Well, we just finished the security module of the workshop, and I have to say, sans the network issues, I am really impressed. Mat Lowry, a Pentaho engineer who focuses on security during his day job, put together the content for the module today. Mat took a pretty complex set of topics (LDAP, Acegi, CAS and J2EE Container Security) and delivered just enough content to understand easily what Pentaho Security is made up of, and what Pentaho adds to the standard technologies available to you in a J2EE environment.
It seems we have done a very nice job of separating the wrangling of authentication and authorization from the functionality of the BI platform. I plan to follow up this workshop with a deeper dive into Acegi, as Mat has gotten me really excited about what it and the Spring framework can do. I'm taking away the relief that Acegi can handle a good 80% to 90% of my web resource security problems, without me having to write more code. I like it, I like it.
My thoughts on the hands on lab is it really made me think and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I understood the concepts Mat covered, and could apply them in the 60 minute lab exercise that was given to us. This was not your typical training class exercise that with loads of screenshots and step-by-step instructions, you could achieve one simple implementation of security. This was more like "A train leaves Tampa at 400 miles an hour at the same time a train leaves Daytona at 200 miles an hour, when will they meet" type of exercise. Now, I think I've mentioned before that I'm a very bright, but pretty simple person, and frankly this type of exercise reminds me how little focus I have. Once we stopped chatting, and I could read the lab carefully, I had no trouble implementing my own switch over from memory based security to LDAP based security within the Pentaho platform.
I have to admit, I feel a tad bit smarter than I used to :)