The First Fully Hosted Conjur Demo
March 27, 2015 | DevOps | Dan Warner
Legendary User Experience Designer Jared Spool once said “If you are not talking to your users two or three times a week, you are not doing User Experience Design.” These words have shaped the core of my approach for the last five years. So, three months ago, when I was brand-spanking new at Conjur, the first order of business was to elbow my way into every sales call, support call, and design partner engagement that I could. That’s part of what’s great about working at Conjur. They let you do stuff like that. In fact, they encourage it.
At one point I was sitting in on a call between the Conjur Sales Team and a smart, highly technical DevOps leader at a large travel site.
He was looking to use our system to improve the way his team was sharing secrets data. This guy really ‘got it’ and realized the value Conjur would bring to his continuous delivery pipeline. Before he was ready to set up a POC in his own environment, however, he had one simple request…
This was a problem.
Conjur is part of a pipeline. It’s easy for us to spin up a Conjur virtual appliance but in order to really ‘see it go’ you need to have some kind of operations environment, sample code, the command-line tools, and a scenario to run through.
Here was an opportunity for User Experience Design to help solve a fundamental problem and support a key business goal. This had nothing to do with js animation, shiny ui controls, or any of the other visual design activities that are often mistaken for User Experience Design. This was about reducing time to value for new users in order to drive adoption.
Ideally, someone who is new to Conjur would be able to see the system ‘do something’ valuable from their own terminal window without having to set-up, download, or install anything. At the time, there was no way to do this easily or on-demand.
Now there is.
Welcome to Conjur Demos!
Basically, you submit this form to get a fully provisioned cloud machine running the Conjur server, Conjur client, Docker, and Git. It comes pre-installed with sample code, and there is a detailed walk-through of a secrets management workflow.
The example workflow Secrets Management (Done Right) outlines a pretty typical DevOps scenario.
You have an application that requires access to a database server in order to run. Consequently, the application needs a database password to get the proper access. The instructions show how to store that secret securely, supply it temporarily to the application at run time, and audit the activity in detail.
We will be publishing more demo scenarios in the next few weeks including SSH Management Basics, Managing Access with Layers, and calling out to a demo appliance using stripped-down hardware and the REST API. At the moment there are no limits on how you use the demo environment, so if you have an idea for using Conjur to try your own innovative access management solution, fire up a demo and watch it go.
Of course, if you have anything to say about how the demo experience did or didn’t work for you, I would love to talk to you about it.