Deploying from AWS Marketplace

Applies to Collaborator 13.4, last modified on January 15, 2021

Collaborator is available on the AWS Marketplace, which allows you to quickly deploy Collaborator server in the AWS cloud. This guide explains how you can launch a Collaborator instance from the AWS Marketplace.

Prerequisites

Before deploying Collaborator on AWS, you must have the following:

1. Set up a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

A VPC is an isolated network within an Amazon region where you can deploy EC2 instances and host other resources. You have complete control over the VPC configuration, including the IP range, subnets, routing tables, network gateways, and security.

All new AWS accounts include a default VPC in each AWS region. The default VPC comes with a public subnet, meaning that EC2 instances from that subnet will have direct Internet access. VPCs can also have private subnets where instances can connect only to the Internet via NAT and cannot be accessed directly from outside the VPC.

If you don’t have a VPC in your preferred AWS region, or if you need a specific VPC configuration, you can create your own VPC and configure it as required. To learn how to create VPCs, see Creating a VPC and Scenarios and Examples in the AWS documentation.

2. Launch Collaborator from AWS marketplace

  1. Open the AWS Marketplace page for Collaborator:

    https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/TODO

  2. Click Continue to Subscribe.

    Continue to subscribe
  3. Read the End User License Agreement. Back in AWS, click Accept Terms to continue. Wait a minute or so for the “pending” status to clear.

    Accept terms
  4. Click Continue to Configuration.

    Continue to Configuration
  5. On the Configure this software page, select the AWS Region where you want to launch Collaborator, and click Continue to Launch.

    Selecting AWS region for Collaborator
  6. On the next page, select the following:

    • Choose Action -- Launch from Website (default).

      Launch from Website
    • EC2 Instance Type -- We recommend t2.medium.

      EC2 Instance Type

      You can also use a similar instance type that meets the minimum system requirements:

      • Memory: 4 GB or more
      • CPU: 2 virtual cores
      • Storage: EBS only

      To learn more about instance types and their pricing, see AWS Instance Types and Amazon EC2 Pricing.

    • VPC Settings and Subnet Settings -- Select the VPC and subnet where you want to launch the instance.

      VPC and subnet settings
    • Security Group Settings -- If you have an existing security group with inbound rules for ports 22 (SSH), 80 (HTTP), and 443 (HTTPS), select that group. Otherwise, click Create New Based on Seller Settings to create a new group with these rules.

      Security group with inbound rules for Collaborator
    • Key Pair Settings -- Select a key pair for SSH connections to the instance. If you don't have a key pair, there is an option to create one.

      SSH key pair
  7. Click Launch to launch the instance.

  8. Click the EC2 Console link to see your newly launched Collaborator instance in the AWS Console.

  9. Give your instance a name to make it easier to identify it later. To add a name, click the pencil icon in the Name column.

    Specifying a name for the EC2 instance
  10. Finally, note down the public IP address of the instance:

3. Initialize database

Start a web browser and navigate to the http://IP_address:8080/ui to access the Collaborator Web Client. (Here the IP_address is the public IP of the Amazon EC2 instance).

The rest of the configuration and administration process is done using the Web Client.

When opening the Web Client for the first time, the database initialization screen is displayed.

Database Initialization Screen

Click Get Started to continue.

4. Perform first-run initialization

Log into Web User Interface using the built-in administrator account: admin and admin as password.

Afterwards, you should specify your own password for the built-in administrator account in the Users category of Collaborator settings.
Login screen

Once you have logged in as the admin, you will be redirected to the First-Run Initialization page. This page is displayed only once after the installation and asks you to provide necessary information to set up the Collaborator server.

In the Product Initialization section you will need to choose which product you would like to use: Collaborator Community, Collaborator Team or Collaborator Enterprise.

Product Initialization screen

All products have the same goal, to make your peer review process easier and more effective, but provide different sets of features. Collaborator Community is intended for small developer groups, Collaborator Team is for medium groups and Collaborator Enterprise is for large enterprise level companies. To view all differences between Collaborator editions, please read this page.

5. Configure basic system settings

After the first-run initialization, you are redirected to the Home page. This will be the starting page for administrating and working with Collaborator. Later on, after logging in you will start your work with Collaborator from the Home page.

This page looks much the same as your average Collaborator user’s home page. For the administrators the page additionally displays the Admin section on the top toolbar and the System link in page footer.

Collaborator Web Client Home Page

Click the image to enlarge it.

As the Collaborator administrator, you would like to familiarize yourself with the administration settings, so click the Admin section in header menu.

The Site-Wide Administration Settings section is where you can configure the settings of your Collaborator server.

Site-Wide Administration Settings

Click the image to enlarge it.

The administration settings are grouped into a number of categories: General, Users, Groups and so on. You can read the detailed description of each setting in the Collaborator Settings section.

When configuring a Collaborator server for the first time, pay your attention to the following settings from the System category:

  • External URL – Enter the public IP of the Amazon EC2 instance.
  • Display > Global "Create User" – When you are starting out, and you do not want to manually create usernames for all users, mark this field as "Show" so the users can create their own username and password. Mark it as "Hide" if you want to control the creation of users and usernames.
  • Access Restrictions – Control who has access to reviews, reports, subscriptions, and systems information.
  • Review Process – Control what users can or cannot do during the review process.

Besides, most likely you would need to configure the following categories, as well:

  • Email - Configure SMTP server settings and email notifications.
  • Remote System Integrations – Setup integrations with remote repository systems like GitHub, GitLab or Bitbucket, or with issue-trackers like JIRA.

6. Activate your license

If you have an external Internet connection, Collaborator will attempt to contact our licensing server so that we can automatically set you up with a 30-day trial license. Your licensing status is displayed in the bottom-left side of home page footer.

Licensing status description

If you do not have an external connection, or if a firewall prevents access to our licensing server, you need to obtain a license code manually.

To request a license, please fill out this form:

https://smartbear.com/product/collaborator/license-request/

To enter a permanent license code, or a trial license code that you obtained manually:

  1. Click Licensing category of the Admin section.

    This will open a page that gives you information regarding the licensing, such as when the license expires, when the support and upgrades expire, how many seats you have and so forth.

  2. Find the Node ID field in the Current License pane. The Node ID is an 8-character value that is unique to every installation. Node ID is tied to every license code we generate.

    Current License pane
  3. Copy an 8-character value of Node ID and send it to your Account Manager to activate your license. If you do not know who your Account Manager is, just send the Node ID to sales@smartbear.com.

  4. After you send us the Node ID, you will receive an email with a company key and license code. The company key is "trial" for temporary licenses and a word or phrase for permanent licenses. The license code will be a 32-character code. Enter the company key and the license code in their respective fields, and click Save.

    Configuration pane

That is all. Collaborator server is configured and ready for operation.

7. Monitor instance health

AWS provides status checks to monitor the operational status of EC2 instances. You can configure status check alarms to get notified when an issue is detected.

  1. In the EC2 Console, go to Instances.

  2. Select your Collaborator instance and switch to the Status Checks tab at the bottom.

  3. Click Create Status Check Alarm.

  4. Specify the following options:

    • Send a notification to -- the user to send a notification to

    • Whenever -- Status Check Failed (Any)

    • Name of alarm -- enter a unique name for this alarm

    Leave the default values for the other options.

  5. Click Create Alarm.

In addition to status checks, you can configure CloudWatch alarms to monitor the CPU usage and other metrics and get alerted when these metrics reach critical levels. To learn more about using CloudWatch, refer to the CloudWatch documentation.

Where to go next

To get detailed information about the server, its configuration and maintenance, read Collaborator Server section.

To learn about using Collaborator in a daily work, see Getting Started For Users and Working With Collaborator sections.

See Also

Installation

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