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Cloud Cost Guide Part 6: Step 5 - Installing the FreeIPA Central Authentication Identity Manager

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Managing Identity with Reliable Systems

Welcome back to our blog series on reducing cloud costs through a DevOps-Enabled, Automated IT Infrastructure. So far, we've covered steps from choosing a Dedicated Managed Server provider to installing a Virtualization Hypervisor, setting up a cluster of Hypervisors, and installing the OPNsense Firewall. Today, we're moving onto the fifth step – installing the FreeIPA Central Authentication Identity Manager.

In the realm of IT, user management is a critical aspect that involves controlling user access to different resources within your organization. This includes managing user identities, access control, and authentication for your infrastructure services in a secure, centralized manner. An effective user management system is key to ensuring that only authorized users have access to your data and applications.

FreeIPA, an open-source identity manager, is a tool that could arguably be termed the most critical in the entire data center. Its user management capabilities are based on LDAP and it supports single sign-on authentication, allowing users to gain access to multiple systems and applications after just one login without re-entering their credentials.

One of the main advantages of FreeIPA is the ability to define specific access policies for User Groups. This is achieved through Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC), allowing for each User to be assigned a distinct role. There is also the option of Host-Based Access Controls (HBAC) that allocate access to specific instances or groups of instances (Host Groups) to Users as well as Groups of Users. Moreover, Users can store their SSH Keys inside of FreeIPA, enabling seamless login to each server or instance without the need for constant password entry which creates an environment conducive to automated workflows.

Setting up two instances of FreeIPA in 'replication mode' provides another layer of reliability, ensuring that Users will still have access to your system even if one FreeIPA instance experiences downtime, whether scheduled or unscheduled.

By installing FreeIPA, you'll be creating a secure, efficient, and streamlined ‘user management’ system for your IT infrastructure. This step is vital to maintaining control over user access and ensuring the security and efficiency of your operations.

In our next blog post, we'll discuss Step 6 – the installation of the Katello systems management platform. This platform aids System Administrators in managing all their servers and instances from a unified console.

Stay tuned as we continue our step-by-step journey towards efficient cloud cost management. Remember, each step you take brings you closer to a more streamlined, cost-effective, and efficient IT infrastructure. Let's keep moving forward!

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