Akamai Luna Control Center is the entry point for all Akamai provided tools that allow you to manage and control the Akamai services that you are entitled to use. With Luna Control Center, we are committed to providing an industry-leading, world-class experience that combines the power and scalability of Akamai’s cloud services with capabilities that expose the entirety of Akamai’s configurability, data and analytics to our customers. Our goal is 100% self-serviceability through Luna Control Center — allowing you to harness and customize the true power of the Akamai platform to meet your business and technology needs while minimizing your technical investment.

Akamai knows that a majority of customers and partners are looking for maximum control over the configuration of the services they purchase. Customers want to become more independent and self-sufficient when it comes to configuration changes — from the time they first purchase a service to the ongoing management of those services. Partners want to provide value-add consulting and build managed services businesses of their own, by managing Akamai services and configuration on behalf of their customers. They are keen to integrate their products with Akamai’s, and make the end-to-end configuration process seamless, consistent and efficient, so that customers have the best possible experience. Thus, control in these contexts (generally) means the following:

  • Independence: Being able to make end-to-end configuration changes themselves, without having to involve a third party
  • Simplicity: Being able to make a change easily — i.e., access to advanced functionality but without having to counter the underlying complexity
  • Speed: Being able to make the change and activate it on the Akamai network as fast as possible

Luna Property Manager — Akamai’s new generation configuration application — has been built to deliver precisely this level and type of control to customers and partners. This has been possible because one of the key considerations in the design of the new application was feedback from users — customers, partners and Akamai’s own Professional Services teams. The remainder of this article provides a brief overview of the features of the application, which is already available for use with several Akamai products.

Nomenclature overview

Property Manager introduces a few configuration constructs that are briefly described here:

  • Behaviors: These are the actions that a user can configure as instructions for Akamai’s edge servers to apply at the time of managing the end user’s request.
  • Match Conditions: These are criteria that a user can configure to define when a behavior should be applied.
  • Rules: A rule is a combination of any number of match conditions and behaviors.
  • Rule Templates: A rule template is a predefined rule for a specific piece of functionality that users can insert into a configuration as-is or with minimal modification.

Functional improvements

Access to advanced features

Property Manager provides self-serviceable, easier and safer access to several advanced capabilities of the Akamai platform that were unavailable directly to customers and partners previously. (It required them to contact Akamai Professional Services to configure it for them due to the expertise involved.) These are popular and/or powerful logic capabilities that users want to apply to their web content. Here are just a few examples of things users can now configure themselves:

  • Control user access to content based on geographic locations or IP address
  • Configure a certain behavior to be applied during a certain time interval
  • Modify incoming or outgoing HTTP request or response headers at the Akamai edge server level

There are several other use-cases across content cacheability, cookie management, HTTP header management, access control, content security, etc. that customers and partners can now manage themselves. Property Manager today provides users with access to 20+ match conditions, 70+ behaviors, and 18 rule templates, to enable this level of deep, fine-grained control over content.

Ability to define business rules

Not every behavior should be applied to all requests or under all conditions. Part of deep, granular control of web content delivery is the ability to define a configuration using rules based on a business strategy. Property Manager allows that control through a comprehensive Rule Engine. Users can define many rules using multiple match conditions and behaviors. They can control the order in which they are applied, the conditions under which the behavior(s) should or should not be applied, and they can create parent-child relationships between rules.

Rule templates

Rule templates group together commonly used functionality, or simplify complex functionality to make it easier for the Property Manager user to configure these behaviors. For example, when configuring failover options for a website, there are several options which include:

  • failing over to an alternate origin server
  • serving a static web page from an alternate location
  • or redirecting the end-user to a different website.

Instead of configuring this behavior from primitives, a rule template that encapsulates the required primitives into a single unit could be used. In other words, it delivers years of Akamai Professional Services experience in a packaged form.

Real-time validation

As business and technical requirements evolve, configuration becomes more complex. Dealing with the intricacies of a complex configuration composed of several rules, conditions, and behaviors can be time consuming and difficult. Property Manager simpilfies the task via an underlying real-time validation engine that is designed to catch errors on-the-fly as users edit a property. The engine detects syntax errors like mandatory settings that haven’t been configured or formatting mistakes in the input. It is also designed to catch logical errors such as rule conflicts and the use of certain behaviors in inappropriate scenarios. When detected, this information is displayed as either warnings or errors depending upon the nature of the issue. Warnings can be ignored by users while errors have to be fixed in order for a user to be able to activate the change, thereby ensuring that users create optimal and error-free configurations on their own.

Usability Improvements

Brand-new user interface (UI) and easier navigation

Property Manager introduces a brand-new, modern UI that enables easier navigation between editing, reviewing and activating a property. All of the options are presented on a single page with multiple tabs for users to easily work through without having to click back and forth through multiple distinct web pages. The UI is further enhanced by drag-and-drop functionality that allows easy ordering of rules and behaviors.

The Property Manager Assistant is a virtual tool that walks a user step by step through the process of creating a new property. The tool can be invoked by choice and can be exited at any point during the process. This is an easy way for new users or those looking for a refresher to become familiar with the process of using Property Manager to create a new property.

The UI is further enhanced through useful tool-tips that provide a brief description of the field being edited.

The property home page also contains quick links for users to navigate easily to other commonly used applications within Luna Control Center such as the Event Center, Resolve, or Support pages.

Better version control

Users can often edit a configuration multiple times before getting to the point where they are ready to activate their changes. Property Manager — in an improvement over the legacy application Configuration Manager — allows users to do that without having to create redundant interim versions. So, the same version can be edited as many times as required, with edits being saved or discarded as chosen by the user, before that version is activated on Akamai’s Staging and Production networks.

Integrated workflows

Setting up a configuration can often involve multiple steps along the way that may require a user to interact with different applications on Luna Control Center. With Property Manager, we want to integrate as many of these steps as possible into an integrated workflow so that setting up a configuration seems like taking a series of steps within a single application/interface (even though they touch multiple backend systems at Akamai’s end). For example, most Akamai services require the customer to change their DNS record so that it CNAMEs to an Akamai edge hostname. This edge hostname is created by users using a standalone application in Luna Control Center. With Property Manager, users can jump to creating a new edge hostname, if required, from within the Property Manager application.

Contextual online help

With access to so much functionality, it is important to have help available at hand. Property Manager introduces a comprehensive online help system that’s easily accessible from the user interface. Users can learn more about a given piece of functionality by clicking on the “?” icon alongside that feature. They will be taken directly to indexed information on that topic in the online help system.