect https rather than http and also change the  names to the correct FQDNs and also enable SSL for Connect with these following entries:

CQ_AUTHOR_SERVER=https://author.adobeconnect.com
CQ_PUBLISH_SERVER=https://publisher.adobeconnect.com
DOMAIN_COOKIE=adobeconnect.com
ADMIN_PROTOCOL=https://
SSL_ONLY=yes
RTMP_SEQUENCE=rtmps://external-host:443/?rtmp://localhost:8506/

7. Next backup and edit the server.xml file; in the \appserv\conf\ directory; uncomment two sections depicted here to enable SSL:

<Executor name=”httpsThreadPool”
namePrefix=”https-8443-”
maxThreads=”350″
minSpareThreads=”25″/>

<Connector port=”8443″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”httpsThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”250″
connectionTimeout=”20000″
SSLEnabled=”false”
scheme=”https”
secure=”true”
proxyPort=”443″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

Note: Be sure to test the server.xml file for correct editing by opening it in a browser and viewing any syntax errors.

8. After configuring the stunnel.conf, the custom.ini and the server.xml file for all four server instances, stop all five the services in the following order:

  • Adobe Connect CQ Author
  • Adobe Connect CQ Publisher
  • Adobe Connect Server
  • Adobe Flash Media Server
  • stunnel

9. After all services are completely stopped, start all five services in reverse order; do not cheat and just restart each one successively.

  • stunnel
  • Adobe Flash Media Server
  • Adobe Connect Server
  • Adobe Connect CQ Publisher
  • Adobe Connect CQ Author

10. Open a browser on the Connect server; go to localhost:4502 and log into CQ5 Author as an administrator and edit the URL

  • Select CRXDE Lite on the menu list on the right side of the screen
  • Go to: content>connect>c1>jcr:content
  • Scroll to the serverURL line
    • Edit the URL for https
    • https://cqauthor.domain.com

11. Open a browser on the Connect server and go to localhost:4503 and log into CQ5 Publisher as an administrator and edit the URL

  • Select CRXDE Lite on the right menu list
  • Go to content>connect>c1>jcr content
  • Scroll to the serverURL line
    • Edit the URL for https
    • https://cqpublisher.domain.com

12. Open a browser on the Connect server and go to localhost:4502/system/console/configmgr and log in as an administrator and edit the author externalizer name and statistics URL

  • Scroll to and edit the Day CQ Link Externalizer and edit the hostname value to reflect the FQDN of the Author server
  • cqauthor.domain.com
  • Scroll to and edit the Day CQ WCM Page Statistics and edit the localhost:4502 URL to reflect the FQDN of the Author server and HTTPS
  • https://cqauthor.domain.com/libs/wcm/stats/tracker

13. Open a browser on the Connect server and go to localhost:4503/system/console/configmgr and log in as an administrator and edit the publisher externalizer name and statistics URL

  • Scroll to and edit the Day CQ Link Externalizer and edit the hostname value to reflect the FQDN of the Publisher server
  • cqpublisher.domain.com
  • Scroll to and edit the Day CQ WCM Page Statistics and edit the localhost:4503 URL to reflect the FQDN of the Author server and HTTPS
  • https://cqpublisher.domain.com/libs/wcm/stats/tracker

14. Stop all services and and restart as shown in steps 8 & 9 or reboot the server

15. Log into Connect and test all features including the Events module.

Troubleshooting appendix:

  • Check to make sure all five  services are running and start any that are not running.
  • Once all the services are up, click on the stunnel.exe icon in the stunnel directory and insure that stunnel runs without errors
    • If stunnel.exe throws an error then examine the stunnel.conf for syntax problems
    • If stunnel.exe starts successfully then look elsewhere for problems
  • If  Firefox browsers Fail to Connect when stunnel is used to secure Adobe Connect, then double check to be sure that the
    • sslVersion = all
    • fips = no
  • To make certain the help files are served via SSL, follow the instructions in Jim’s blog article: Changing the Help Links to use HTTPS://
  • Make sure there is not a passphrase on stunnel: see Jim’s blog article Adobe Connect Stunnel prompting for passphrase when server/services restarts
  • If stunnel does not start with Connect upon reboot, this technique will help: Stunnel does not Startup with Connect
  • Depending on the version of Connect you are running, you may need to add the certificate to the java CA certificates in Connect in order to allow images in the AEM-based Events module to appear in Connect. Ignore this step unless you are running Connect 9.0.0.1 and even then, if at all possible, simply use a later version of Connect instead as this issue has been fixed and this workaround is made superfluous for later versions:
    • For 9.0.0.1, export and then import the SSL certificate: Log into Connect and click on the lock in the URL line to the left of HTTPS and click the button in the pop-up: More Information>View Certificates>Details>Export to export the SSL certificate. Save the certificate in the jre\bin directory in the root install directory for Connect: Connect\9.1.2\jre\bin
    • Use the command prompt to complete the importation: F:\Connect\9.1.2\jre\bin> keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias connect -file certificate-name -keystore cacerts
      • The default password is changeit.
      • Overwrite any existing certificate.
      • The italicized alias connect is a variable
      • The italicized certificate-name must match the name of the certificate

Adobe Connect 9.2 Announced

Last week (12/10) Adobe announced Adobe Connect 9.2, which is due in early 2014.  This release will bring several key enhancements to Adobe Connect including a new filmstrip mode for the video pod, a redesigned workflow for new users, and the ability to register and login to events using your social media profiles.

The Connect blog post around the release is live here. 

The Featured Topic on the Connectusers homepage is now set to reflect the 9.2 announcement. Included on connectusers are the following:

Video tutorial on the integration with social profiles

Tutorial on using the new video pod

What’s New with Adobe Connect 9.2  (overview document)

 

Adobe Connect Server Licensing for Disaster Recovery

This question is commonly asked: Does my license for On-Premise Adobe Connect allow me install Adobe Connect servers for disaster recovery purposes?

First let’s define the terms: Disaster Recovery Environment refers to your technical environment designed solely to allow you to respond to an interruption in service due to an event beyond your control that creates an inability on your part to provide critical business functions for a material period of time. That is to say, it refers to a secondary site that would not be utilized in production unless the primary site went offline due to a natural or human-inflicted disaster that is beyond your control. Use of Adobe Connect servers in Disaster Recovery Environments is within the scope of your license and no additional fees are due to Adobe Systems Incorporated. For example, for the architecture depicted here, you would need four Adobe Connect server licenses. 

 

Connect_DR_cluster

 

However, adding one or more Adobe Connect servers to a local cluster is outside the scope of your license, and you will need to purchase additional licenses from Adobe Systems Incorporated to accomplish this.  Additional licenses are needed when adding any Adobe Connect servers that increase scalability in the form of:

  • Availability — What percentage of time is Connect available to geographically distributed users?
  • Reliability — How often does Connect experience problems that affect availability?
  • Performance — How fast does Connect consistently and qualitatively respond to user requests?
  • Concurrency – How many users can a Connect deployment handle concurrently?

Information around cluster expansion is here: Adobe® Connect™ server pools/clusters and hardware-based load-balancing devices with SSL acceleration

If you were to geographically distribute an active Connect cluster by placing Adobe Connect servers into two separate data centers, that would also require additional licensing. Connect servers in a cluster cannot have more than 2-3ms of latency between and among Connect servers.  Generally you would not geographically distribute Adobe Connect servers into different data centers, however, there is a chapter in the aforementioned clustering article on the topic. With that said, the architecture depicted below, is an example of a distributed active Adobe Connect cluster that is is spread between two local data-centers with nominal latency between those data-centers (less than 3ms of latency). All four servers are in production and all are actively hosting meetings and serving on-demand content.  This Connect architecture example depicted in the diagram below requires a four-server Connect cluster license:

 

Cross-DC-CLUSTER

 

Where is the Connect Meeting Add-in Installed?

Here are the client-side installation locations for files required by Connect Meeting add-in and its mms.cfg configuration file.

1. In Connect version 9, the default installation directories on each client platform are:

Windows (32 and 64 bit machines)

  • %appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player\www.macromedia.com\bin\adobeconnectaddin
  • or   C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\www.macromedia.com\bin\adobeconnectaddin

Macintosh :

  •  ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/www.macromedia.com/bin/adobeconnectaddin

2. The  configuration file, mms.cfg, for the add-in is located here: :

Windows (32 bit) :

  •  C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
  • or C:\Windows\System32\mms.cfg

Windows 7 64 bit

  • In: c:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\mms.cfg
  • or c:\Windows\SysWOW64\mms.cfg

Macintosh OS

  • <hard drive>/Library/Application Support/Macromedia/mms.cfg

Adding the Pass-code Feature for Connect Meetings

You may add a pass-code feature as an additional security option for Connect Meeting room access in Connect versions 8 and 9. Each Meeting room can have its own pass-code.  The parameter will appear under the Edit Information tab of the Connect Meeting:

pc2.fw

This is a great option. For example, it allows you to pop up a fast ad hoc meeting with full guest access while requiring guests to apply a pass-code to enter:

pc.fw

It also allows an additional layer of security for registered users as well; they also would need to enter a pass-code in addition to any permissions (even host-level) granted to the room.

pc1.fw

Once applied, when a users hits the Meeting URL they will be presented with the pass-code field:

pc3.fw

To add this feature, simple log onto your on-premise adobe Connect server as a Connect Administrator and enter the following into the URL line in Connect Central:

http://YOURDOMAINNAME/api/xml?action=meeting-feature-update&account-id=7&feature-id=fid-meeting-passcode-notallowed&enable=false

Where “YOURDOMAINNAME” is actually your domain name.

If this executes correctly, you will see the following output when you follow-up by entering this command into the same URL line in Connect Central:

http://YOURDOMAINNAME/api/xml?action=meeting-feature-info&account-id=7

Output: feature-id=fid-meeting-passcode-notallowed

Alternatively you could simply check and see if the feature is available under the Edit Information tab of any Meeting.

Note: Your Meeting passcode can be up to 16 letters or numbers; keep in mind that it is a convenient supplementary security mechanism rather than a primary means. You will see this warning if your passcode is not supported go over that: Your passcode must be between 1 and 16 characters long (letters or numbers, no spaces).

In adding this feature you have invoked the Web Services API in Connect. If you are not familiar with the API see the following document; it is rich with options: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/connect/9.0/webservices/connect_9_webservices.pdf

The Mystery of Burst Packs for Meetings

Issue: Adobe Connect hosted customers sometimes ask how to predict the burst pack size needed for insurance that their large meetings with unexpected attendance will be handled.

Solution: Burst Packs will extend the capacity of the Named Host license by up to five times the ceiling. This means that a room with a ceiling of 100 is best covered by a burst pack of up to 500 attendees, or 400 above the standard capacity of 100.  The burst pack minutes will be depleted, for each minute each user exceeds the capacity of 100.  For example, if 110 people join your meeting at the same time, and all 110 stay for 10 minutes, this will require 100 burst pack minutes to accommodate the 10 additional attendees in overage multiplied by 10 minutes.

If during a meeting, you accidentally go over the number of attendees accommodated by your burst pack, then the burst pack  balance will appear as a negative number.  If the meeting is very well attended and the burst pack exceeds 1000, it will be disabled for future meetings so no more overage will be accrued.   For the initial meeting overage, it will go over 1000 (one-time) if a current meeting is on-going, and won’t shut down until that meeting ends. Adobe does not penalize you for your successful use of Connect, but the hard limit for overage is set to 1000.

The meeting will not kick people out because of an overage;  burst pack minutes will continue to accumulate, even if the burst pack is depleted in order to ensure the meeting is not disrupted.  Adobe will then take those overage minutes out of their next burst pack purchase.

Ask your sale representative about burst packs and how to add them to insure successful large meeting in Connect.

Vantage Point is not just about Bandwidth

Vantage Point from Refined Data works with Connect and provides remote control of Cameras, Microphones, Telephones, Volumes, Tech Support, Motion Detection, Mouse Detection, Continuous attendance tracking and reporting and much more so it’s not just about bandwidth reduction.

On the bandwidth front, Vantage Point publishes streams to Refined Data servers at 100Kbps for each participant in the room; this is less than Connect in most cases, but the Host only consumes as many streams as they can view at one time. The host can see as few as 5 or 6 students at one time or as many as 50 or more depending on their screen resolution, window size, Vantage Point settings, connectivity and bandwidth availability.

This means that even with 100 Participants in a Connect room and one Host the bandwidth consumption looks like this:

  • Participant Load: 100kbps Up (to publish their own camera to Vantage Point), 100kbps down (to view the Host in Connect). This is a small signature on the network.
  • Host Load: 100kbps Up (to publish their own camera in Connect), 2.5mbps down (assuming they view 25 participant cameras in Vantage Point at one time). The Host is the only one who needs a really good connection.
  • Total Load on Adobe Connect: 1 publish stream + 99 subscribers

The host can always reduce their own load simply by viewing fewer simultaneous Video pods in Vantage Point. The bandwidth load for students or participants is not affected at all by class size. Bandwidth load for Hosts rises linearly with class size but can be limited by the host at any time based on the maximum number of cameras they view at one time.

In Connect, the bandwidth load rises with the number of cameras being shared:

  • 4 Cameras: 16 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 300kbps
  • 10 Cameras: 100 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 900kbps
  • 20 Cameras: 400 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 1.9mbps

Even if Connect could technically support 50 or 100 simultaneous web cams in a single meeting (2,500 streams risks significant latency), consider the requirement that participants would need 5-10mbps of bandwidth to support the load, before accounting for VoIP, screen-sharing and basic overhead. Anything above 10 simultaneous web cameras may be difficult for a host to manage and apart from any other considerations, there may not be enough real-estate for content if you are showing 10 or more web cams in the meeting room.

Vantage Point only publishes at 100kbps, most of the time; DSL and Standard quality is already more than twice this load in Connect and can easily rise higher if the room is set to use the Highest video quality at 16:9. With Vantage Point, Adobe Connect saves the server load, participants are not affected by class size, Hosts can see all of their students, all of the time and enjoy unparalleled control of the classroom environment.

Check it out at Refined Data: http://vantagepoint.refineddata.com/

Linux Sound Card Drivers cause a Crash during a Connect VoIP Session

To avoid problems with select Linux sound card drivers turn off Enhanced Audio in a Connect Meeting:

Meeting->Preferences>Microphone:

mic-enh.fw

Some crashes on Linux are avoided by turning off Enhanced Audio and canceling Acoustic Echo Cancellation Mode.