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Programmatic maintenance of SystemAlias.xml

Today in managing Alteryx server, we manually configure new connections using the front end.  However, this has some potential drawbacks as it makes it hard to easily track change history, or make bulk updates to multiple strings, and it also leaves room for user error on configuration.

 

In this case I'm pretty specifically looking to modify aliases on the server itself.  I'm not particularly concerned with distribution to a wider audience, and the usernames/passwords associated in this case should not be available for use locally by users.  As a part of this, I am trying to identify a method to reduce or eliminate the need for anyone (including the data connection manager) to need to know the password for the specified accounts.  As some of these accounts may be used by multiple systems, it would be significantly simpler to integrate this maintenance into existing automated processes, rather than have a manual step to update the Alteryx connection values on the Gallery.

 

This is specifically a challenge today with regards to specific usernames or passwords which need to be stored.  Alteryx saves these values using machine-level encryption, but that is difficult to generate automatically.  Having a supported method that would easily allow creation of this file with password-level information would greatly improve maintenance of the Alteryx Server, particularly from an IT automation perspective.

2 Comments
SeanAdams
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Hey @Claje - out of interest what is the capability that you're looking to manage with updates to systemAlias.xml?

(agree whole-heartedly that manually updating an XML file is the wrong answer).

 

Are you looking to improve the experience in maintaining data connections for various database connections?

 

Perhaps an example would make this more concrete?

Claje
14 - Magnetar

Specifically in this case, let's say we use an enterprise credential vault. In theory there is no reason for any individual in the company to know the password for a service account. However, to my knowledge there's no way to update (or create) an alias that involves a password without manually entering it via the gui, which inherently exposes the password. If there was a way to call a process to encrypt a password on the machine, the whole thing could be automated to completely eliminate the human risk factor.

 

Hopefully that helps explain it.