3 First Things First

Before you can start working with assets, you have to lay the groundwork. This does not refer to the installation and set up of Application Configuration Console and related software, which, as stated in Chapter 1, must already be in place.

Rather, laying the groundwork means you have to shape assets in terms of the resources they represent. Specifically, you have to map the following aspects of the external resource to Application Configuration Console concepts:

External Resource Application Configuration Console Concept
Where are they? Host/endpoint
Who can access them? Authentication pack
What do they consist of? Resource specification

Hosts, authentication packs, and resource specifications work together to let the Application Configuration Console Server read and write configuration data to and from managed servers and devices. Each managed server or device is represented as an asset in Application Configuration Console, and you must have a host, an authentication pack, and a resource specification to create an asset.


The tasks in this chapter assume that you are already logged in to the Application Configuration Console Client.

3.1 Create a Host and Endpoint

The first thing to do is to add a host and endpoint, that is, the machine on which the external resource resides, and the connection protocol to use to access it.

  1. In the Navigator view, expand System > Connectors.

  2. Right-click Hosts and select Add Host from the popup menu.

  3. In the Add Host dialog, enter the machine addressable host name or IP address.

  4. Click Add to define an endpoint for the host, as follows:

    1. Define the type by selecting SSH from the drop-down menu.

    2. This populates the name and port fields with the default values SSH and 22. Keep these values unless you have some reason to change them.

    3. Click OK to complete the endpoint definition.

    You return to the Add Host dialog, where the endpoint now appears in the list.

  5. Enter a description of the host, if you like, then click OK to complete host creation.

3.1.1 Other Things to Know About Hosts/Endpoints

Note the following additional points about hosts and endpoints:

  • A host only gets added once. All users can see it, and connect to it with the right credentials. Only the owner can modify the properties.

  • A host can have multiple endpoints.

  • Endpoints have advanced settings related to things such as connection timeouts and autodetection settings.

3.2 Create an Authentication Pack

Next, you will need an authentication pack containing the credentials necessary to connect to the host you just added.

  1. In the Navigator view, expand System > Connectors.

  2. Right-click Authentication Packs and select Add Authentication Pack from the popup menu.

  3. In the Add Authentication Pack dialog, enter a descriptive name for the auth pack.

  4. Make sure that the type selected is Username Password.

  5. Enter your username and password in the text boxes provided.

  6. In the Validation portion, click the check box and select the host/endpoint that you previously created, from the drop-down list. This is not required, but it does present an opportunity to ensure that you can connect to the host with the credentials you provide. In any case, if the validation test fails, you can still create the auth pack now, and set up the credentials on the host later.

  7. Click OK to complete auth pack creation.

3.2.1 Other Things to Know About Authentication Packs

Note the following additional points about authentication packs:

  • Auth packs can be shared with other users (passwords are always hidden).

  • Auth packs are not restricted to username/password combinations. They can also be specified as an SSH certificate and passphrase or other similar credentials.

  • There is a secure provision variety of auth pack for use with access control systems such as sudo, su, and pbrun.

  • Users need special permissions on an auth pack to interact with external resources (to provision, update, synchronize, and so forth).

3.3 Create a Resource Specification

Now create a resource specification to shape the contents of assets to be loaded into Application Configuration Console. The assumption at this point is that you have identified an external resource, an application server for example, that you want to load as an asset into Application Configuration Console. A set of configuration files exist on the targeted host that constitute the asset.

  1. In the Navigator view, expand System.

  2. Right-click Resource Specifications and select Add File Resource Specification from the popup menu.

  3. In the Add File Resource Specification dialog, enter a descriptive name for the resource spec.

  4. Select the Host/Endpoint you created from the drop-down list.

  5. Select the Authentication Pack you created from the drop-down list.

  6. Browse to the Base Directory, which is the starting point on the host machine where the asset configurations reside. When you click the Browse button, a dialog opens, exposing the file system on the host machine to which you have access, based on the credentials in the auth pack.

  7. Complete the file resource definition portion of the resource spec by including the configuration files that constitute the asset. To do this, click the Add File button to open a dialog and select the files in the base directory.

    Notice the preselected check box Automatically assign mappings. This indicates a willingness to acknowledge that the software is smart enough to know how to store and display the files in Application Configuration Console, based on file type. This will often be the case.

  8. Click OK to complete resource specification creation.

3.3.1 Other Things to Know About Resource Specifications

Note the following additional points about resource specifications:

  • Resource specs can be shared with other users.

  • When you use the resource spec to load an asset, you can change the resource locator information (host, auth pack, base directory).

  • You can use wildcards and regular expressions as an alternative to manually selecting which files to include.

  • You can customize the file mappings to any of an extensive list of parsers supported by Application Configuration Console.

  • You can include a directory as part of the resource spec to monitor changes in the file list within the directory.

  • You can define metadata to be part of each asset loaded with the resource spec.

  • You can change a resource spec and reapply it to assets you have already loaded, optionally overwriting any existing metadata.

  • The example used here covers a file resource specification. There is also a command resource specification that creates an asset from the output of a command execution.