Alan Baugher

Quickly Identify Incorrect Configurations For ANY Solution

Discussion created by Alan Baugher Employee on May 15, 2017
Latest reply on May 15, 2017 by Chris_Hackett

Hello Team,

 

One area I am asked for assistance is, how to quickly identify incorrect configurations for ANY solution on MS-Win/UNIX/Linux OS.   

 

Incorrect configurations may occur due to:

 

1- "Many cooks in the kitchen" effect.

     One consultant/client resource may install a solution differently on Server A versus Server B.

     Even if instructions were provided with detail steps.

 

2 - Too many options provided in a Wizard Interface

     Wizard GUI interfaces are typically designed to assist with a rapid installation for common configurations.

      However, if the configurations are not clearly understood, a selection early in the process may lead a resource to deploying a solution not to optimum design.

 

3 - DevOps processes not leveraging "unattended/silent install" features

    As DevOps (shorthand for development + operations processes) methodologies are used at client sites, there is typically a learning curve for any project team with a solution, to use all features of a devops process.

   Typically, may see direct updates to a solution's configuration files, but a miss to supporting configuration files.   Where a requested feature, e.g. FIPS-140, requires updates in more than one configuration file.

 

 

To manage configuration challenges, where configurations may exist with files or registry entries, files/folder match tools are used instead of eyeball 1.0.

 

The service tools we have found valuable to identify incorrect configurations or to assist with devops, are:

 

 

A.  Beyond Compare - A commercial paid tool  (  Scooter Software: Home of Beyond Compare   )

   - Includes a 30 day trial.

  -  Includes advance features such as 3 way compare & more options.

  - Recommended for clients for long-term use.

 

 

B.  WinMerge - Open Source tool ( http://winmerge.org/  )

  -  Use for service projects and/or health-checks

 

 

 

Either tool can be configured to search the entire folder/sub-folder structure; and high-light the deltas

 

 

Pre-Work:

 

Step 1:   Zip/Tar up the installation folder from the root of the solution for a working solution or initial install of the solution via a GUI Wizard installer.

    -  /opt/CA/Solution

    -  D:\Program Files\CA\Solution

 

Step 2:  Zip/Tar up the installation folder from the root of the solution for the non-working solution or 2nd install of a solution via a GUI Wizard installer or unattended install.

    -  /opt/CA/Solution

    -  D:\Program Files\CA\Solution

 

Step 3:  Copy these files to your desktop/workstation, where the file/folder compare tool resides.

 

Step 4:  Extract these zip/tar files (7zip or OS unzip) with their complete folder structure, in a temporary folder.

Example:

 

 

 

Ready for the File/Folder compare tools:

 

Step 5:   Open the tool you wish, and ensure BOTH folders are mapped to compare

 

Example with BC:

 

 

Example with WinMerge:

 

 

Step 6:  Set the VIEW of each tool, to ONLY display DELTA.   Ignore ANY Files or Folders that have EXACT MATCHES.

We are ONLY concern with DELTAS.

 

Example with BC:

 

 

 

 

Example with WinMerge:

 

 

 

Step 7:   Now we ONLY see DELTAS (context are different or orphans files exist)

 

Step 8:  Drill down / double-click into each DELTA.

Best Practice Rules:  

  a.  Skip / Ignore Log Folders/Files;  Ignore Temp Folders/Files

  b.  For Peer Servers - Only Accept deltas for hostnames, IP addresses, URL & Password Hashes

  c.  For Dev to QA to Prod Servers -  Only Accept deltas for hostnames, IP addresses, Ports, URL, Service IDs, & Password Hashes

 

Example to view deltas for one configuration file with BC:

 - Variables, Path, IP, hostnames, carriage returns deltas

 

Example to view the same deltas for one configuration file with WinMerge:

 - Variables, Path, IP, hostnames, carriage returns deltas

 

 

 

 

Now we can see the value of using a Folder/File compare tool to quickly identify configuration issues that are stored in files. 

 

Recommendations:   

 

Use this process as part of your troubleshooting toolkit to quickly identify any configurations challenges without relying on eyeball 1.0.    This process will rapidly allow a resource to quickly identity the root issue, without total reliance on a solutions' logs or "behavior" of a use-case.

 

If using this process with CA Services; upload the tar/zip files to a CA Support ticket, to share the 1GB or larger files; to be reviewed offline.   

 

 

Advance Notes:  

- Some solution's configurations may NOT be installed in the "installation" folder, but in other areas, e.g. /var   /etc  under Linux/UNIX OS and/or as hidden files.    Zip/tar those folders before any installation, for dev-ops processes, and use a BEFORE:AFTER compare with this process to identify the new files/folders created upon install.

- Use Microsoft Sysinternal Tools, "Process Monitor", to identify any hidden MS Windows Folders/files during installation.

- Use this process to identify new database schema deltas between OLDER and NEWER solution versions.

- This Folder/File match process can be used for the MS Windows Registry as well. 

     Export HKLM/Software/SolutionName  (64 bit software) or HKLM/Software/WOW6432Node/SolutionName  (32 bit software)

.

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

Alan

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