Lucy Carrasco wrote:

I started recently as an assistant webmaster at UVM Extension and Marcus mentioned to me that you helped him with setup of the Across the Fence WordPress site.  I have a few questions regarding the database setup (the db/user/password combinations being used that I’m seeing in the config files) and was wondering if you may be able (have the time!) to shed some light on a few things for me?

UVM Extension has 8 databases, four accounts, and 4 passwords. She was confused, this prompted a history lesson

mySQL account administration has gone through 3 or 4 phases since the product was first introduced at UVM.

The first phase was the casual and early adopter era.  I manually created accounts for those that needed them. Naming conventions and passwords didn’t always follow and convention. Passwords were attempts at cute mnemonics. It was a simpler more laid back time.

Eventually, I built a self-service on-line utility to create accounts. Convention was to use requestor’s netid (small caps) as a mySQL username and same NETID in LARGE CAPS as a database name. Additional requests got same account-name/password, and database NETID_1, NETID_2, etc. New passwords were generated automatically and randomly.

This era was also marked by a separate secret script used internally by one ETS staffer to create special accounts for use with a licensed survey building product called Perseus. These accounts again used netid as account name and NETID_PERSEUS as database name. This of course introduced confusion when a particular netid was passed through both scripts.

We are now in a new era, where an authenticated netid is granted 3 accounts: netid_admin, netid_reader, and netid_writer. Databases are named NETID_WHATEVER. Passwords are assigned randomly but can be changed by the requestor.

It is important to note that all this fancy accounting using NetIDs is by convention only. mySQL accounting and administration is separate from NetID account management used for zoo,, webmail, blackboard, peoplesoft, myuvm, etc. And even , which is actually some pretty clever coding on the part of Scott Dellinger  of ETS to match up ‘real’ netids with 13 years of willy-nilly mySQL accounting. Scott is now the defacto DB admin, I remain involved in a variety of poorly defined support and admin roles, and I provide historical context and institutional memory.

It is also interesting to note that UVM Extension was an early adopter, getting their first uvmext/UVMEXT account/DATABASE Nov 19, 2001. This is why there are so many passwords, accounts, and databases involved.

About Wesley Wright

Born on a mountain top near New York City, Craziest state in the land of the pretty. Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree, Killed him a bear when he was only three.
This entry was posted in Wes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.