Enabling Pexip Smart Scale

The Pexip Smart Scale (PSS) feature allows you to have Conferencing Nodes that are deployed by Pexip on your behalf within the secure Pexip Private Cloud, in the form of Pexip Smart Scale regions. You can add or remove these regions, and scale their capacity up or down, according to your own deployment's changing requirements.

With Pexip Smart Scale, you still deploy and control your own self-hosted Management Node, but you can elect to have Pexip deploy on your behalf some or all of your Transcoding Conferencing Nodes (which provide the processing capacity) and optionally, any associated Proxying Edge Nodes (which provide the call routing into those Transcoding nodes).

We create the necessary Conferencing Nodes (the actual number of which will depend on a variety of factors including the capacity required for that region), and these nodes then receive exactly the same service configuration from your Management Node as any other Conferencing Nodes in your deployment (regardless of whether the other nodes are deployed by Pexip, or self-hosted).

When you deploy a PSS region, you link it with one specific system location for its Transcoding nodes (referred to as the PSS transcoding location) and, for regions that also include Proxying nodes, a second system location for the Proxying nodes (referred to as the PSS proxying location). You then configure those system locations (e.g. DNS, NTP and other servers, web proxies, policy profiles, and for PSS proxying locations, the transcoding and overflow locations) in the usual way.

Conferencing Nodes in a Pexip Smart Scale region can be seen as individual nodes within the Status pages of the Administrator interface. However, because these nodes are deployed on your behalf, you cannot edit any of their details.

Available regions

Pexip Private Cloud is hosted securely on third-party cloud providers' infrastructure. Currently, Pexip Smart Scale is offered in Google Cloud Platform (GCP); other cloud providers will be added in future releases. The regions in which you can deploy PSS are based on the cloud provider's regions; this is subject to change and we intend to add further regions over time. For information on what is currently available, please contact your Pexip authorized support representative.

Benefits

The benefits of using Pexip Smart Scale include:

  • Privacy, security and control: you still own and control your Pexip Infinity deployment, including service, platform, network, call control and user configuration; status and history; and all associated data (e.g. CDR).

  • Ease, flexibility and speed of deployment: nodes in Pexip Smart Scale regions are deployed remotely on your behalf by Pexip — we deal with the cloud service provider, calculate the resource requirements, and create and manage the required number of nodes in the regions of your choice. You can quickly increase or reallocate your resources depending on your changing requirements.

  • Redundancy: we will always deploy at least 3 Transcoding Conferencing Nodes and (if enabled) at least 2 Proxying Edge Node per PSS region, meaning that if any one of the nodes become unavailable, that region is still available to receive and transcode calls (although potentially at a reduced capacity).

Example use cases

Existing deployments

You can implement Pexip Smart Scale within existing Pexip Infinity deployments where you wish to replace your existing hardware, or expand your capacity, without having to invest in your own additional hardware. This may be because your existing hardware is becoming outdated, you wish to migrate your physical datacenters to the cloud, you are seeing increases in your organization's use of videoconferencing, or you want to provide additional local capacity in specific regions.

In these cases, you can retain your existing Management Node, and then add Pexip Smart Scale regions (containing both Proxying Edge Node and Transcoding Conferencing Nodes), either in place of, or in addition to, your existing system locations.

New deployments

If you are deploying Pexip Infinity for the first time, you may not wish to have the overhead of purchasing, configuring and managing your own Conferencing Nodes but you still wish to maintain the privacy, security and control of your videoconferencing infrastructure.

In this case, you would deploy your own Management Node (hosted either on-premises, or in your private cloud) , and then add Pexip Smart Scale regions (containing both Proxying Edge Node and Transcoding Conferencing Nodes) in all the geographical regions for which you require coverage.

Transcoding nodes only

Pexip Smart Scale can be implemented within Pexip Infinity deployments where you wish to retain complete control over your data and environment, but you don't have the necessary hardware or personnel to deploy and maintain your own conferencing capacity. In this case, you would deploy your own self-hosted Management Node and a number of self-hosted Proxying Edge Nodes (both of which do not require significant resources) and then use Pexip Smart Scale for your transcoding capacity (which requires relatively more powerful processing resource). This architecture minimizes the deployment overhead while ensuring that all calls (signaling and media) still terminate within the control of your own environment.

Pexip Smart Scale versus cloud bursting

Pexip Smart Scale provides additional permanent capacity, provided and managed by Pexip, and paid for whether or not it is being used. Cloud bursting provides additional ad hoc capacity in a cloud service to which you must already have a subscription and for which you will be charged based on time used; you must manage the use of this capacity yourself.

Deployment summary

Deploying a Pexip Smart Scale region involves the following steps, described in the sections that follow:

Planning and prerequisites

Support, accounts and licenses

If you wish to implement Pexip Smart Scale, first contact your Pexip authorized support representative. They will provide advice on your capacity and network requirements, help you purchase the appropriate licenses, and set up the necessary accounts. Note that you'll need the appropriate Pexip Infinity licenses (installed on the Management Node), as well as a license for your connection to the Pexip Private Cloud (which is part of a separate agreement and is not installed or managed on the Management Node).

Network architecture and firewall considerations

Your Pexip Infinity deployment must include your own self-hosted Management Node. System locations used for Pexip Smart Scale must have connectivity to the Management Node and any associated self-hosted Proxying Edge Nodes, so you must configure appropriate bi-directional firewall rules. You may also need a VPN or similar connection between your LAN and the PSS region.

The diagrams below give a basic overview of the two types of deployment — with proxying nodes hosted in PSS, and with them hosted on-premises — but the exact requirements will depend on your network and deployment architecture. Please contact your Pexip authorized support representative for further information and guidance.

Deployment overview with Proxying Edge Nodes hosted in PSS

Deployment overview with Proxying Edge Nodes hosted on-premises

DNS and NTP access

Transcoding Conferencing Nodes in a Pexip Smart Scale region do not have direct access to the internet, but will require access to a DNS server and an NTP server in order to function. You can provide access to these servers in one of the following ways, depending on the firewall policy within your deployment (in all cases, the required configuration is applied to the system location associated with the PSS transcoding nodes):

  • use your own internal DNS and NTP servers, and allow traffic from the PSS nodes to these servers

  • use the DNS and NTP servers provided by GCP: 169.254.169.254 (metadata.google.internal). In this case, no traffic from these servers will flow into or via your deployment.

Proxying Edge Nodes in a Pexip Smart Scale region also require access to a DNS server and an NTP server in order to function. You can provide access to these servers as you do for the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes (see above), or you can use internet-based servers. (Again, the required configuration is applied to the system location associated with the PSS Proxying Edge Nodes).

Proxying Edge Node

Every PSS region must have at least one node — in most cases a Proxying Edge Node — that will handle signaling on behalf of its transcoding nodes.

You can choose to have Pexip deploy these proxying nodes as part of the PSS region (PSS license agreement permitting), but you can also use your own self-hosted proxying nodes.

Proxying Edge Nodes used for a PSS region:

  • will receive and place calls, handle signaling and terminate media on behalf of the PSS region's transcoding nodes

  • must be placed in a separate system location to that of the PSS region's transcoding nodes.

The system location containing these Proxying Edge Nodes:

  • must be configured to use the PSS transcoding nodes' location as its Transcoding location

  • could also optionally be configured with a primary or secondary overflow location, in case you run out of capacity in the PSS transcoding location. These overflow locations could be in a different PSS region, or a location containing your own self-hosted Conferencing Nodes. For more information, see Media overflow locations and PSS.

Media overflow locations and PSS

Media overflow locations are used to tell Pexip Infinity where to process the call media when there is no transcoding resource currently available in the Transcoding location associated with the location where the call signaling has been received. Therefore if you want to enable overflow when a PSS region has reached capacity, then you configure this on the system location that is handling the signaling on behalf of the PSS region — that is, the system location containing the Proxying Edge Nodes for the region. This system location should be configured to use the PSS region's transcoding system location as its Transcoding location, and then to use any other PSS transcoding locations (or other self-hosted locations containing transcoding nodes) in your deployment as its Primary overflow location and Secondary overflow location, which will then be used if the PSS transcoding location reaches capacity.

Placement of outgoing calls from a Pexip Smart Scale region

Outgoing calls (calls placed from within a Virtual Meeting Room to another participant — such as those to an Automatically Dialed Participant, or when an administrator or Infinity Connect user adds another participant to the call) must not be placed from a PSS Transcoding Conferencing Node. Instead, they must be placed either from a PSS Proxying Edge Node, or from a Conferencing Node within your own self-hosted deployment. This is because PSS Transcoding Conferencing Nodes are transcoding-only, and therefore do not handle call signaling.

  • If the PSS region includes Proxying Edge Nodes, then these proxying nodes will be used to handle the call signaling on behalf of the PSS transcoding location.
  • If the PSS region does not include Proxying Edge Nodes, then to ensure that outgoing calls are not placed from a PSS Transcoding Conferencing Node, you must ensure your Call Routing Rules and Automatically Dialed Participants are configured as described in Configuring Call Routing Rules for PSS and Configuring Automatically Dialed Participants for PSS respectively.

Activating your connection to the Pexip Private Cloud

The first step is to activate your connection to the Pexip Private Cloud using the information provided to you by Pexip.

This connection is the means by which PSS information is shared between your Management Node and the Pexip Private Cloud (for example, licensing details, configuration information, connectivity, etc.)

To active the connection:

  1. From the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface, go to Platform > Global settings, and scroll down to the Pexip Private Cloud section.

  2. Select Enable Pexip Private Cloud.

  3. Enter the Gateway URL, Customer ID and Authentication token provided to you by Pexip.

  4. Select Save.

Configuring the PSS system locations

In this step you configure the Pexip Infinity system locations to be associated with the PSS region you are deploying:

  • one system location for the Pexip Smart Scale Transcoding Conferencing Nodes (also referred to as the PSS transcoding location)
  • optionally (if this Pexip Smart Scale region will also include Proxying Edge Nodes), a second, separate Pexip Infinity system location for the proxying nodes (also referred to as the PSS proxying location).

A system location used for one PSS region must not be used for any other PSS regions, or contain any other non-PSS Conferencing Nodes.

When configuring a system location for PSS nodes, the available options are:

Option Description
Name

The name you want to give to this Pexip Smart Scale system location.

We recommend that you make it obvious in the name that this system location is used for Pexip Smart Scale, and whether it contains transcoding nodes or proxying nodes.

Description An optional field where you can provide more information about the location.
DNS servers

From the list of configured DNS servers, select one or more DNS servers to be used by all Conferencing Nodes in this location. You may need to create specific firewall rules or use servers provided by GCP; see DNS and NTP access for more information.

While you can assign unlimited DNS servers to a location, only three will be used. They are used in the order in which they were assigned to the location, with the first to be assigned having highest priority. If multiple servers are assigned simultaneously, those servers are used in descending numerical order. Hence, the order in which the DNS servers are prioritized is not necessarily the same as the order in which they are displayed.

NTP servers From the list of configured NTP servers, select one or more NTP servers to be used by all the Conferencing Nodes in this location. You may need to create specific firewall rules or use servers provided by GCP; see DNS and NTP access for more information.
H.323 gatekeeper

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

SNMP NMS The Network Management System to which SNMP traps for all Conferencing Nodes in this location will be sent. For more information, see Monitoring via SNMP.
SIP proxy

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Web proxy

The web proxy to use for some outbound web requests from all Conferencing Nodes in this location. When selected, the web proxy is used automatically for incident reporting, Epic telehealth requests, and for any One-Touch Join-related requests. For more information, see Using a web proxy.

Lync / Skype for Business server

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Microsoft Teams Connector

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

TURN server

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

STUN server

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Client STUN servers

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

MTU

(Maximum Transmission Unit) — the size of the largest packet that can be transmitted via the network interfaces of the nodes in this location. For any system location being used for Pexip Smart Scale, the MTU must not be higher than 1460 bytes.

For lineside media sent from external-facing nodes (proxying nodes) towards clients, the MTU is applied to media packets at the transcoding location. The MTU should typically align on both the transcoding and proxy locations.

Default: 1500

DSCP value for media

An optional setting used to prioritize different types of traffic in large, complex networks.

This DSCP value tags the media traffic from Conferencing Nodes in this system location that is sent line side to endpoints and over the IPsec backplanes to other Pexip Conferencing Nodes.

DSCP value for signaling

An optional Quality of Service (QoS) setting used to prioritize different types of traffic in large, complex networks.

This DSCP value tags the signaling traffic from Conferencing Nodes in this system location that is sent line side to endpoints and over the IPsec backplanes to other Pexip Conferencing Nodes.

Note that some IPsec traffic between nodes — configuration synchronization and other non-realtime traffic — remains untagged.

Also see DSCP value for management traffic in Global settings.

Transcoding location

The system location to handle media transcoding for calls (signaling) received in, or sent from, this location.

  • For system locations that will contain PSS Transcoding Conferencing Nodes: this is not required. Leave as the default This location.
  • For system locations that will contain PSS Proxying Edge Nodes: select the system location that contains the associated PSS Transcoding Conferencing Nodes.
Primary overflow location
  • For system locations that will contain PSS Transcoding Conferencing Nodes: this is not required.
  • For system locations that will contain PSS Proxying Edge Nodes: optionally, select an alternative system location to handle media when capacity is reached in the PSS location.

See Media overflow locations and PSS for more information.

Secondary overflow location
  • For system locations that will contain PSS Transcoding Conferencing Nodes: this is not required.
  • For system locations that will contain PSS Proxying Edge Nodes: optionally, select an alternative system location to handle media when capacity is reached in both the PSS location and the Primary overflow location.

See Media overflow locations and PSS for more information.

Pexip Infinity domain (for Lync / Skype for Business integration)

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Policy profile

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Event sinks The external service(s) to which Conferencing Nodes in this location send event information. For more information, see Using event sinks to monitor conference and participant status.
Enable PIN brute force resistance in this location

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Enable VOIP scanner resistance in this location

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations.

Creating a Pexip Smart Scale region

In this step you create the Pexip Smart Scale region, and configure it with the capacity you require, the geographical region in which you want it located, and the system location for its Transcoding Conferencing Nodes. If your PSS license agreement includes PSS Proxying Edge Nodes, you can also enable them for this region and nominate their system location.

Note that any changes to the configuration of a PSS region, including an increase or decrease of capacity, may result in the region being temporarily unavailable. We therefore suggest that any changes are made during maintenance periods.

  1. From the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface, go to Platform > Pexip Smart Scale, and select Add Pexip Smart Scale region.

  2. Configure the following:

    Option Description
    Cloud provider region

    From the drop-down list, select the geographical region in which you want to deploy the Pexip Smart Scale region.

    The options available in this list are based on the cloud provider's regions and are set up in advance by Pexip. If you want to change the available options, please contact your Pexip authorized support representative.

    Max HD ports

    This setting determines the capacity of the Pexip Smart Scale region you are creating. Capacity is defined in terms of HD ports, and therefore this region will support a higher number of SD and audio ports, or a lower number of Full HD ports.

    You can increase the capacity of a region at any time. However, you must wait 24 hours after any configuration change to decrease the capacity.

    System location

    This is the Pexip Infinity system location in which this Pexip Smart Scale location's Transcoding Conferencing Nodes will exist.

    A system location used for PSS transcoding nodes should not include any PSS proxying nodes, or any other Conferencing Nodes.

    You can create and configure a new system location by selecting the plus symbol.

    Include Proxying Edge Nodes

    Select this option if you want this Pexip Smart Scale region to include Proxying Edge Nodes (in addition to the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes).

    You will only see this option if your PSS license agreement includes PSS Proxying Edge Nodes.

    Edge node system location

    This is the Pexip Infinity system location in which this Pexip Smart Scale region's Proxying Edge Nodes will exist. This must be a different system location to that used for the Transcoding Conferencing Nodes.

    You can create and configure a new system location by selecting the plus symbol.

  3. Select Save.

  4. You must now enable the region. To do this:

    1. Go back to Platform > Pexip Smart Scale.
    2. Select the PSS region you have just created.
    3. From the Action drop-down list, select Enable configuration.
    4. Select Go.

It may take up to 20 minutes for an initial PSS region to become available. When it has done so successfully, its Status will change to Deployed.