Sun streamlines identity management offerings

Sun Microsystems on Tuesday will announce a consolidated line of identity management products that combines its own technologies with those obtained from its acquisition of Waveset Technologies.

The company will also announce new partnerships with Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers to help deploy the products at customer locations.

Sun's identity management line, which consisted of eight products after the Waveset purchase in December, has been consolidated to three: an identity manager, an access manager and Directory Server Enterprise Edition.

The consolidated product line marks the "culmination of the Waveset acquisition" and is designed to reduce complexity and costs, said Kevin Cunningham, director of identity management products at Sun.

Sun's Identity Manager technology, for instance, combines Waveset's Lighthouse user provisioning technology with Sun's metadirectory capabilities. The integration will make it easier for companies to use identity information to provision access to multiple enterprise applications, Cunningham said.

The new products also provide broader support for standards, Cunningham said. Sun's Access Manager, for instance, supports both Liberty Phase 2 and SAML 1.1 federation standards, he said.

"We feel like they have got a pretty solid strategy in that it uses open standards and uses federated (identity management) concepts," said David Endicott, vice president of technology at Sabre Airline Solutions in Houston.

Sabre is using Sun's identity management technology to authenticate users from 54 airlines and provide personalized access to over 20 different applications via its eMergo application service provider portal.

"A lot of the things we do from an application perspective use Java. So using (Sun's) ID server as part of our ASP offering was a natural choice for us," Endicott said. Sabre will investigate how it can take advantage of the new provisioning capabilities being offered by Sun with its Identity Manager offering, he added.

Sun's integration of Waveset technology and its success in retaining most of Waveset's employees bode well for the company's ambitions in the identity management market, said Earl Perkins, an analyst at Meta Group.

Sun to Expand Data Center Services

Sun on Tuesday will unveil plans to broaden its services offerings beyond hardware support, to include support for the people and processes that interact with its systems.

Often, data center failures are the result of flawed processes or employee mistakes, said Mike Harding, director of Sun Preventive Services.

The preventive services offering, which now carries a single price for services that in many cases had been priced separately, is based on an assessment of the degree of risk of outages in a data center.

Sun has developed a methodology to measure the risk. Once changes are made to improve operations based on a risk assessment using that methodology, pricing can decline as much as 20 percent, said Harding.

The service will initially focus on Sun products but by next year will also support systems from other vendors, he said.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

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