Ping Identity gets ball rolling on server to share identities

Ping Identity Wednesday opened up the initial beta program for the next version of its PingFederate server, which includes support for the newest standard identity protocols.

The server's highlight is support for Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0. The protocol, which was developed by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is seen as a leap in functionality over earlier versions of the protocol.

Experts say SAML 2.0 is significant because it add features such as account linking, global logout, attribute exchange with privacy features and interoperability with Shibboleth and the Liberty Alliance specifications.

In February, 13 vendors - including Computer Associates, Entrust, HP, Oracle, RSA Security, Sun and Trustgenix - staged a SAML 2.0 interoperability demonstration that also included the federal government and its E-Authentication Initiative.

Ping expects to ship code to a select group of beta testers next week. General availability of PingFederate Server with SAML 2.0 support is due in October.

Despite momentum behind the SAML 2.0 protocol, still missing is an intersection with work Microsoft and IBM are doing around WS-Federation, another federation protocol the two vendors have developed. Experts believe the two protocols will eventually converge, but the effort is moving slowly.