AnswerX’s rich feature set, APIs, and DEVOPS capabilities are best understood by experience. Akamai encourages anyone interested in AnswerX to download and for a “drive test” AnswerX. AnswerX can be loaded on a standard UNIX server, a VM, or even on a MAC (in a VM). AnswerX Lab & Evaluation testing provides Operators with the ability to explore the rich policy language, setup different types of situations that might be encountered by an rDNS deployment (attacks, abuse, fraud, etc.), and mock up potential rDNS based services.
Requesting an AnswerX Lab Trial
The Operator or the Akamai Account Team would send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get an account and license. The AnswerX Support Team will provide the details.
Downloading AnswerX Software
Use the credentials (E-mail email@example.com to get credentials):
Username: (provided by Akamai)
Password: (provided by Akamai)
Software Downloads for FreeBSD 9 amd64, RedHat 6 - Linux 64-bit (kernel 2.6 or later), RedHat 7 - Linux 64-bit (kernel 2.6 or later), Solaris 10 Sparc 64, and Solaris 10 x86_64 are available.
The AnswerX Team will provide the software license. Once you get the software license, it would be copied to the AnswerX / directory.
The AnswerX Documentation is always included inside the software package:
atl-mp4b2:Downloads mdeen$ tar -tf akamai-answerx-recursive-main-18640994.Linux26rh7-x86_64.tar | grep doc
Additional Knowledge Bulletings and guides are included on the Akamai Community Space for AnswerX.
Lab Server Specifications
Yes, AnswerX can be set up on most any Unix lab server, it would be best to use a common off the shelf UNIX server that matched Akamai’s recommendations. We recommend RH6 or RH7, or the CentOS equivalent.
HW Dimensioning Guidelines
Akamai guidance for virtual or physical hardware dimensioning is ~20,000 transactions per second per CPU Core with a standard policy that includes subscriber mapping. RAM requirements are relatively modest but depend on the number of subscriber IDs and the volume of domain categorization data. 1 GB of RAM per core should be sufficient (typically that would be 16G or 32G of RAM). More RAM will allow for larger policies.
The Network interface (1G or 10G) will depend on the machine selected. A high TPS machine will cater for greater than 1Gbps throughput. A similar set of machines can be used for Akamai Reputation Knowledge Server.
On scaling, Akamai AnswerX rDNS can scale by adding more server hardware in the cluster. This gives the flexibility of no forklift upgrades necessary. Akamai recommends anycasting for redundancy and load balancing across servers. This also gets rid of a single point of failure in the load balancer.
A good design assumption is 20k tps per core with a standard policy that includes subscriber mapping. As mentioned, RAM requirements are relatively low except for very large subscriber populations or need to utilize a complete blacklist. For example, the typical blacklist feed categorization data feed has extra options and features that could take on more RAM (e.g. newspaper websites). Akamai recommends 16G or 32G of RAM. These assumptions will be further validated during the deployment planning phase.
AnswerX supports many OS platforms including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD.
Setting up AnswerX in VM
Many Operators would want to use AnswerX in a VM. The Operators would set up the Vmware hypervisor, creates the VM container and installed the relevant Operating System. The AnswerX Team recommends RH6 or RH7.
To get the best appreciation of AnswerX, three VMs are recommended. One will be for AnswerX (the core policy based rDNS engine), one for Reputation Knowledge System (RKS - the subscriber details, blacklist, and integration to Radius, DHCP, and other tools), and a web server for redirection/remediation management.
The Operator will download AnswerX & RKS, install, and configure on the container VMs. The base configuration will guide you through the basic configuration like IP address to configure. AnswerX and RKS can be locally routed or switch. The Web Redirection Portal server can be on another VM.