Ticker Tape > Deploying Ticker Tape >
Setting up FTP-based Message Control File locations

Successfully configuring a FTP-based Site is more complex in a number of different areas than the default UNC-based Site type and, depending upon your environment and skill-set, may well require input from a number of teams within your organisation. For this reason, you are advised to use a UNC-based Site if at all possible (see the Deciding upon Site type(s) topic for advice on when to use certain Site types

The Message Control File (MCF) location for a particular Site acts as the "drop off" & "pick up" point for that Site - the Ticker Tape Administrator 'drops' the message for the Site there and the Agents (configured for that Site) 'pick' it up from there.
In reality, the Message Control File location is really nothing more than a common area that the Administrator has permissions to upload to via FTP, while the Agents only have permissions to download from, via HTTP.

For a FTP-based Site, the MCF location will be hosted on a 'Web' server running both the FTP and HTTP protocols, that may or may not be within your companies infrastructure and that the Agents for that Site -wherever they are - have access to. If this Web server is hosted within your infrastructure it may well be within your companies Internet-facing De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) - if outside of your infrastructure, the server could be hosted on the Internet, literally anywhere in the world.

Either way, in order for the Administrator software to upload messages to the server hosting the Message Control File for a Site, it will need to ability to communicate with the server via FTP - depending upon your corporate security policies and infrastructure, this may require you to speak to your security officer or I.S. department in order to allow your workstation to send and receive FTP traffic through your firewalls / edge devices successfully.

Setting up FTP-based Message Control File locations  
A FTP-based Message Control File location can be used with a group of Agents that aren't normally connected into your corporate infrastructure, but that do have access to the Web server that their Message Control File is hosted on. Note that Agent computers that connect into your infrastructure via a VPN normally don't fall into this category as, when connected, they are effectively part of your private infrastructure.

Note also that it is also possible to host multiple MCF locations on a single FTP server - you'd merely need to ensure that each Site had a unique MCF location on the server. This can be a good solution in situations where you have access to a FTP server that, while distant from you, is hosted geographically close to a number of offices which have reliable connectivity to it. One disadvantage in this scenario however is that this FTP server now becomes a 'single point of failure' for multiple Agent Sites.

For clarity, irrespective of where you physically host your MCF locations - whether on a "one MCF to one FTP server" basis or "multiple MCF's per FTP server" - each MCF is unique to a Site and it's the number of Site's that influence whether you need to purchase a license or not. The number of Sites you require is based upon how you wish to group your Agent computers as explained in the topic "What's a Ticker Tape Site? "

Important: Th e instructions below may differ depending upon the FTP server type, your companies’ security best practices or other factors in your environment. If in doubt, please seek advice from your security officer, I.S. department or hosting provider.

Creating a MCF location for a 'FTP'-based Site is relatively straight-forward following the guidance below and should take less than 10 minutes - for context, the fictional environment we'll be setting the new MCF location up for comprises;

To setup the MCF location;

  1. Create the 'Malaysia' MCF location;
    • Via your usual FTP client (FileZilla in this example), FTP into the 'ourwebserver.my' server so you have visibility of the file system.
    • Within an area of the file system that is accessible via HTTP (ie. accessible via a browser for example), create a new directory called 'malaysiamcf'
      • The exact / 'best' place to create this directory is dependent upon your corporate policies & conventions, as well as server configuration. In this instance, we create the new directory under the '/httpdocs' directory which is actually the base directory for the company web site. 


  2. Ensure the permissions on the directory are appropriate;
    • For the Administrator software;
      • If you'll be using the same credentials to access the MCF Upload Location from the Administrator software as you did to create the new 'malaysiamcf' directory, you should already have at least the permissions to upload new messages into the directory.
      • If you'll be using different credentials from the Administrator software, you'll need to ensure that the user has at least the ability to create & write new files into the 'malaysiamcf' directory
    • For the Agents;
      • They only need access to Read files within the 'malaysiamcf' directory, not to create or write to them

At this point, the Malaysia Site MCF location is effectively ready for use - the Administrator user should be able to upload to the 'Malaysia' MCF location using the Administrator software (which will be configured as a FTP Site, using the appropriate access credentials) and, once the workstations in the 'Malacca', 'Kuantan' & 'Ipoh' offices have had the Agent software installed, they'll be able to download from the HTTP accessible 'view' of the MCF location.

The next task is to configure the Administrator software so that it knows where the MCF location for Malaysia is - to do this we'll need to make a note of both the location we FTP upload to and the corresponding HTTP accessible URL that the Agents will use. In this example, these are 'ftp://ourwebserver.my/httpdocs/malaysiamcf' and 'http://ourwebserver.my/malaysiamcf' respectively and, after configuration, the Malaysia Site would look similar to;

Note the difference between the MCF Upload and Download Locations, as well as the entry of the credentials that the Administrator software will use to authenticate with the FTP server. 

Continue to the topic 'Configuring Sites within Ticker Tape Administrator '

Help file v1.5.1a      © Copyright 2008-2014 Ambersoftware.co.uk