Why do it manually when a script never has a hangover?

Written by Rajat Bhargava on April 9, 2013

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Repeatability has been on my mind lately. We’re to the point where we’re supporting a large enough variety of system types that doing a build takes time. It also introduces risk because everything must be done in the correct sequence and rigorously checked, 

Since the new installer has just now been completed, I’ve been doing this manually. I create the agent, copy the binaries, bundle, attach the install script, and so on. Not only does each step take time, but each step is also vulnerable to me screwing something up. So I spend extra time on the QA portion, confirming that everything did indeed work.

Now, of course, the solution to this is to have automated testing and, even more important, an automated way of generating the installers. Some would argue that I should have had these in place before I started the development of the installers. While I am a Test-Driven Development fanatic, it doesn’t lend itself well to this particular task. There are no good unit test strategies for creating RPM and Debian scripts. So the next few days are going to be devoted to exactly that, distracting me a bit from the fun stuff I had planned for multi-factor authentication.

This relates a lot to what we’re trying to do at JumpCloud® as a whole. Setting up a new server should be a repeatable process. Manually going in and doing the entire configuration, especially around access control, is prone to error. And mistakes in this area lead to security vulnerabilities not just for the new machine but perhaps for your entire system.

Companies have tackled this in various ways lately with recipes (Chef or Puppet) that can initialize and set up the system appropriately. While these are very valuable tools, you have to have people that know how to create and run the scripts. And that diverts expertise from your core problems (creating product) to something that other people are already concentrating on (maintaining infrastructure). In addition, the scripts themselves need to be QA’d!

Flip The Script On Manual User Management

We want to make it dead simple to handle all of your centralized user management and access control in a repeatable and unified way, letting you get back to the fun stuff. If you would like to learn more about JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® platform, drop us a note. Also, feel free to try the SaaS-based directory service yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

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