Sun, Netegrity beef up identity offerings

Sun Microsystems Inc. next month will revamp its identity management software by consolidating its lineup of eight products into three offerings while integrating technology from its recent acquisition of provisioning vendor Waveset.

The company made the announcement Tuesday, the same day identity and access management vendor Netegrity Inc. introduced IdentityMinder eProvision 4.0, which features new workflow and administrative features aimed at regulatory compliance. Netegrity, which acquired the technology when it bought vendor Business Layers around the same time Sun acquired Waveset, plans to ship the software by the end of this month.

The news comes on the heels of last week's identity management roadmap from Microsoft, which includes federated identity and enhanced provisioning services that will ship next year. IBM Corp. and Novell Inc. announced integration of their respective identity management products last year.

The vendors are all participating in a trend to build suites of identity management products for corporate networks.

Research firm Gartner Inc. says that by next year, the complexity of integrating the components of identity and access management products will cause 60 percent of enterprises to choose product suites that are owned or licensed by, and supported through, one vendor.

Sun is re-branding and consolidating its products under the Sun Java System name. On Tuesday it introduced Identity Manager, Access Manager, and Directory Server Enterprise Edition.

"Two or three years ago we had to educate users about identity; today everyone is aware of identity and we educate users on what components are needed, so that's why we are doing this consolidation," says Kevin Cunningham, director of identity marketing for Sun. "Security, quality of service and productivity concerns are overshadowing ROI now."

Sun Java System Identity Manager provides provisioning and meta-directory services in a single product. The software is a combination of Waveset Lighthouse, which Sun acquired last November, Sun Meta-Directory and Sun Identity Synchronization for Windows. Identity Manager is designed to manage permissions and profiles and synchronize identities across a company.

Access Manager is focused on Web single sign-on, Web access control and federation services. It is a re-branding of a product Sun formerly called Identity Server. It is designed to compete with products from vendors such as Netegrity and Oblix. Access Manager supports the Liberty Alliance Phase 2 and Security Assertion Markup Language 1.1 specifications for federated identity management.

While Sun is supporting those specifications, Microsoft and IBM are working on their own set of specifications, including WS-Federation, WS-Trust, WS-Policy, WS-Secure Conversation, WS-Authorization and WS-Privacy.

A Sun spokeswoman says the company hopes the three vendors with eventually work in concert.

The third piece of Sun's identity lineup is Directory Server, a combination of Sun's Directory, Proxy Server and Password Synchronization for Windows. It features a Web-based management console based on the former Waveset Directory Master product. Directory Server includes fail-over, load balancing, security and integration with Microsoft Active Directory, a result of Sun's recent partnership with Microsoft.

Even though Sun is aggressively consolidating and simplifying its product portfolio, it has formed a partnership with Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers to support the design, customization and deployment of identity management within corporations.

While Sun rushes to define its product portfolio, competitor Netegrity on Tuesday unveiled version 4.0 of IdentityMinder eProvision.

Netegrity has enhanced its workflow capabilities with a drag-and-drop interface for creating workflow processes, a new policy builder for creating and configuring workflow policies that can be self-generated based on established business rules, and new task generation and scheduling features that introduce serialized workflow. Netegrity also added a centralized console to manage and configure IdentityMinder eProvision, and the software runs on both Sun Solaris and Windows.

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