‘Just-in-time’ Provisioning Resolves Fragmented Databases with SSO
“You’re never going to reach the speed of light, because that’s the theoretical physical limit that reality imposes on you, but getting as close as possible to that, how close can you get?”
—Heron Ordoñez Guillén, Tech Lead for the developer websites for NVIDIA
Thanks to a company culture that values trying to move “at the speed of light,” NVIDIA’s done amazing things like fueling the growth of PC gaming with the invention of the GPU as well as influencing the brain’s of computers, robots, and self-driving cars through the use of AI.
For the developers who rely on NVIDIA to help them create bleeding edge products, NVIDIA’s DevTalk and DevForum are necessary resources. For NVIDIA, keeping developers happy and productive is critical to their bottom line. “Getting those developers up to speed with the right practices and the best knowledge available and best tools available — it’s extremely important for the company to grow. It’s critical that developers are enabled and happy and productive when interacting with the NVIDIA platform and stack. So these two sites are critical for growing that and making that possible,” says Heron Ordoñez Guillén, Tech Lead for the developer websites for NVIDIA.
But, as Ordoñez points out, moving at the speed of light can have downsides. When it came to DevTalk and DevForum, he says, “We had a lot of ideas, and we moved fast with them. That resulted in a fragmented user base.”
They had one user database for one system and another for other systems, and shared databases, all of which created a bad experience for NVIDIA’s users who had to remember multiple credentials for everything they wanted to do. “It’s not a very good image that we present ourselves in such a fragmented way to our developers. It feels like we don’t have a grip on what services we’re offering,” says Ordoñez.
The easiest answer would be single sign-on authentication (SSO), but a workable solution wasn’t readily available. “We are constantly working to improve the experience of our GPU developers. With Auth0, we got rich UI and integration. Implementation was smooth with the help of timely support, rich documentation, and management tools – glad we made the choice to go with Auth0,” says Manish Harsh, NVIDIA’s Developer Relations-Global Telecoms, AI and Deep Learning.
Ordoñez and Harsh reviewed the “crowded” social login services space, ultimately choosing Auth0. “The focus of Auth0 on just the authentication problem made it much easier for us to scope out the project and the capabilities and the integration of it,” says Ordoñez.
Merging the DevTalk and DevForum databases was managed using lazy migration with “just-in-time” provisioning, meaning that NVIDIA did not migrate accounts that were inactive. Rather than attempt to match passwords, they checked the user’s password against multiple databases. If it passed all the checks, it was stored in the new location and the entire profile was migrated. “That worked beautifully. It was transparent for users, it was easy for us, and we started offering single sign-on immediately after enabling it without any impact on users,” says Ordoñez.
Originally, Ordoñez expected to authenticate only two apps with Auth0, but since things worked so well, they’re expecting to add an additional four or five. “The integration was really fast and really easy, and we have been able to have custom business logic enabled that we can do per application or across the user database.” This enabled many use cases as well as visibility and consistent use information. “[With Auth0] we got more applications than we were expecting, and we are simplifying the experience for developers.”
When asked to describe the return on investment with Auth0, Ordoñez talked about the impact of what NVIDIA no longer has to do. “Before the integration we were doing security ourselves and handling all the data processing. Now we rely on Auth0 and I got 100% of my focus back into building value services for our developers. This makes Auth0 worth everything we’ve invested in it,” Ordoñez says.
Ultimately, Auth0’s been good for NVIDIA as well as for Ordoñez. He plans to continue expanding his use of Auth0 as well as taking advantage of the variety of authentication mechanisms it offers. “As an engineer, as a tech lead, I saw technology that I wanted to use and I saw a very, very good use case to accelerate my development and to be more productive,” he says.