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Setting up a Highly-Available Spok Mobile 4.5 Environment

This procedure is used by Spok PSG representatives to set up a highly available environment for the Care Connect and Spok Mobile servers during the implementation of Spok Mobile 4.5.

Both the Care Connect Server and the Spok Mobile Server support active-passive, fault-tolerant load balancer configurations on both the web server application tier and the database storage tier. When setting up a highly-available Care Connect configuration, perform the steps below to make the web routing and database connection fail over to a secondary server. Note that in all configurations, the Spok Mobile and Care Connect servers all point to the same database instance. 

The following diagram shows a fully-secure and redundant Care Connect 1.9 deployment running in an active-passive configuration.

Spok_Mobile_4.5_Network_Diagram.png

Opening Ports

All the ports needed for a fault-tolerant Care Connect environment are opened during pre-implementation, along with any other ports that must be opened. Some of the ports listed below are optional, depending on what components are enabled. For more details, see Care Connect Port Requirements

  • 443 - HTTPS
  • 2001 - Spok Mobile Server Connection to Spok Mobile Hosted
  • 8081 - Spok Mobile Adapter
  • 8091 - Spok Mobile Services (Secure)
  • 8883 - Spok Notification Framework customers only
  • 20000 - Spok Mobile Contact Center Gateway Port
  • 20001 - Spok Mobile Secondary Contact Center Gateway

Ensure that Proxy Servers are Available

If a customer wants a highly-available configuration, the customer will need to supply properly-configured proxy servers/load balancers. Spok recommends one proxy server/load balancer for the Platform servers, and one proxy server/load balancer for the Spok Mobile servers. High availability in the web tier supports Spok's service. When the primary server goes down, the load balancer performs a retry against the secondary server with little to no interruption in service.

F5 Load Balancer Recommendations for Spok Mobile

Typically, customer sites have load balancers in place and configured prior to the start of the Spok Mobile installation. Load balancers must be configured properly to ensure that the system can successfully fail over and be monitored. The supported health monitor for the Spok Mobile environment is tcp_half_open. Note that this only applies to the 2000x MXPP ports.

 

Configure a Shared Location for Assets

The Spok Mobile server uses the asset directory to store any media images or documents that are sent as attachments in Spok Mobile messages. Customers are responsible for retention policies for their own asset directory. Spok recommends storing the asset directory on the Private LAN for security purposes.

The configuration shown below is required for both fault-tolerant and non-fault tolerant environments. For more information, see CCS Installer 1.9 Prerequisites.

Implement the Servers

The servers must be installed and configured to point to the proxy server or load balancer server.

Implement the Care Connect Servers

For complete installation and configuration instructions, see Implementing the Care Connect 1.9 Server.

Implement the Care Connect Platform on the Primary Care Connect Server

The primary Care Connect platform server acts as a master server in a load-balanced, fault-tolerant environment. It is the "brain" of the Care Connect Suite, and talks to all of the other components. The platform server hosts all of the configurations and communication end points. To implement the Care Connect Platform on the primary Care Connect Server, do the following:

  1. In the CCS Installer's Custom Setup dialog, select Platform, DPE, and Web for installation.
  2. Use the customer's primary database for the database connection.
  3. Set Configuration Manager to point to the hostname/IP address of the customer's Platform proxy server/load balancer.
  4. Upload the license file. For more information, see Importing a License File.
  5. Update the SpokServiceAppPool application pool, and set the Identity to the CareConnect user. For more information, see Updating the Application Pool Identity.
  6. Connect to http://localhost/Web
  7. On the System Settings Administration screen, do the following:
    • Under IIS Configuration, set the Server Name field to the hostname/IP address of the customer's Platform proxy server/load balancer. 
    • Update the required SMTP Settings.
    • Set the Asset Directory Location to the shared location created on the customer's fileshare.
    • Save the configuration.

Implement the Care Connect Platform on the Secondary Platform Server

The secondary platform server acts as a failover server in a load-balanced, fault-tolerant environment. If the primary platform server goes down or becomes unresponsive, this server takes over all communications.

  1. In the CCS Installer's Custom Setup dialog, select Platform, DPE, and Web for installation.
    • Set the Database Deploy field for each of these features to Will not be installed.
  2. Set ConfigManager to point to the hostname/IP address of the customer's Platform proxy server/load balancer.
  3. Update the SpokServiceAppPool application pool, and set the Identity to the CareConnect user. For more information, see Updating the Application Pool Identity.
  4. Connect to http://localhost/Web.
  5. On the System Settings Administration screen, validate the information configured on the Main Platform Server.
  6. Save the configuration.

Implement Spok Mobile on the Spok Mobile Servers

For complete installation and configuration instructions, see Implementing the Spok Mobile 4.5 Server.

Implement Spok Mobile on the Primary Spok Mobile Server

The primary Spok Mobile server acts as a master server in a load-balanced, fault-tolerant environment. It is the central point for inbound communications.

  1. In the CCS Installer's Custom Setup dialog, select Mobile for installation.
  2. Use the customer's primary database for the database connection
  3. Set ConfigManager to point to the hostname/IP address of the customer's Spok Mobile proxy server/load balancer.
  4. Update the Amcom Mobile Connect Services application pool, and set the Identity to the CareConnect user. For more information, see Updating the Application Pool Identity). 
  5. Connect to http://localhost/Amc/Admin
  6. On the Spok Mobile Configuration Settings screen, do the following:
    • Set the Mobile Server Name to the hostname/IP address of Proxy 2
    • Add a third MXPP gateway, 20003.
    • Enable the Adapter.
      • Update the Gateway Port to 20003.
    • Click Apply and Save.

Implement Spok Mobile on the Secondary Spok Mobile Server

The secondary Spok Mobile server acts as a failover server in a load-balanced, fault-tolerant environment. If the primary Spok Mobile server goes down or becomes unresponsive, this server takes over all communications.

  1. In the CCS Installer's Custom Setup dialog, select Mobile for installation.
    • Set Database Deploy for this feature to Will not be installed.
  2. Set ConfigManager to point to the hostname/IP address of the customer's Spok Mobile proxy server/load balancer.
  3. Update the Amcom Mobile Connect Services application pool, and set the Identity to the CareConnect user. For more information, see Updating the Application Pool Identity.
  4. Connect to http://localhost/Amc/Admin.
  5. On the Spok Mobile Configuration Settings screen, validate the information configured on the Main Platform server.
  6. Click Apply and Save.

Setting up Mirroring

This section only applies to environments using SQL mirroring. If your environment does not use mirroring, skip this section.

Setting up mirroring on the database helps enable fault tolerance at the database transactional layer. It ensures that all information is properly recorded in the database for audit, compliance, and application stability. 

Spok supports the following mirroring options:

  • Oracle Fast Start Failover
  • SQL Server Mirroring
  • SQL Server Clustering

As part of the configuration of these servers, set up mirroring. For more information, see Configuring SQL Server Redundant Mirroring Sessions.

Configuring DNS

This article describes how to configure DNS in a Care Connect environment, and how to configure systems in an environment without a DNS server.

Each system used in the implementation of a Care Connect System should use DNS services to resolve system names to the addresses of the systems. DNS 'A Record' entries should be added to allow systems to resolve load balancer addresses and external names. 

Without a distributed DNS, each computer must check its host file and DNS server to discover a domain name's IP address. If the DNS server does not know which IP is set for a domain name, and if there is no record of this in the hosts file, the computer does not know which IP address to open. The user will not be able to access this site, even if he or she can can establish a connection to it. To prevent this situation, you must configure the DNS server.

Configuring the Hosts File

Each server in the Care Connect System should be configured to use names instead of IP addresses by utilizing the hosts file. The hosts file should be configured even if the server has DNS so that all self-referential requests go to the server itself rather than through the load balancer.

  1. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc.
  2. Open the hosts file with a text editor.
  3. At the end of the hosts file, enter 127.0.0.1.
  4. Press Tab on the keyboard.
  5. Enter the domain name of the premise server. 
  6. Add entries for the following:
    • Spok Mobile External Load Balancer
    • Care Connect Platform Load Balancer (if different)
    • Primary SQL Server
    • Mirror SQL Server (if using SQL Mirroring)
  7. After you are finished making changes, save the hosts file.

Spok Notification Framework Customers - RabbitMQ Configuration

For high-availability customer sites which use the Spok Notification Framework, you must configure RabbitMQ. For more information, see Setting up RabbitMQ for an HA Spok Mobile Implementation.

Configure Integrations

For information about configuring integrations with other Spok products, see Configuring Spok Product Integrations.