[dba-Tech] The Big Blue Button

Jim Lawrence accessd at shaw.ca
Mon Oct 16 21:13:10 CDT 2017

The Big Blue Button is great piece of software if you are managing a distributed series of classes and/or sales team. The application has gathered together all the components anyone would need and if additional software is required that program can easily connect through all the standard protocols. I have been working with it off and on for about week and I am totally impressed.

To view the main website of Big Blue Button:
https://bigbluebutton.org/ ...and tutorials and demos and documentation. 

...and download...

...or if you are running Ubuntu as your server just enter the follow command line:
sudo apt install BigBlueButton

...and the costs of various service plans...

If you wish to install, secure and run it yourself, here is an excellent tutorial. The tutorial instructs on how BBB should properly setup on a Cloud based system; DigitalOcean but the notes can be translated to virtual any configuration. It will have a full firewall, SSL certificates via "Let's Encrypt"  (with automated updates), high level encrypted password security and a host of other features. This weekend a friend and myself installed BBB in the latest LTS copy of Ubuntu (17.04) on a Microsoft Hyper-V server and it is working very nicely even though BBB system installation recommends against vitalization. We will add a few clients and then be able to test it at length.

The above video is very thorough and easy to follow. For some finally enhancements here is some Cloud magic that will allow a developer to have two systems running on a couple of IP addresses. It is good for designing, testing and then uploading and could also be used, in situations as a fall-over backup server.

We will first test it all on the current site, install all the users and administrators and then migrate the system, probably to a DigitalOcean droplette, with its high-bandwidth internet connections and then go live.

One of the fine attributes of this application is that source code can be downloaded (https://github.com/bigbluebutton/bigbluebutton) and stored, the product can be run on a host of unique configurations and if required, the company Big Blue Button is there to provide full level product services and support.        

Aside: If you are planning on using the product to full capacity check the minimum requirements first:
"...The minimum server requirements for installing BigBlueButton 1.1 are

    Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit OS or greater
    4 GB of memory with swap enabled (8 GB of memory is better)
    Quad-core 2.6 GHZ CPU (or faster)
    TCP ports 80, 443,and 1935 are accessible
    TCP port 7443 is accessible if you intend to configure SSL (recommended), otherwise port 5066 is accessible
    UDP ports 16384 - 32768 are accessible
    Port 80 is not in use by another application (no private mail system)

Other recommendations are

    500G of free disk space (or more) for recordings
    100 Mbits/sec bandwidth (symmetrical)
    Dedicated (bare metal) hardware (not virtualized)

Why do we recommend a bare metal server? BigBlueButton uses FreeSWITCH (https://freeswitch.org/) for processing of incoming audio packets and FreeSWITCH works best in a non-virtualized environment (see FreeSWITCH recommended configurations). You can still run BigBlueButton on a virtual server (such as shown in the install video), but you’ll get best performance on dedicated hardware.

If you are a developer setting up a BigBlueButton server for dev and testing, you don’t need 500G free for such recordings (40G would be more than sufficient).

If you want to install BigBlueButton on Amazon EC2, launch a 64-bit Xenial instance from Canonical’s list of list of supported AMI. We recommend running BigBlueButton on a c4.xlarge (or greater CPU) instance.

What about bandwidth for users? For end-user accessing the BigBlueButton server we recommend (a minimum of) 1.0 Mbits/sec download speed and 0.5 Mbits/sec upload speed. If the presenter intends to share his or her desktop, then we recommend (a minimum of) 1.0 Mbits/sec upload speed...(or running it on a closed network)..."


More information about the dba-Tech mailing list