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Deploy BigBlueButton on your Elastic Metal server

Reviewed on 08 March 2022Published on 10 June 2020
  • compute
  • BigBlueButton
  • videocalls
  • videoconference
  • bbb
  • Elastic-Metal-Server

BigBlueButton - Overview

BigBlueButton is a powerful web conferencing system, allowing you to communicate with remote team members over fully encrypted connections using TLS/SSL. The application was developed for academic use and supports a large number of concurrent users in each conference room.

The application can be deployed on Scaleway Elastic Metal servers and allows you to have access to features such as:

  • Screen sharing, presentations & external videos
  • Collaborative whiteboards
  • Conference invitations via a simple custom URL
  • Built-in chat during videoconferencing
  • Integrated surveys
  • Conference recording

BigBlueButton is open-source software and can be used on Elastic Metal servers without any additional license cost.

This tutorial shows you how to deploy BigBlueButton on a Scaleway Elastic Metal server.

Requirements:

Deploying BigBlueButton on a Scaleway Elastic Metal server

  1. Create an Elastic Metal server, ensuring you select the Big Blue Button 2.4 image at step 2 of the creation wizard.

    The creation and installation of the server launches. This takes up to one hour. Once it finishes, you can see the URL to connect to your BigBlueButton interface in the description of the machine:

  2. Point your web browser to the URL shown in your Scaleway console. The BigBlueButton Greenlight frontend displays:

Creating a user account

By default, anyone can create a user account on the BigBlueButton server. However, it is possible to restrict the creation of user accounts from the admin panel.

  1. Click Sign up to create a new user, from the BigBlueButton Greenlight frontend.

  2. Fill in the required parameters for the new user:

    • Full name: The users full name

    • Email: The users email address

    • Password: A secret password for the user

    • Password Confirmation: Confirmation of the users password

      Once all values are set, click Sign up to create the new user account.

    The user’s home page displays:

A Home Room is created by default for the new user. You can share the public link of this room for others to join it. Once you are ready, start the conference by clicking on Start. You will join the conference room with moderator privileges.

If required you can create additional rooms by clicking Create a Room. Each of the rooms may have its own configuration and a unique URL to share.

Using the virtual conference room

Once connected to the conference, you are asked if you want to enable your computer microphone to be able to speak or to listen to the conference only. This choice is not definitive and can be changed at anytime during the conference.

Note:

Upon the first connection you may be asked to allow access to your camera and microphone for the service. This is required to be able to communicate using BigBlueButton. Scaleway does not store your video or audio information, this is shared only within your conference room.

The BigBlueButton main communication screen displays:

The main options are:

  • Mute: Mute or unmute the microphone of your device
  • Leave Audio: Leave the audio stream of the conference while remaining connected to the conference room. You can follow the presentation or interact with other users in the chat. To join the audio stream again click the icon.
  • Camera: Disable or enable sharing of the webcam of your local device. The camera is disabled by default. Click the icon to enable it.
  • Presenter tools: If you are a moderator or have been granted presenter privileges during a conference, you can use this button to launch polls, upload presentations, or share external videos in the conference.

If the video or audio quality is not optimal or the application uses too many resources (CPU/RAM) on your local machine, you can disable webcam sharing:

  1. Click the Options button in the right corner of the screen, then on Settings in the menu.

  2. Disable webcams in the Data Savings tab. Optionally desktop sharing can be disabled too for further bandwidth savings.

  3. Click OK to validate:

Accessing moderator privileges

If you have joined a conference as a moderator, you have advanced privileges. Moderators can perform the following actions on guests:

Note:

As a moderator, your name icon is squared. On the contrary, if you are a guest, your name icon is circled.

  • Mute user: Moderators can mute guests to restrict them from speaking during the conference. The user can unmute himself if a global mute has been removed from the conference
  • Make presenter: Give permission to a guest to be the presenter. Presenters can launch polls, upload presentations, or share external videos in the conference.
  • Promote to moderator: Promote a guest to a moderator. The user will have the same privileges as the initial moderator.
  • Remove user: Remove guests from the conference.

The moderator options are available by clicking on a regular user from the users list:

In addition, you have several other privileges available for the entire conference room. Click the star wheel next to Users to display the options available to the moderator.

  • Clear all status icon
  • Mute all users
  • Mute all users except the presenter
  • Save user names
  • Lock viewers
  • Create breakout rooms
  • Write closed captions

Accessing presenter tools

A presenter can be any user in the conference, limited to only one presenter at a time in each conference room. Any moderator can make any user a presenter, including themselves.

A presenter has access to the following features:

  • Upload presentation slides
  • Use the whiteboard draw sketches
  • Enable/disable the multi-user whiteboard
  • Start a poll
  • Share a video
  • Share their screen

The presenter features are available by clicking on the Presenter Tools button:

Optional: creating an Administrator account

This is an advanced step for those wanting to go further with their Big Blue Button configuration.

To manage advanced settings on your BigBlueButton server, you need to create an Administrator account for Greenlight. The administrator account allows you to manage users, customize the Greenlight interface and to enable or disable features such as the recording of conferences.

  1. Connect to your Elastic Metal server using SSH:

    ssh root@<your-server-ip>
  2. Run the following command from the command line to create a default admin user:

    docker exec greenlight-v2 bundle exec rake admin:create

    The following output displays once the account has been created:

    Account succesfully created.
    Email: admin@example.com
    Password: administrator
    Role: admin
    PLEASE CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY
    Important:

    Change the password of the admin@example.com user immediately from the Greenlight frontend for security reasons.

    The admin user has advanced configuration options for the available Greenlight frontend, such as user and room management, registration settings, and much more.

  3. Click *Administrator -> Organization in the top right corner of the Greenlight frontend to access the admin interface.

For further information regarding BigBlueButton, refer to the official documentation for BigBlueButton and Greenlight.