Sun this week will release two servers in its identity management line designed to help corporate users jumpstart federation projects with partners and to aid service providers such as telcos in provisioning users on a massive scale.
The new software offerings are Sun Java System Federation Manager, a server that will help companies hook partners into their secure infrastructure, and a Service Provider Edition of Sun's Identity Manager software for extranet provisioning that includes self-registration, the ability to share account information and auditing tools.
Federation Manager is designed to help companies that have adopted identity federation get their partners up to speed with basic security capabilities. The server supports the Security Assertions Markup Language, and the Liberty Alliance Identity Federation Framework and Web Services Framework. It works in conjunction with Sun's Access Manager, which provides a federation hub for companies. Federation Manager is a lightweight spoke that partners can stand in front of their current identity platforms, such as a directory.
"A company may want to add federation to its infrastructure, but the partners are not ready yet. This helps address the problem," says Gerry Gebel, an analyst with the Burton Group.
Others vendors are offering similar "jumpstart" federation servers, including BMC, Oracle, PingID, RSA, and Trustgenix.
The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) will use Federation Manager and Identity Manager Service Provider Edition to help foster federation with its 900 members who use BIPAC to distribute political information to employees.
"Identity Manager and Federation Manager serve as the interpretation boxes that allow different systems to communicate, and they allow BIPAC to expand our services without worrying about interoperability," says Darrell Shull, vice president of political operations for BIPAC. "That is key to expanding the use of federated identity management among our members."
BIPAC plans to roll out Identity Manager Service Provider Edition to provision services for the 19 million employees of its member companies.
The server provides registration and user self-service capabilities. It also supports the sharing of account attributes across partner networks so a user can register account information once and have it pushed out to other trusted companies on the network that provide services.
The server supports the Services Provisioning Markup Language, Java, C#, and Remote Java API over Secure Sockets Layer.
Both the Federation Manager and Identity Manager Service Provider Edition are priced on a per-seat basis with average installations running US$150,000 and US$300,000, respectively.