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Sustainable NREN Software Development: Lessons Learned

Since late 2013, CANARIE has been developing tools and processes to spur the adoption of eduroam and federated identity services. One key component of this effort is the IdP-Installer tool, created by CANARIE in collaboration with SWAMID, federation operators like inCommon and regional area network area operators across North America. The goal of the IdP-Installer tool is to provide a simple approach to the technical integration required to participate in federated identity and access management services. It automates the installation of software components and configuration for a given federation’s reference installation. Regardless of experience level, users of the tool benefit from being able to quickly establish a high quality ‘reference’ installation of the required software assets. While working to simplify participation in federated identity and access management services, two things were clear: • Many if not all NRENs and federation operators share a similar problem of adoption and consistency of use. • Software users (federation participants/NREN members) regardless of their size, desire high levels of functionality and configurability, along with simplicity, deploying the software at their site. The design of the IdP-Installer takes these points to heart and is purposely built to be multi-federation, facilitating ease of configurability that did not exist before. This presentation shares lessons learned and challenges overcome (and still to come) by this project. Topics covered include: • Principles that the project strives for and how they are applied, challenged, and adapted; • Approaches to collaborating across distances, time zones, and tools; • Automation techniques (Continuous Integration, containerization) ; and • Challenges and recommendations that other initiatives and projects may find beneficial to adopt.

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