Building Block Spinner (BETA 1)

The Building Block Spinner was written to solve a particular issue in a global PowerFuse 2008 deployment. In this example there are 4 PowerFuse databases, 2 in Test (Dev and UAT) and 2 in Live (Pilot and Prod). The Active Directory NetBIOS domain names are different in each environment and to add insult to injury, changes can originate in both Test and Live (global file authorisations etc).

In this example we can’t simply export Building Blocks (BBs) from Test and import them in to Live. Every time a new release is created, we need to perform the following actions:

  1. Export the required BBs from Test DEV database.
  2. Rewrite the domain names in all the BB files with the Live domain name.
  3. Import the BBs in to the UAT database into Test and ultimately the 2 Live databases.
  4. Export the relevant BBs from the PILOT database and/or the PROD databases in Live.
  5. Rewrite the domain names in all the BB files with the Test domain name.
  6. Import the BBs in to the databases in Live and the 2 Test databases.

As you can probably guess this process is error prone (and so is the change control process but that’s probably another blog post!). What the Building Block Spinner (BBS) allows us to do is drag and drop all the Building Blocks for an individual “release” into the program window, click a button and spit out two sets of Building Blocks, one for Test and one for Live. These Building Blocks can then be imported into the relevant environment. It doesn’t do anything particularly clever as it’s performing a simple find and replace function and spitting out two differently named sets of files.

There are plans to expand this to be able to rewrite particular tags, i.e. XenApp servers/groups for each environment and merge the resulting BBs in to a single file for each environment (hence the “Merge Files” option that is greyed out!). If you have any feedback or recommendations, then please let me know.

The Building Block Spinner can be downloaded from here.

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