Sun-Netscape alliance focuses on user management

The Sun-Netscape Alliance has presented an integrated bundle of applications that could make it easier for companies to set up directory-based systems for managing end users across internal networks and extranets.

The alliance demonstrated its Unified User Management Suite, a collection of existing products, including the iPlanet Directory Server, Certificate Management System, Meta-Directory and Delegated Administrator. The alliance is bundling in a third-party product, Netegrity's SiteMinder, for policy management, authentication and authorisation services.

"They've taken the crucial parts of user management -- the directory, public-key infrastructure, authentication and access control -- and put them together . . . in an effort to ensure they work together," says Jamie Lewis, president of The Burton Group.

The directory creates a central repository of information that can be used to add and delete users or to approve user access to Web-based applications. The Meta-Directory allows Directory Server to collect and share data stored in disparate directories, such as those in enterprise resource planning or e-mail applications.

The certificate system supports a PKI, while SiteMinder provides single sign-on, centralised access control and policy management capabilities.

The Delegated Administrator allows for end user self-service, which means end users can add, delete and update information without the need for a directory administrator. Companies such as Oblix are also building directory-enabled user management applications similar to the Delegated Administrator.

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