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 locations. You can add or remove these locations, and scale their capacity up or down, according to your own deployment's changing requirements.

With Pexip Smart Scale, you still deploy your own self-hosted Management Node and at least one Proxying Edge Node (which provides the call routing into your deployment). Then, instead of having to host all your own Transcoding Conferencing Nodes (which provide the processing capacity) as well, you can elect to have Pexip deploy some or all of them on your behalf, as Pexip Smart Scale locations. We create the necessary Conferencing Nodes (the actual number of which will depend on a variety of factors including the capacity required for that location), and these nodes then receive exactly the same service configuration from your Management Node as all the other Conferencing Nodes in your deployment.

Conferencing Nodes in a Pexip Smart Scale location 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. When you deploy a PSS location, you assign it to its own unique system location, and then configure that system location (e.g. DNS, NTP and other servers, web proxies, transcoding and overflow locations, policy profiles) in the usual way.

Available regions

Currently, Pexip Smart Scale runs in GCP; other cloud providers will be added in future releases. The regions in which you can deploy PSS locations 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, network configuration, status and data (e.g. CDR); call signaling and media is terminated within your own deployment.

  • Ease, flexibility and speed of deployment: nodes in Pexip Smart Scale locations 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 locations of your choice. You can quickly increase or reallocate your resources depending on your changing requirements.

Use cases

New deployments

Pexip Smart Scale can be implemented within new 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.

Expanding or migrating existing deployments

You can also 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 Proxying Edge Nodes, and then add Pexip Smart Scale locations, either in place of, or in addition to, your existing system locations.

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 location involves the following steps, described in the sections that follow:

Prerequisites

Network architecture and firewall considerations

Your Pexip Infinity deployment must include your own self-hosted Management Node and at least one self-hosted Proxying Edge Node. System locations used for Pexip Smart Scale must have connectivity to the Management Node and associated 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 location.

The diagram below gives a basic overview of a simple deployment, but the exact requirements will depend on your network and deployment architecture; please contact your Pexip authorized support representative for further information and guidance.

Diagram showing basic components of a Pexip Infinity deployment with Pexip Smart Scale

DNS and NTP access

Conferencing Nodes in a Pexip Smart Scale location 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 location):

  • 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 Node

Because PSS nodes are transcoding-only, you must have at least one Proxying Edge Node within your own self-hosted deployment to handle the signaling on behalf of PSS nodes. For more information, see Configuring an associated Proxying Edge Node.

Overflow locations and PSS

Overflow locations allow a node that is handling signaling to make use of transcoding resource in another system location when its own nominated transcoding location has reached capacity. Because Pexip Smart Scale locations do not handle signaling, they do not make direct use of overflow locations themselves. If you want to enable overflow when a PSS location has reached capacity, then you configure this on the system location that is handling the signaling on behalf of the PSS location (i.e. the system location containing the associated Proxying Edge Node). This system location should be configured to use the PSS system location as its Transcoding location, and then use any other PSS locations or Transcoding Conferencing Nodes in your deployment as its Primary overflow location and Secondary overflow location, which will then be used if the PSS location reaches capacity.

Placement of outgoing calls from a Pexip Smart Scale location

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 be placed from a Conferencing Node within your own self-hosted deployment (rather than from a Pexip Smart Scale location). This is because Pexip Smart Scale locations are transcoding-only, and therefore do not handle call signaling.

To ensure that outgoing calls are not placed from a Pexip Smart Scale location, 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

In this step, you activate your connection to the Pexip Private Cloud using the information provided to you by Pexip. To do this:

  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 location

In this step you configure the the Pexip Infinity system location which will contain the Pexip Smart Scale location (which will itself be created in the next step).

Each Pexip Smart Scale location must be contained with a single system location; that system location must not be used for any other PSS locations or contain any other Conferencing Nodes.

When configuring the system location that will contain the Pexip Smart Scale location, 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.

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.
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.

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.

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations. Leave as the default This location.

Primary overflow location

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations. See Overflow locations and PSS for more information.

Secondary overflow location

Not required for Pexip Smart Scale system locations. See 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 location

In this step you create the Pexip Smart Scale location, and configure it with the capacity you require, the geographical region in which you want it located, and the system location that will contain it.

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

  2. Configure the following:

    Option Description
    Region

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

    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 calls

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

    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 (created in the previous step) in which this Pexip Smart Scale location will exist. A system location used for PSS should not include any other 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 location. To do this, go back to Platform > Pexip Smart Scale, select the PSS location you have just created, and from the Action drop-down list, select Enable configuration and then select Go.

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

Configuring an associated Proxying Edge Node

Pexip Smart Scale locations are transcoding-only; they do not handle any signaling. Therefore every PSS location must have at least one node — usually a Proxying Edge Node — that will handle signaling on its behalf.

These Proxying Edge Nodes:

  • will receive and place calls, handle signaling and terminate media on behalf of the Pexip Smart Scale location

  • must reside within your own self-hosted deployment (either on-premises, or within your own cloud subscription)

  • must be placed in a separate system location to that of the PSS location.

The system location containing these Proxying Edge Nodes:

  • must be configured to use the PSS 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 location. These overflow locations could be other PSS locations in a different region, or a location containing your own self-hosted Conferencing Nodes. For more infomation, see Overflow locations and PSS.

If you have not already done so, you should now:

  1. Create at least one Proxying Edge Node.

  2. Create a system location that contains the Proxying Edge Node.

  3. Configure that system location's Transcoding location to use the system location used for Pexip Smart Scale.

For more information, see Deployment guidelines for Proxying Edge Nodes and About system locations.

Configuring Call Routing Rules for PSS

In Pexip Infinity deployments that include Pexip Smart Scale locations, you must ensure that outgoing calls are not placed from a Pexip Smart Scale location. To do this:

To make doubly sure that there are no attempts to place outgoing calls from a Pexip Smart Scale location, you may wish to create a Call Routing Rule that routes all outgoing calls from a Pexip Smart Scale location via its Proxying Edge Node location. Such a rule should include the following settings:

Option Input Notes
Use this rule for...
Incoming gateway calls Do not select this option  
Outgoing calls from a conference Select this option  
Calls being handled in location Select the Pexip Smart Scale system location  
Alias match and transform
Match against full alias URI Do not select this option  
Destination alias regex match .+@.+\..+ This regular expression will match any destination alias at any domain.
Destination alias regex replace string <leave blank> We have left this blank because we do not want to amend the alias.
Outgoing call placement
Outgoing location We recommend that you select the system location of the Proxying Edge Node(s) that handle the signaling for the Pexip Smart Scale system location.  

Configuring Automatically Dialed Participants for PSS

To ensure that outgoing calls are not placed from a Pexip Smart Scale location, all Automatically Dialed Participants in your deployment (regardless of whether the ADP has Route this call set to Manually or Automatically) must have their Outgoing location configured to use a specific system location within your own self-hosted deployment that contains either Proxying Edge Nodes or Transcoding Conferencing Nodes. In other words, the Outgoing location for ADPs must not be set to Automatic, or to any PSS location.

In most cases, we recommend that the Outgoing location is set to the Proxying Edge Node location that is handling the signaling for the PSS location. Alternatively (for example, for larger or geographically distributed deployments) you could select a Proxying Edge Node or a Transcoding Conferencing Node that is geographically close to the location of the endpoint to be dialed.

If the ADP has Route this call set to Automatically, you must also ensure that all calls placed from the selected Outgoing location match a Call Routing Rule — this can either be a general rule, or a rule specific to that location.