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I am trying to create a DSC configuration for a developer workstation and facing difficulties.

A developer machine has a well defined owner - the developer who is going to get it. Some configurations tightly coupled to the owner account:

  1. It should be added to the Sql Server as a login account in sysadmin role.
  2. Visual Studio extensions that I want every developer to have must be installed from a session started by the owner account (not the SYSTEM account used to apply the DSC configurations)
  3. The TFS workspaces must be associated with the owner account.

It is unclear to me how Azure Automation DSC can allow for such coupling. Sometimes just the account name is needed (to configure Sql Server), but sometimes the resource must be run as the owner, i.e. the owner credentials are needed. Unless there is a way for a DSC resource to run as the workstation owner without knowing owner's credentials.

In short, it seems to me that Azure Automation DSC cannot be used to configure developer machines. And I am not even talking about shortage of out of the box and tested DSC resources like:

  • Installing Visual Studio
  • Installing Visual Studio Extensions
  • Configuring Visual Studio Source Control to use TFS
  • Configuring TFS workspaces
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So first things, this has nothing to do with Azure Automation DSC, this is just the platform for running a DSC pull server. Your question is really about DSC in general (which can run on prem or in Azure, it's agnostic).

DSC is intended to configure a machine, not a user. As you noticed it by default will run as the local system account, so it can do things like installing applications for all users, setting Local Machine registry keys, configuring files etc. You can have DSC run as a specific user, but you have to provide it the credentials for this, generally, you would do this when you need to have admin rights to do something, rather than as a way of setting up per user settings.

If you need to configure per user settings then DSC is going to be less helpful. You can still use it to set the same setting for all users, but if you need to tailor things to all users then you are going to need to look at other things like group policy, logon scripts etc.

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