A leading provider of high-assurance identity management programs and services. SureID solutions create safer and more secure environments for military, government, nonprofit, and commercial organizations.

Industry:  IT, Software, Technology

Location:  Hillsboro, OR

SureID remediates server drift with the push of a button

SureID is a top-to-bottom “Windows shop;” the majority of SureID’s infrastructure is hosted on Windows servers. They are also a user of our popular Universal Package Management tool, ProGet.

The Challenge:

All IT organizations must cope with the undesired reality of server configuration drift. A simple change to a server, even by accident, can alter its settings and lead to equally undesired consequences in functionality.

SureID’s engineering team was previously tasked with manually remediating drift across a large number of TeamCity build agent servers whenever drift occurred. Not only was the task of manually reconfiguring multiple servers incredibly cumbersome, but detecting drift in the first place was equally challenging. The build engineer felt burnt out doing all of these tasks on his own, however hiring another build engineer to split the workload didn’t seem like the best investment either. There had to be a better way. The solution to tackling the manual workload was not to add resources, but rather to eliminate the manual workload altogether through automation.

To start the automation process, SureID’s team looked into a leading infrastructure-as-code product, but found there were too many impediments to use. While this product “does” have Windows support, the reality is that it was an afterthought, implemented well into the product’s development cycle. This infrastructure-as-code product would not be the solution to their challenge.

The Solution:

When SureID heard that Otter was specifically designed for for Windows, starting an evaluation was an easy decision.

Not only did SureID find Otter much easier to install than competing products, they found working with Otter’s UI and configuration plans to be very intuitive. They were able to quickly set up a few key configuration plans: checking for, and automatically receiving, notifications for any changes to global Nuget configuration files; and custom-built PowerShell modules deployed as Chocolatey packages, meaning they could check for drift on these based on version number.

Now, with just the click of a button that says, Remediate with Job, they are able to remediate all cases of drift across the entire organization’s TeamCity build infrastructure within seconds.

Overall Results:

Otter has functionality well beyond SureID’s current use of it, including server orchestration, orchestration jobs, and even more automated drift remediation facilities. They look forward to expanding their use of Otter now that they’ve put out the fire which originally lead them to it.

Managing IT infrastructure is a daily labor of love, so teams need a tool that is easy to work with and allows them to grow. SureID sees the benefits of using Otter for long-term consistency and uniformity within their IT infrastructure. We also look forward to growing with them, as well.

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