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Nebula Internals Today Brian Arkills firstname.lastname@example.org Problems Today • Problems reported daily with vbAdm. Errors often are cryptic. Repros involve long sequences of actions. • Last stable version of vbAdm? No one knows! • A fix to a vbAdm problem breaks something else. • Long lead time to adjust all code to respond to environment changes or to create new reports • Sporadic strange errors passed to users by loginnt. These are directly linked to limitations in the Access technology behind the Nebula DB. A Vision For 2006 • Separation of core code into a clear framework – Framework provides basis for architectural assumptions and core functionality • Consistent functionality across any application that makes use of it • A framework for easily adding additional functionality outside of the GUI interface. • Takeaways: – This should result in much quicker response to changes and requests – Greater stability will result as a fix won’t cause unforeseen (broken) behavior elsewhere I’m Not Dead Yet! • vbAdm dies. New application with both GUI and web interface are provided with cleaner design and organization – Same underlying functionality is retained – Exceptions are passed to the user, so debugging is simplified – We lose the nest of ugly code we inherited that’s very difficult to debug How’d We Get Here? • Grew out of Windows for Workgroups and NT 3.5 domains • Microsoft Access database format was cutting edge • Inability/reluctance to use Active Directory to store user info from other services • Pasted Calendaring service onto existing Windows + Unix services • Low engineer count (had to fit this in somewhere ) • Lack of structured approach to coding vbAdm At A Glance Behind vbAdm are almost all the core pieces of the Nebula infrastructure. They include: – UW Staff Directory – Active Directory – Nebula DB which most notably manages: • Loginnt and application packages • Web reports – Oracle Calendar – “Ref” which manages: • Nebula-unified Unix password file for file servers • Nebula home directories • Pine configuration files • Account/Group creation in Active Directory – Shiva for on-demand port scans – LPN for printer queues Delving Into vbAdm Where We Want To Go Tomorrow • Veteran’s Day, 2005: Have working demo of re- architected Nebula core • Thanksgiving, 2005: Begin review within Nebula Engineering on design and implementation details • Christmas, 2005: Migrate Nebula DB to SQL Server 2005 and Active Directory • Martin Luther King Day, 2005: Release replacement for vbAdm • Groundhog’s Day 2006: Throw release party Nebula Internals Tomorrow <Whiteboard> Takeaways • The Nebula infrastructure is complex • vbAdm bridges that complexity, but it’s not optimal • Nebula Engineering knows vbAdm isn’t optimal • Nebula Engineering is working on a BIG fix • Be patient.
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