Atreus pushes provisioning software to corporations

Atreus Systems Corp., which develops user management software for service providers, is stepping into the corporate world with software designed to make it easier for large organizations to automatically manage user identification and control user access to network resources.

The company on Monday introduced XAuthority for the Enterprise, a platform that companies can use to provision services based on a user's unique network identification. Provisioning software lets companies automate the creation and deletion of accounts, which helps to lower management costs while boosting security.

XAuthority is a framework that can talk to any network service or application, such as VPN software, intranet applications or e-mail servers. Users are added to the system via the integrated XAuthority directory or any directory based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Once in the system, users can manage their own data via a self-service portal.

XAuthority associates those users with various network services and governs their access to those services via a set of established rules. The software also can enforce rules on quality of service and bandwidth controls associated with certain users or applications, determine the device a user is on and automatically configure delivery of services to that device.

"Enterprises have customers, who are their internal clients, and they need to automatically provision services as a way to lower costs and be more responsive to those users," says Verne Anton, principal analyst for Gartner Inc. Anton says carriers have been skilled at provisioning for some time and now enterprises must learn the discipline. "It is not something enterprises have done well in the past. They can run without provisioning, but as they grow it will become cost prohibitive" to do so, he says.

Atreus hopes to use its knowledge from the carrier market to help large corporations. It will compete with MetaSolv Software Inc., which made the carrier-to-enterprise leap nearly 18 months ago. It also will compete with Novell Inc. and IBM Corp. and point products from the likes of Netegrity Inc., Oblix Inc., Waveset Technologies Inc. and Business Layers Inc.

Atreus's XAuthority offers a single interface where administrators can modify user groups and access rights and create rules for using services and applications.

Atreus is including three drivers out of the box that integrate XAuthority with VPNs, firewalls, and services provided by Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange, including e-mail, calendars and contact lists. The company plans to add support for remote storage and wireless devices next year. The software also comes with a Service Driver Toolkit, which allows companies to build interfaces between XAuthority and their existing systems and applications.

XAuthority has a portal interface that acts as a single sign-on platform to authenticate users. The portal runs on any Web application server that is compliant with the Java 2 Enterprise Edition specification, including IBM Corp.'s WebSphere, Oracle Corp.'s Oracle 9iAS and Apache Tomcat. Once logged in, users can request access to the services and applications for which they have rights.

XAuthority runs on Sun Solaris 8. Atreus says the minimum configuration, which includes running the employee self-service application and a data store, requires a 650-MHz computer with 4G bytes of RAM. The configuration will support 75,000 users with two services provisioned per user.

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