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Software Infrastructure for Business Value

Neil Macehiter

IBM's identity management becomes user-centric: HP's identity management exit strategy

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Courtesy of InternetNews on Tuesday I learned that IBM has added support for OpenID, Windows CardSpace and Eclipse's Higgins Identity Framework to its Tivoli Federated Identity Manager (FIM) offering. As one of the enterprise identity management heavyweights, IBM's announcement is an important endorsement of user-centric identity approaches. Such approaches are still in the formative phase of the adoption curve, particularly in the enterprise, so I see this is an investment for the future for IBM. IBM's significant installed base should help to increase awareness, particularly for organisations supporting external user communities.

IBM's press release provides more details on the user-centric credentials (no pun intended!) of FIM. It also discusses the product's SOA Identity Service, which is designed to address some of the challenges associated with identity lifecycle management and audit where service-oriented approaches are applied to siloed applications with siloed security. These challenges are something I highlighted back in February 2006 and are a barrier to the realisation of the value of SOA as it moves out of project-level deployments. I see the SOA Identity Service as the more important aspect of this announcement, with SOA being a more pressing IT (and hopefully business) concern than user-centric identity.

As an aside, the InternetNews article mentions that the enterprise identity management market

is becoming increasingly competitive with offerings from HP, CA and Oracle

Can't fault the journalist on CA and Oracle ... but HP! Earlier in the year the company announced that it was no longer going to be selling its Identity Center products to new customers: hardly a competitive force. As part of this (hopefully for its customers) graceful retreat from the market, HP announced that it has established an exclusive agreement with Novell whereby the two companies will

jointly offer migration services, HP will resell Novell identity and security management solutions and Novell will license HP Identity Center technology

When HP originally announced that it was exiting the market, it stated that it would continue to support and develop Identity Center for its existing customers so I was somewhat surprised to see it offering a migration programme. I wonder whether those customers didn't see this as an effective way forward for what is critical infrastructure. Whilst the programme was a surprise, the partner wasn't. Where else could HP have gone? BMC, CA or IBM: hardly, given the competition in the IT service/systems management markets (and numerous others in the case of IBM). Sun: difficult given competition in the hardware space. Oracle: would have made things difficult for HP's SAP alliance team. Microsoft: lacks the heterogeneous environment support and breadth of functionality that HP's customers need. So, whilst I am sure the sentiments behind Ben Horowitz's (VP and GM, Business Technology Optimization, Software, HP) statement that HP chose Novell

because of its outstanding set of technologies, recognized market leadership and tremendous commitment to working with HP customers

are real, the company didn't have too many others to chose from!

Neil Ward-Dutton, founder and Research Director of MWD Advisors offers his perspective on key software infrastructure issues, IT-business alignment and related things.

Neil Ward-Dutton

Neil Ward-Dutton is a co-founder of and Research Director at Macehiter Ward-Dutton, View more


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