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Failover feature provides maximum possible uptime for the Userful server. Failover requires two Userful servers to be located on the same subnet; if the "Primary" server fails, the "Secondary" server takes over the network receiver devices of the Primary (i.e., failed) server.
This page outlines best practices and steps to take when preparing for and executing failover procedures using network zero clients.
Note: This feature is NOT applicable for USB receiver devices since USB receiver devices will be connected to a specific Userful server only. For the Unlicensed version of Userful, all features will work with the nag screen.
Before configuring failover group, following requirements and caveats must be met:
- Primary-Secondary relationship
- Although all members in the failover group are equivalent; we still suggest that user should indicate one server as the Primary and the other as the Secondary.
- Primary is the server with assigned display(s) that is configured and added first when a failover group is created.
- Secondary is the server without any assigned display(s) but only with onboard display running.
- Same hardware specifications
- Both Userful servers should have similar hardware specifications.
- Same working environment
- Both Userful servers should have identical version of all the software packages (specially the "userful-control-center" package).
- Same media content
- Any local content must be added manually to both servers and CMS subscription may be required for both servers.
Configure Failover Settings
Setting Failover Group
The first step in setting failover group is to Enable Failover on the Primary server.
- Open Control Center > Settings > Failover Group Settings.
- Select "Enable Failover".
- Allow Control Center to restart.
The next step is to define the failover group, i.e. the failover relation among two servers.
- Follow the below mentioned steps to define failover group:
- Open Control Center of the "Primary" server.
- Go to Settings > Failover Group Settings
- Enter the Group Name and click "Create Group" to create a new group.
- Note: An active Maintenance and Support contract is required to create a Failover group, but any server can join the Failover group as a Secondary server irrespective of the (i.e., valid or expired) status of the Maintenance and Support contract.
- Once the failover group is created, the name of the "Primary" server will be listed under "Servers".
- Select the Failback Setting to be "Automatic" or "Manual" depending on the use case.
Any server can join the Failover group as a Secondary server irrespective of the (i.e., valid or expired) status of the Maintenance and Support contract.
- "Failback" occurs once the Primary server comes back online where the failed over displays from the Secondary server will be re-assigned back to the Primary server. This failback can happen automatically or manually as mentioned above.
- Next step is to log in to the Secondary server.
- Open Control Center.
- Go to Settings > Failover Group Settings.
- Select "Enable Failover" and allow Control Center to restart.
- Repeat step number 1 and 2.
- Create a new group or Join an existing group from the drop-down menu as shown in the image.
- Click “Join Group” button.
- Please note that joining an existing failover group will copy and overwrite current display mapping with the display mapping from the failover group's shared database.
- The newly added Secondary server is now listed under the list of servers.
Note: When a new server is added to an existing failover group, the sources and other settings of the "Primary" server gets copied to the newly added server automatically. Blackmagic Capture source and Video Capture source will not get copied on the "Secondary" server as the capture card is directly connected to the "Primary" server.
Follow the below mentioned steps to test the Failover process:
- Ensure that the “Primary” server and “Secondary” server are both online under the same subnet.
- Shutdown or unplug the network cable from the "Primary" server
- Within few seconds, the displays that were assigned to the Primary (failed) server should come back online, but these displays are now running on the "Secondary" server as failover displays
Please note that the failover displays have orange display icon with display ID
- Reboot or plug the network cable back to the Primary host.
- Within few seconds, all failover displays will unassign from the "Secondary" server and restored back to the "Primary" server automatically or manually depending on the Failback Setting selected.
- Images shown in the right show the messages that will appear while displays failback from the Secondary server to the Primary server.
Manual Failback Setting
While in manual failback setting, the network receiver devices will remain locked to the Secondary server even when the Primary server returns back. This is for cases where it is desirable to wait until an administrator commands the network receiver devices to return (for example, waiting until closing them when customers are not actively using the displays).
When restoration of normal operation is desired, the system administrator must log in into the Control Center of the Primary server first and go into the Displays tab. In the bottom right corner of the page beside the Apply button will be a new button labeled Failback as shown in the image to the right. Clicking this button will have the Primary server command the Secondary server to release all of the failed over network receiver devices so that the Primary server may lock them back.