Getting Started with Otter 3.0

In this short tutorial, you’ll get started with Otter 3.0’s core features to help manage and automate your infrastructure.

This initial tutorial should take less than 30 minutes to complete, and it will let you practice all the new functionality in Otter 3.0.

Otter 3.0 saw some major changes to Otter’s UI and some of the terminology used in the application. As such, this guide does not apply to any previous versions. A tutorial for previous versions can be accessed here.

See how quick and easy it is to install Otter in this 6-minute video:

Whether this is your first-time using Otter or you’re upgrading from a previous version, this guide will help you (re)learn how to:

Initial Set-up

After downloading and installing Otter, you’ll start on the Otter home screen and will be presented with the initial setup tutorial.

Create and Run Your First Script and Job in Otter

A job in Otter simply means running a script at a scheduled time.

Once you’re logged into Otter, click on “Scripts” at the top of the page. On the next page, start by clicking on the “Create Scripts” button, followed by “Create Demo PowerShell Script” button. This will create a demo PowerShell Script for you to run.

Note that you can run any PowerShell or Bash script using Otter.

To run the demo script, click the green ‘play’ button and select “Run as Ad-hoc Job.”  A new pop-up will appear, giving you options like ‘setting a start time for running the script.’ However, for this tutorial, leave all the values on default and click “Create Job.”

Otter will output the results of running the script on screen and then bring you to the “Job History” page. Here you can see a list of all completed jobs and view details about each by clicking on their timestamp.

To continue with this tutorial, click on “Scripts” in Otter again.

Create a Job Template

A job template is a customizable blueprint for a job you want to run more than once. You’ll also be able to select which servers you want to target.

Click on the green play button again, this time selecting “Create a Job Template.” Again, don’t change any settings, and click “Create Job Template.”

The template is now saved in Otter and can be re-used and modified as needed. To find the template again later, just click on Jobs, followed by templates.

Create a Job from a Template

To use your brand-new template for the first time, make sure that you’re on the “Template” tab of the “Job” page.

Start by clicking on “Run PowerShellDemo.ps1.” The template you created contains a few variables you can change, marked by “$.”  Enter your name into the $YourName field and click the box next to “$EnableCuteMode.”

In the output, you’ll see the name you entered mentioned in the text, as well as a little surprise (which will last just a short time).

Create an OtterScript Orchestration

Using OtterScript, it’s possible to easily create orchestration plans for your servers and infrastructure.

Running OtterScript is as easy, if not easier than running a PowerShell/ Bash script, as it is designed to be accessible to people with no coding background (learn more about how OtterScript works).

Start by going to the “Scripts” page and clicking “Create Script.” 

Continue by clicking on “Create Demo OtterScript Orchestration.” You will now see a new script below the PowerShell Demo we created earlier. Click the play button next to the new script, followed by “Run as Ad-hoc Job.”

In the pop-up, change Server targeting from “Specific servers by name” to “Custom server targeting,” and click “Create Job.”

Custom server targeting will target the servers specified in the OtterScript itself.

The output will give you a few more details about what OtterScript is. If it disappears too quickly, you can find it again on the Job History page, same as above.

Adding Servers to Otter

Normally, you need to have servers connected to Otter for orchestration. But for this tutorial, Otter will create some fake demo servers for you.

Go to “Servers” at the top of the page and click “Create Demo Infrastructure.” You’ll now have six fake servers in your Otter.

Note that “Servers” in Otter refers to the connection to a physical server.

Creating Server Roles

Otter allows you to define custom roles for your servers, allowing a clear overview of which server does what.

Start by clicking on “Roles.” Normally you would use “Create Server Role” to define roles, but for this tutorial, simply click “Create Demo Role.”

Manually Fix a Server Configuration/Manual Drift Remediation

You’ll notice that the server with the “demo-secure-ports” role currently displays its status as “? Unknown.” This means that Otter does not know if server’s configuration matches the desired state configuration (DSC) set by the role.

Click on “demo-secure-ports,” and you’ll see that one server has drifted, meaning that its configuration doesn’t match the DSC.

In a real environment, you’d have to log into the server itself to check its configuration to see where the drift occurred. For this demo, simply click the “Remote Log-in” button to open a mock terminal window.

Follow the instructions onscreen to fix the drifted server. Once done, simply close the mock terminal window and press the “Check Configuration” button. This shows the steps you’d have to take to manually check for and remediate drift on your own servers. After a few seconds, the server status will change from “drifted” to “current.”

Automatically Fix Server Configurations/Auto Drift Remediation

Start once again by clicking “Roles” and creating a demo role.

Now, click on “Servers,” followed by any one of the servers listed as “Drifted” and “verify/report only.”

Find and click the “change” button next to “Configuration Drift: Verify/report only.” By default, Otter is configured to just let users know if their servers drifted. However, it can also fix issues, either scheduled/on-demand or immediately upon detecting drift.

For now, choose “On-demand or scheduled remediation” from the drop-down menu followed by “Save.”

This step would usually need to be repeated for each server, but for this demo, you can simply click “Change All Demo Servers to Remediate On-Demand.”

Now that we’ve set up on-demand remediation, click on Roles,” then the “demo-profitcalc-app” role that shows as “drifted.” Click “Remediate Drift” to have Otter match server configuration to the DSC.

In the pop-up, you can specify exactly which servers to remediate but for this demo, simply click the “Remediate Drift” button.

Finishing Up

Congratulations, you have now learned how to use all of Otter’s main features! Just click on the Otter logo on the top left of the page to return to the home screen.

Your next steps should be to familiarize yourself with how to add new scripts, either using PowerShell/ Bash or by utilizing out drag-and-drop OtterScript builder.