The Distribution Flow
The high-level distribution flow has two main flows:
- Creating a Release Bundle
You can create a Release Bundle using the Create Release Bundle Version REST API call on JFrog Distribution and specify a variety of parameters including the files comprising the Release Bundle, and different properties associated with it or directly in the UI.
- Distributing a Release Bundle
Distribution is responsible for triggering the replication process that happens from the source Artifactory to the Edge nodes. First, it replicates the Release Bundle info to each Edge Node, and then initiates the replication process in the source Artifactory.
Behind the Scenes
Distributing a Release Bundle
The distribution process includes these three steps:
- Start a distribution transaction: Query JFrog Mission Control for details on the distribution target nodes, and provide the target nodes (Artifactory Edge Nodes), with information about distributed files such as their checksum.
- Transfer files with smart replication: JFrog Distribution invokes the Replicator which distributes files by replicating them from the source Artifactory instance to the target Artifactory Edge nodes.
- End a distribution transaction: JFrog Distribution notifies the Edge node that the transaction is complete. In turn, the Edge node validates the integrity of the transferred Release Bundle and the Release Bundle as a unit through their checksum and hosts them in the correct place as specified in the Release Bundle.
Installing an Edge Node
The process of installing an Edge node is identical to installing any other Artifactory instance. For details, please refer to Installing Artifactory.
The Replicator is a process that optimizes replication when distributing software with JFrog Distribution, dramatically reducing the load on the network and the time taken to synchronize Release Bundles from a source Artifactory instance to target instance or Edge node.
Make sure to activate the Replicator
The primary purpose of an Edge node is to receive Release Bundles for deployment to a runtime which requires the use of the Replicator. Therefore, once your Edge node is installed, you need to ensure its Replicator has been activated and is ready for use as described in Installation and Activation.
Circle of Trust
An Edge node can only receive Release Bundles from an Artifactory service if they are both within the same circle of trust. Once you have completed the installation of the Edge node, make sure to add it to the circle of trust for any Artifactory service from which it should receive Release Bundles. To learn how to establish a circle of trust, please refer to Establishing the Circle of Trust in the JFrog Access User Guide.
All repositories in an Artifactory Edge are read-only. The artifactory-edge-uploads repository is the only repository to which your Release Bundles are deployed.
From version 6.12, an Artifactory Edge node can be configured to pull artifacts using a Smart Remote Repository. Artifacts can be pulled from other Artifactory instances (ones with Enterprise+ or Edge licenses, just like any remote repository).
When pulling data from a smart remote repository, the Edge node will first attempt to pull the data from cache. If it does not exist, it will continue to try and fetch it from the remote repository on the target instance.
Support for remote repositories (that are not Smart Remote) is not available. For example, creating a remote repository pointing to Docker hub is not supported.
Pull replication is not supported on Edge nodes.
Setting a GPG Key
To enable a secure distribution flow, an Edge node must be able to validate the contents of any Release Bundles that it receives. This is done by providing the Edge node with the GPG signing key of any Distribution service that will be uploading Release Bundles as a one-time action before any Distribution flows are invoked.
Updating GPG Keys
Note that if you change the GPG signing keys on any Distribution service that is uploading Release Bundles to an Edge node, the Edge node must be updated with the new public key.
To upload the GPG key of a Distribution service to an Edge node, use the Set Signing Keys for Distribution REST API endpoint.
As part of the distribution flow, Artifactory needs to interact with JFrog Distribution which relies on HTTP/1.1 protocol functionalities, such as chunked transfer encoding. To support these functionalities, you need to add the following settings to your NGINX configuration.