Getting Started

From requirements to a simple example

The Director serves as a versatile network service designed to redirect incoming HTTP(s) requests to the optimal host or Content Delivery Network (CDN) by evaluating various request properties through a set of rules. Although requests can be generic, the primary focus centers around audio-video content delivery. The rule engine allows users to construct routing configurations using predefined blocks, providing for the creation of intricate routing logic. This modular approach allows the users to tailor and streamline the content delivery process to meet their specific needs. The Director’s flexible rule engine takes into account factors such as geographical location, server load, content type, and other metadata from external sources to intelligently route incoming requests. It supports dynamic adjustments to seamlessly adapt to changing network conditions, ensuring efficient and reliable content delivery. The Director improves the overall user experience by delivering content from the most suitable and responsive sources, thereby reducing latency and enhancing performance.

Requirements

Hardware

The Director is designed to be installed and operated on commodity hardware, ensuring accessibility for a broad range of users. The minimum hardware specifications are as follows:

  • CPU: x86-64 AMD or Intel with at least 2 cores.
  • Memory: At least 2 GB free at runtime.

Operating System Compatibility

The Director is officially supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL8) or any compatible operating system. While it is possible to install and run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL7) or compatible OS, this is provided as a convenience, and users should note the limited management capabilities on this platform.

External Internet access is necessary during the installation process for the installer to download and install additional dependencies. This ensures a seamless setup and optimal functionality of the Director on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. It’s worth noting that, due to the unique workings of the DNF package manager in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 with rolling package streams, an air-gapped installation process is not available.

Firewall Recommendations

See Firewall.

Installation

See Installation.

Operations

See Operations.

Configuration Process

Once the router is operational, it requires a valid configuration before it can route incoming requests.

There are currently three methods available for configuring the router, each catering to different levels of complexity. The first is a Web UI, suitable for the most common use-cases, providing an intuitive interface for configuration. The second involves utilizing a confd REST service, complemented by an optional command line tool, confcli, suitable for all but the most advanced scenarios. The third method involves leveraging an internal REST API, ideal for the most intricate cases where using confd proves to be less flexible. It’s essential to note that as the configuration method advances through these levels, both flexibility and complexity increase, providing users with tailored options based on their specific needs and expertise.

API Key Management

Regardless of the method used to configure the system, a unique API key is crucial for safeguarding the router’s configuration and preventing unauthorized access to the API. This key must be supplied when interacting with the API. During the router software installation, an automatically generated API key is created and can be located on the installed system at /opt/edgeware/acd/router/cache/rest-api-key.json. The structure of this file is as follows:

{"api_key": "abc123"}

When accessing the internal configuration API, the key must be included in the X-API-key header of the request, as shown below:

curl -v -k -H "X-API-Key: abc123" https://<router-host.example>:5001/v2/configuration

Modification to the authentication key and behavior can be done through the /v2/rest_api_key endpoint. To change the key, a PUT request with a JSON body of the same structure can be sent to the endpoint:

curl -v -k -X PUT -T new-key.json -H "X-API-Key: abc123" \
-H "Content-Type: application/json" https://<router-host.example>:5001/v2/rest_api_key

Additionally, key authentication can be disabled completely by sending a DELETE request to the endpoint:

curl -v -k -X DELETE -H "X-API-Key: abc123" \
https://<router-host.example>:5001/v2/rest_api_key

In the event of a lost or forgotten authentication key, it can always be retrieved at /opt/edgeware/acd/router/cache/rest-api-key.json on the machine running the router. It is critical to emphasize that the API key should remain private to prevent unauthorized access to the internal API, as it grants full access to the router’s configuration.

Configuration Basics

Upon completing the installation process and configuring the API keys, the subsequent section will provide guidance on configuring the router to route all incoming requests to a single host. For straightforward CDN Offload use cases, there is a web based user interface described here.

For further details on configuring the router using confd and confcli, please consult the Confd documentation.

The initial step involves defining the target host group. In this illustration, a singular group named all will be established, comprising two hosts.

$ confcli services.routing.hostGroups -w
Running wizard for resource 'hostGroups'

Hint: Hitting return will set a value to its default.
Enter '?' to receive the help string

hostGroups : [
  hostGroup can be one of
    1: dns
    2: host
    3: redirecting
  Choose element index or name: host
  Adding a 'host' element
    hostGroup : {
      name (default: ): all
      type (default: host):
      httpPort (default: 80):
      httpsPort (default: 443):
      hosts : [
        host : {
          name (default: ): host1.example.com
          hostname (default: ): host1.example.com
          ipv6_address (default: ):
        }
        Add another 'host' element to array 'hosts'? [y/N]: y
        host : {
          name (default: ): host2.example.com
          hostname (default: ): host2.example.com
          ipv6_address (default: ):
        }
        Add another 'host' element to array 'hosts'? [y/N]: n
      ]
    }
  Add another 'hostGroup' element to array 'hostGroups'? [y/N]: n
]
Generated config:
{
  "hostGroups": [
    {
      "name": "all",
      "type": "host",
      "httpPort": 80,
      "httpsPort": 443,
      "hosts": [
        {
          "name": "host1.example.com",
          "hostname": "host1.example.com",
          "ipv6_address": ""
        },
        {
          "name": "host2.example.com",
          "hostname": "host2.example.com",
          "ipv6_address": ""
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}
Merge and apply the config? [y/n]:

After defining the host group, the next step is to establish a rule that directs incoming requests to the designated host. In this example, a sole rule named random will be generated, ensuring that all incoming requests are consistently routed to the previously defined host.

$ confcli services.routing.rules -w
Running wizard for resource 'rules'

Hint: Hitting return will set a value to its default.
Enter '?' to receive the help string

rules : [
  rule can be one of
    1: allow
    2: consistentHashing
    3: contentPopularity
    4: deny
    5: firstMatch
    6: random
    7: rawGroup
    8: rawHost
    9: split
    10: weighted
  Choose element index or name: random
  Adding a 'random' element
    rule : {
      name (default: ): random
      type (default: random):
      targets : [
        target (default: ): host1.example.com
        Add another 'target' element to array 'targets'? [y/N]: y
        target (default: ): host2.example.com
        Add another 'target' element to array 'targets'? [y/N]: n
      ]
    }
  Add another 'rule' element to array 'rules'? [y/N]: n
]
Generated config:
{
  "rules": [
    {
      "name": "random",
      "type": "random",
      "targets": [
        "host1.example.com",
        "host2.example.com"
      ]
    }
  ]
}
Merge and apply the config? [y/n]:

The last essential step involves instructing the router on which rule should serve as the entry point into the routing tree. In this example, we designate the rule random as the entrypoint for the routing process.

$ confcli services.routing.entrypoint random
services.routing.entrypoint = 'random'

Once this configuration is defined, all incoming requests will initiate their traversal through the routing rules, starting with the rule named random. This rule is designed to consistently match for every incoming request, effectively load balancing evenly between host1.example.com and host2.example.com on port 80 or 443, depending on whether the initial request was made using HTTP or HTTPS.

Integration with Convoy

The router is equipped with the capability to synchronize specific configuration metadata with a separate Convoy installation through the integrated convoy-bridge service. However, this service necessitates additional setup and configuration, and you can find comprehensive details on the process here..

Additional Resources

Additional documentation resources are included with the Director and can be accessed at the following directory: /opt/edgeware/acd/documentation/. This directory contains supplementary materials to provide users with comprehensive information and guidance for optimizing their experience with the Director.

Ready for Production

Once the Director software is completely installed and configured, there are a few additional considerations before moving to a full production environment. See the section Ready for Production for additional information.