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  1. Multiple conversion servers can be used only in KVS ultimate package. They will let you reduce CPU load on main server and make video conversion faster, but only to some point. It is a common misunderstanding to assume that the more conversion servers you add, the more videos can be converted for the same time. This is not always true. The overall conversion speed depends not only on the actual conversion (e.g. video encoding), but on many other factors as well. Please read more about KVS conversion engine here. Adding new conversion server in KVS System requirements for a conversion server in KVS: PHP 7.1+ IonCube Loader 10.2+ (not required if your have open source code option with your license) PHP Client URL Library (curl) PHP FTP PHP Image Processing and GD PHP.ini disable_functions should not contain "exec" FFmpeg 1.0+ with libx264, libavfilter and AAC codec (libfaac, libfdk_aac or native ffmpeg aac codec) ImageMagick You can add a content server in admin panel in Settings -> Conversion servers. For Maximum tasks option it is recommended to keep it in 5-10 interval. This option doesn't mean how many tasks are executed in parallel; instead it affects how many tasks are uploaded to this conversion server. High values for this option may result on overall conversion performance degradation. For Optimize content copying options we provided complete explanation in this post. The next set of options are related to server connection. KVS uses these settings to copy tasks to conversion servers. In most cases you will need to specify FTP connection details here. The most confusing option here can be FTP folder. In order to specify it correctly you should first login to your FTP using standard FTP client and see where you come into. It can be possible that your FTP is directly configured to the needed folder, but in most cases FTP will be configured into home folder of FTP user or www root folder. NOTE: conversion folder doesn't require any HTTP access to it. Therefore it can be ANY folder on your remote server, but it should be unique and should belong to only 1 conversion server in KVS. Here is an example configuration for a remote conversion server: Configuring cron on remote conversion server NOTE: on conversion server with local connection you don't need to add any cron schedule for it, it will be automatically executed by KVS engine. After conversion server is created in KVS and its connection is validated, KVS will copy remote_cron.php file into the specified remote folder. This file is needed to perform remote conversion tasks. In order for it to start working, you should put it on cron every minute using the following command (please note that you should specify the valid filesystem path to remote_cron.php script): php /path/to/remote_cron.php > /dev/null 2>&1 Once configured, this script will create several files in the same folder, which will mean that this command works fine. KVS will change status for this conversion server from Initializing to Active within 5 minutes. After switching to Active status this server will be utilized by KVS conversion engine and will start processing conversion tasks. Troubleshooting issues KVS will validate basic issues when you try to save server settings in admin panel. After you add server, KVS will validate it on background every 5 minutes to check if it operates successfully. Even if initially you didn't have any errors, new errors may appear later due to various factors. First, FTP connection or remote server configuration may be changed externally and some functionality will simply stop working. All issues found on background are immediately reported to KVS start page as they all are considered CRITICAL and may indicate that your remote server is not working correctly and conversion may be blocked. You should make sure to fix them ASAP. Errors from background checks are not very detailed and just indicate some set of issues. In order to get more details you should try to save server settings in admin panel. NOTE: if server reports an error and you have already fixed it, please give it 5 minutes to do re-check and verify this error is fixed. Until that, server may still show this error. This only applies for background checks on existing servers. When you save server settings in admin panel, all issues are validated right a way without any delay. If saving server in admin panel still shows validation errors, these errors are not yet fixed. Here is the list of errors you can get when saving server settings: - This connection folder is already used by another server. This issue means that you are trying to configure this server into a folder, which is already used by another storage or conversion server. You should never do this, each storage or conversion server in KVS should be configured into a separate folder on filesystem. - Unable to connect to host : post. KVS is not able to connect to the specified FTP host or port. If the entered data is valid, most probably your FTP is protected by firewall and you should make sure that your main server's IP is whitelisted. Also sometimes your FTP may be configured for using non standard FTP port, you should check this as well. - Unable to login with credentials provided. Either FTP username or password is not valid. - Put / get / chmod / delete operations failed, insufficient permissions possible. When validating server connection, KVS will try to put a test file to the server and then delete it. You will get this error if any of the mentioned operations failed, which probably indicates wrong FTP folder or FTP configuration issue. Try to log in to FTP manually using desktop FTP client and try to copy any file into the specified folder. Can you do this manually? Also this error can happen if /tmp folder on your main KVS installation does not exist or is not writable. In order to check that go to Plugins -> Audit and run installation check. It will show error for tmp folder if anything is wrong. - No PHP extension for FTP was found. Your remote server's PHP doesn't have support for FTP module and therefore it is not possible to enable allow this server to copy content to storage servers option for this server. - No PHP extension for CURL was found. Your remote server's PHP doesn't have support for CURL module and therefore it is not possible to enable allow this server to pull source files from primary server option for this server. - Conversion script not configured / not working on this server. - Conversion script is not working. - Conversion script executed more than 15 minutes ago. These errors indicate that your remote server either doesn't have a cron task to execute remote_cron.php script every minute, or executing this script results in critical PHP error. Please check if you have cron task set. If you have it, then try executing this command manually from command line to see its output (please note that you should specify the valid filesystem path to remote_cron.php script): php /path/to/remote_cron.php In some cases if your remote server has another timezone than your main server, KVS may think that its remote_cron.php script is not executed, while it does. Open conversion server settings in KVS admin panel and specify its timezone offset under Configuration. Save conversion server settings and give it 5 minutes to re-check and remove this error. - Some libraries are not configured correctly on this server. This error indicates that KVS was not able to locate ffmpeg / imagemagick executables on your remote server. First of all you should make sure that these libraries are installed on the server. If not - please install them. If the libraries are installed, then most probably their binaries are not located using standard paths. Open conversion server settings in KVS admin panel and specify the correct paths for libraries that were not detected correctly under Configuration. Save conversion server settings and give it 5 minutes to re-check and remove this error.
  2. Multiple conversion servers can be used only in KVS ultimate package. They will let you reduce CPU load on main server and make video conversion faster, but only to some point. It is a common misunderstanding to assume that the more conversion servers you add, the more videos can be converted for the same time. This is not always true. The overall conversion speed depends not only on the actual conversion (e.g. video encoding), but on many other factors as well that will be explained in this post. KVS conversion engine works in 3 phases, in some cases only 1 or 2 phases are executed and the rest are skipped. But if we speak of processing newly uploaded videos, this is always a 3-phase process: Main server: prepares conversion task for conversion server and uploads this task to conversion server Conversion server: executes task Main server: verifies and finalizes task execution Main server cron and conversion server cron are both triggered each 1 minute. It means that any new video will require at least 2 minutes before its conversion is finalized. Even if conversion itself takes couple of seconds, you will have to wait for 2 minutes due to cron limits. Conversion phase 1 When phase 1 is executed, in most cases this phase is very fast and all it needs to do is to copy task info and the uploaded video file to conversion server. This may take a while if your source files are huge and your conversion server is remote. The most important thing to understand here is that this phase is always processed in 1 thread. If you have 10 new videos scheduled and 10 free conversion servers, the main cron will have to copy each video to each conversion server 1 by 1 (not in parallel). If copying each video takes 1 minute, your conversion engine will be busy with spending 10 minutes to copy 10 tasks to conversion servers. In this case there is no big difference how many conversion servers you have, because each task takes the whole minute to simply copy it. Your video queue will not be processed faster than 1 * 60 * 24 = 1440 videos per day. Remote conversion server settings have an option to cope with this issue, which allows conversion server to download video source files from the main server instead of require main server to copy them to conversion server: This changes the whole picture. Main server will not need to spend 1 minute to copy video source files anymore, instead it will spend only 1 second to copy a small task file. Thus it can copy 10 tasks to 10 conversion servers in less than 10 seconds, so that for the whole minute it can copy up to 60 tasks. Then each conversion server will download source files from main server, but now this will happen in parallel. If you have only 2 remote conversion servers, then they both will download 2 video source files at the same time. But if you have 10 - they will download 10 in parallel. This is a huge speed increase. The only issue here is to make sure that your main server is able to serve so many files at the same time, you should also remember that main server serves your website for the end users and these parallel downloads can affect the overall speed of your main server. Conversion phase 2 During phase 2 conversion servers will download video source from main server (if this option enabled in their settings, see the previous section) and will do all the necessary conversion logic programmed. Here each conversion server works independently of everything else. If you have 10 conversion servers, they will do phase 2 for 10 tasks in parallel, so phase 2 can be easily scaled to any speed you want by just adding more conversion servers. It is a common practice to create multiple conversion servers (at least 2) for the same physical server. You can easily do that by simply using separate conversion folders, so you can create 2 or more conversion servers in KVS using the same physical server box, e.g.: Convertor - 1: /home/ftpuser/conversion1 Convertor - 2: /home/ftpuser/conversion2 Convertor - 3: /home/ftpuser/conversion3 Why does this make sense? The whole phase 2 conversion consists of multiple conversion steps, here are some examples of them: Downloading source file from the main server Using ffmpeg to convert video to another format or quality Using ffmpeg to take screenshots from video Using imagemagick to create thumbs for the screenshots Copying result video files to storage server(s) If you look at these steps, some of them are using much CPU and some of them are using much network to download or upload. Also when taking screenshots from video files ffmpeg is using less CPU in comparison to when converting, taking screenshots can result in some delays depending on source file and how easily it can be navigated based on keyframes. If you use only 1 conversion server for 1 physical server, there will be intervals when your CPU load is 0% or when your network load is 0%. This is a waste of resources. By creating at least 2 conversion servers for the same physical server you will increase its conversion speed and overall resources utilization will be close to 100%. But this doesn't mean that adding more conversion servers here will increase the speed to x2, or x3 - this is just a matter of +20% or +30%. Therefore we think that having 2 or max 3 conversion servers per 1 physical server is more than enough. Conversion phase 3 This final phase is executed back again on the main server. When conversion server finishes processing a task, main conversion engine will pull this task result from conversion server. All high-CPU operations have already been done on conversion server and this phase is just to pull result screenshots and result video files if needed. Copying files may take time, especially on low quality network connections. This phase is like phase 1 in term of time - it can take much time to copy big or many files and the number of conversion servers you have cannot speed this up. Similar to what we said in phase 1, phase 3 can also have optimized copying. Each conversion server has an option to enable it to copy video files to storage servers and thus main server will not have to do that: This will result in parallel video files copying and you can benefit here from having multiple conversion servers. There is one case however, when this option cannot be used - if you have a local storage server. The reason is that local storage server is defined as a directory path (e.g. /var/www/domain.com/contents/videos), and this directory makes sense for the main server only. Remote conversion servers cannot use this path, so they won't be able to copy result video files. In such cases KVS will automatically disable this option and will force all result video files to be copied via main server. Then you have no much sense to add many remote conversion servers, since they will probably have a lot of spare resources. Summary: what can affect conversion speed Here is a summary of factors that can affect conversion speed in different scenarios: Connection latency / network speed between main server and conversion servers - bad network conditions will reduce conversion speed, that's why remote conversion servers should be located ideally with the same datacenter to avoid network roundtrips. LA (load average) on the main server - by default if LA > 10, KVS will stop all background processing to protect your server from overload. This can postpone conversion processing for as long, as high LA is remaining in effect. CPU and disk speed on conversion servers - converting big video files can utilize much CPU (when scaling, watermarking) and also disk subsystem. Very slow disks may result in CPU resources not fully utilized. RAM is not very significant, however we've seen some cases when ffmpeg or imagemagick was using more than 1GB of RAM. For a conversion server you should have at least 2GB of free RAM. If you use multiple conversion servers on the same physical server, then your physical server should have 2GB * number of conversion servers you plan there. In multiple remote conversion servers scenario if servers are allowed to download source files from main server, it is critically important that main server is able to serve all these files in parallel as well as it is able to serve your end users at the same time. Otherwise the benefit from using multiple conversion servers will be only in reducing CPU usage on the main server and not speeding up conversion process much. If you have any local storage server, which is used to host newly uploaded videos, then you will not get 100% benefit from using multiple remote conversion servers, as main server will have to pull all result video files from them in 1 thread, which will mean that your overall system conversion speed will be limited to the speed of pulling an average video file from a remote conversion server. You can still use 1 or 2 remote conversion servers for reducing main server's CPU usage. When uploading video files without conversion (e.g. you upload them not as source files, but as ready video formats, which is very popular when using tube scrapper plugin), CPU resources are mostly not being used. Thus in such scenarios the key component to speeding up new content processing is reducing network utilization. No much sense to use remote conversion servers, since no much CPU resources are being utilized. Instead remote conversion servers will increase network utilization and thus may reduce overall speed. If you are using local storage - you are fine with 1 local conversion server. But if you are using remote storage, you may need to add 1 more local conversion server (with another directory on filesystem), to parallel the process of copying video files to storage server(s) and thus to increase processing speed. How to analyze performance You can find conversion logs in Administration -> Background tasks log section: By looking into these stats you can have some understanding of what is the problem, if you have one. If most of the time is spent on creating video files, it may indicate that your CPU is quite slow. If much time is spent on copying or downloading files, it may indicate that your network connection is poor, or network is overloaded at some port (main, conversion or storage server), or disks are overloaded. Please pay attention to "Waiting for xxx to start phase Y" messages. They do not mean that conversion engine is stuck and "actively waiting", absolutely no - conversion engine may switch to another task during this period, which is the most likely scenario when you have many tasks. These waiting timings may be big enough, up to hours, but they are not considered when calculating "effective" time spent on task processing.
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