Novell brains share news on identity management

Novell lifted the lid on forthcoming enhancements to its identity management tools at its Brainshare Europe customer conference in Barcelona Monday.

There are two main themes to the enhancements: the introduction of Novell Virtual Directory Services, and the addition of a number of new tools around it, according to Rik van Bruggen, Novell's director for solution management and marketing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Novell plans to release Virtual Directory Services, an identity store that can be embedded in other applications or devices, in the first half of next year. This will enable manufacturers of devices such as telephone switchboards to make them natively compatible with Novell systems, simplifying the provisioning of telephone services for new employees within a managed identity infrastructure, according to Van Bruggen. Currently, automating such provisioning requires the identity management system to be modified for each new application added, the company said.

It's too early to say exactly which operating systems Virtual Directory Services will be developed for, Van Bruggen said. However, the prospect of manufacturers such as Alcatel or Siemens incorporating Virtual Directory Services into future telephone systems is realistic because both use Linux, he said.

Linux is a target operating system for another of the new products announced at Brainshare Europe; Designer for Nsure Identity Manager is a visual tool intended to make it simpler to configure identity management infrastructures. Novell is offering a free download of the beta version, which is available for Windows, Suse Linux and Red Hat Linux.

Business analysts can use Designer for Nsure Identity Manager to configure identity management systems with their mouse, where previously they would have needed knowledge of XML (Extensible Markup Language) and scripting languages, Van Bruggen said. By lowering the skills barrier for this type of work, the tool removes a bottleneck to implementing an identity management infrastructure, he said.

Novell is also beefing up other provisioning tools: Enhanced Provisioning Module makes it possible to automate certain processes, and to delegate certain administration rights, so that enrolling a new employee, say, is less dependent on the availability of one manager. Novell will offer Enhanced Provisioning Module as a free download next month to users of Identity Manager 2 or Extend Director 5.2 Enterprise Edition.

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