Intro to Subversion Access Control 4.1

Big plans are brewing at WANdisco for 2012, and one project that has just been completed, is Subversion Access Control 4.1.

Access Control 4.1 includes a revamped user interface. The new look makes it easier for users to navigate through the security features offered by Access Control and setup new rules and permissions for Subversion repositories and paths.

The ‘Group’ concept has been replaced with “Teams’ and a new feature has been added to allow the designation of “Team Leader” who is then granted some administrator privileges. Specifically, the Team Leader is able to setup user access rules to a pre-defined repository path (or paths).

We are calling this new feature Delegated Admin since it allows granting of some administrator privileges to users. The context of how this feature could be used might be best described in terms of business units for an enterprise corporation. Consider the following scenario.

A company has 100 Apache Subversion users split into 10 teams, each associated with a separate BU, each team has its own Subversion repository. In the past, Access Control admin can go in and setup repository security rules that applies to all 100 users and repositories. With delegated admin the Access Control administration can create 10 new Teams and assign a Team Leader to each one, specifying the Repository that team should have access to. From there, the Team Leader can log into the system, add/remove the users for the team, and setup multiple rules needed to properly manage those Subversion assets.

Effectively what delegated admin does is allow Team Leaders, people in charge of their respective Business Units, to define and configure their own team rules. Access Control supports the concept of nested-teams which is called Sub-Teams (see screenshot) and this would even allow you to further organize teams from larger sections into multiple sub-sections (eg: West Coast Branch –> Plugins Team; West Coast Branch –> Application Team) and designate a team leader at each level to manage users and rules.

The role of the Access Control administrator now is to simply define Team Leaders and the resources which they can direct access over. Once defined the Team Leader can only create rules that affect their resources meaning the West Coast Branch won’t be able to setup access rules for the East Coast Branch’s repositories and vice-versa.

The ability to delegate some administrator functionality to Team Leaders, and in the context of specific Subversion paths and repositories, is a powerful new feature that will empower enterprise organizations and save time and money. Team Leaders are able to set access restrictions based on the need and requirements of their given team or business unit and no longer have to rely on a single administrator to do that for them.

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