JAVAONE: Sun beefs up ID management products

JAVAONE: Sun beefs up ID management products

A slew of software updates to Sun Microsystems's Open Net Environment (ONE) family of identity management software and development tools increases the performance of that company's products and provides tighter integration between Sun's software and products from Microsoft, Oracle, Novell and IBM, the company has claimed.

Sun unveiled the upgraded software earlier this week at the JavaOne Conference in San Francisco. The updated products include versions of the Sun ONE Directory Server, Directory Proxy Server, Directory Server Resource Kit and Meta-Directory as well as a new Sun ONE product that synchronizes passwords between Microsoft's Active Directory and Sun ONE environments.

Topping the news is Version 5.2 of the Sun ONE Directory Server. It features a re-architected 64-bit back end that will vastly increase its ability to manage large user directories, including data sets in excess of one terabyte, according to John Barco, an Identity Management product marketing manager at Sun.

As a result of the new 64-bit architecture, the new Directory Server could support as many as 12 central processing units (CPUs), with performance improvements of between 50 per cent and 500 per cent in various operations over the 5.1 release, Barco said.

The increased performance would attract companies that were looking to consolidate their data center operations by moving functionality that was spread out over multiple servers to a single, high-performance server, he said.

Meanwhile, Directory Service Resource Kit version 5.2 includes updated software development kits (SDKs) for the C and Java programming languages that were designed to take advantage of Directory Server's performance improvements, Barco said.

Directory Server's latest version also boosts its 'high availability' features for deployment on wide area networks (WANs), including improved, four-way data replication between master directory servers and support for the Sun Cluster 3.0 agent, the company said.

Master directory servers manage and disseminate user information and attributes to smaller "consumer" user directories that are attached to other network resources such as applications or databases.

The four-way replication allows organisations with sets of primary and backup Directory Servers at redundant data centers to ensure that directory information can be copied between any of the servers, Barco said.

Sun is also expanding its support for directory services technology. Version 5.2 adds support for DSML (Directory Service Markup Language), an Extensible Markup Language (XML) derivative akin to LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) that enables organisations to share data between disparate systems.

In the process, Sun also redesigned the Directory Server's front-end, creating a 'plug and play' architecture that will make it easier to add support for new protocols as they appear, Barco said.

To encourage adoption of Directory Server on networks using Microsoft's Active Directory with the Windows NT or Windows 2000 platform, the company also announced the new Sun ONE Identity Synchronization for Windows 1.0.

The new tool enabled user passwords stored in either Directory Server or Active Directory to be synchronised uni- or bi-directionally, Sun said. The Identity Synchronisation product is intended to help bridge the gap within organisations between groups managing systems running applications on the Microsoft platform and using Active Directory, and those managing other platforms such as Unix and Linux that use LDAP along with Sun ONE.

"It's like you've got two worlds - an IT shop that owns the Microsoft world and one that owns the Sun ONE world, and the two never talk," Barco said. "This type of product is designed to get around the political issues that are pervasive in that type of enterprise environment."

A new version of the Sun ONE Meta-Directory product, version 5.1 includes new connectors for a variety of products by Oracle, Microsoft, Novell and IBM including IBM's Lotus Notes version 5.0.10, Microsoft Exchange 2000 and Novell e-Directory version 8.6.2, Sun said.

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