Scott Burlington

Internet Artisan

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Centralized Authentication - building a Jasig CAS server


Helping Rid the Web of Passwords

It’s getting close to that time of year when we take time to go home and visit family and loved ones at the end of another year.
And, when you’re a “computer expert” like me, that means one thing:

Trying to sort out the disaster your family has made of their passwords and web-accounts this year.

Simply ask any baby-boomer what the worst part of the internet is? Answer: “too many passwords”

And they’re absolutely right. It’s not just a baby-boomer problem –
it’s a problem for all the users that we work so hard to build online services for.

 The Authentication Problem

Passwords are painful for users and a common failure point for websites, but they are required.

The web is a public place and like any public place, it will be graffitied.
In order to protect our users’ content we need to authenticate them, traditionally with passwords.

The trouble...

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Server Provisioning CentOS with Ansible


Robots Building Robots


In my last article, Webmin Configuration on CentOS, I discussed the steps setup a new server complete with Webmin and Percona.
One glance at the article will make it obvious that there are quite a few steps.
Like any good programmer, I am very lazy, so there must be a better way to perform this automatically.

“Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, and hubris.”

– Larry Wall

Of course, there is, using a process known as server provisioning.
There are many different approaches that can be employed for doing this.
We have found Ansible to be one of the simplest and therefore, most appealing for our purposes.

 What’s the Point?

Before I go and get us too mired in the technical details of automated server provisioning, why are we talking about this?

  1. Previously I discussed the...

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Webmin Configuration on CentOS

provision-webmin-centos.jpg> High Performance Server Configuration in the Age-of-the-Cloud


Building web servers for hosting reliable and performant web sites is a black art. I’d like to discuss how we setup our CentOS servers and manage them conveniently using Webmin. We have learned a few things over time and thought it would be valuable to share the knowledge.

Many of our clients come to us with the intention for us to create a new website with them. However, once a new site is built – it still has to live somewhere. One of the services that we provide for our clients is helping them make the right choices when it comes to internet hosting.

Hosting is a big business and there are a huge multitude of choices available for these services. Some of the considerations that need to be answered are:

Registrar – where can I register my domain?
DNS settings – how can I manage my Domain Name Services?

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