TechSmith Relay: Server 5.1.2 Maintenance Release - Server Admin Guidelines

Server Administrators should carefully review the follow steps as the upgrade to a post 5.1.2 server has important implications for Mac recordings and recorders.

Unlike any previous releases of the TechSmith Relay server software, TechSmith Relay Server version 5.1.2 will require updates of the Mac recording clients in order to continue to work.  (Please note: this only affects the Mac recorders.)

What is in this update?

This update is necessary to remove the requirement of QuickTime on the TechSmith Relay Server.  The QuickTime software is no longer supported on these machines and because of security vulnerabilities, should be removed ASAP.  The Relay software previously depended upon these components in order to process recordings made on TechSmith Relay Mac-based recording clients.

A complete list of changes found in this update can be found here.

How is this update different from other updates?

Unlike other rollouts of the TechSmith Relay server software, more planning, preparation, and forethought must be done prior to the installation of version 5.1.2.  (Or subsequent releases if running 5.1.1 or earlier.)

In previous server updates, updates to the client software was not required in order for users to continue using Relay.  This is not true for 5.1.2.

  1. In order to continue using the software, users using the Mac recording clients must upgrade their recording clients in order to continue using TechSmith Relay.  Mac recorders 5.1.1 and earlier will not be able to communicate with a Relay 5.1.2 or later server. This is because the Mac recording client had to remove this dependency on the QuickTime components.  As a result, all Mac recording clients must be upgraded in order to communicate with the 5.1.2 or later server.
  2. Presentations from Mac recorders that are in the process of being uploaded, transcoded, or captioned must be processed prior to upgrading the server.  If these presentations are not pushed through the system prior to the update, they will not be able to process due to the QuickTime components no longer being present on the server.

What does this mean for Relay Administrators?

Supplied below are some tools in order to help you through this upgrade.  It is important to note all of the following...

  1. If you don't have any Mac users in your deployment, this upgrade will be like any other; This only affects users using Relay's Mac recording client.
  2. If your server has presentations in the "Uploading", "Held for Captioning", or "Transcoding" states, it will be important to make sure that any presentations submitted by a Mac recorder are fully published prior to beginning this upgrade.

Notifying Mac Users

To get a list of Mac users to notify regarding this update, the following SQL statement can be run against your Relay SQL database in order to return a list of Mac users, their latest presentation date, and the total number of Mac presentations in a given timeframe.

Click here to download the Notify Mac Users SQL Statement

Mac Presentations Yet to Process

To get a list of Mac presentations that have yet to process on your Relay server, the following SQL statement can be run against your Relay SQL database.

Click here to download the Mac Presentions Yet to Process SQL Statement

FAQ

  1. It looks like this update has a big impact on our Mac users by discontinuing ALL previous recorders. In the past, all old recorders would still work with the new encoder and an upgrade message appeared.

    Yes, 5.1.2 is fundamentally different than all other upgrades due to the removal of the QuickTime components. We’ve tried to do what we can to make it as straight-forward as possible, but yeah, having to upgrade all the clients and having to push all the Mac jobs through the server prior to update can be a much bigger task than what was required with a previous server upgrade.
  2. Does the new Mac recorder work on Sierra?

    Yes, in fact, Sierra is now preferred as it uses modern APIs and the Mac Recorder was completely updated to take advantage of the most recent and up-to-date Mac coding language and APIs. You don’t have to use Sierra with it, but it should be more performant if you do.

    In addition, support for Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks has been removed in this release.

    Related Additional Resources
    TechSmith Relay Self-Hosted - System Requirements
    TechSmith Relay Self-Hosted - Version History
  3. Does the new 5.1.2 recorder work on the old server so we can pre-distribute the 5.1.2 recorder to our Mac users?

    While we can totally understand why you would want to do this, unfortunately no, this will not work. Removing the dependency on QuickTime means the new source file formats are different and therefore a new client with an older server will not work. Yes, we realize that this means a far more abrupt and less transitional upgrade (like we’ve had in the past) but this what is necessary to remove this former/antiquated and yet key component of the Mac-to-Server rendering process.
  4. Is any way to revoke old Mac recorders (changing ssl keys, recorder IDs, etc) so they cannot be used at all?

    By default, old Mac recorders will not work with the new server. They will fail to connect. Unfortunately, there is no in-product/in-recorder messaging component to explain to the user about why it fails to connect, but old recorders will not connect to the new server. As a result of this, you will not need to revoke anything.
  5. Are exploits of the QuickTime compoent in TechSmith Relay theoretical or demonstrable?

    Exploits to the QuickTime components are demonstrable, and since it is no longer being maintained there has been a need to remove these components from the server. To date, to our knowledge, there has been no demonstrable examples of exploits against the Relay server, but a skilled/motivated person could likely engineer a presentation that could take advantage of this exploit thus the need to remove it from the server. We leave it to you based on this information to decide the immediacy of this security update.
Was this article helpful?
2 out of 2 found this helpful