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F5 Builds OAM Links Into BIG-IP

Application Delivery Network vendor F5 has announced plans to incorporate a front-end proxy for Oracle Access Manager within its BIG-IP family. Designed to replace the existing agent or proxy server requirements of OAM, F5's solution will move the capture of authentication requests to the network edge, while also verifying endpoint security and handling load management. The front-end component of Oracle's web access management tool will be delivered as an optional module for F5's BIG-IP ADN product. It's expected to be available in the first half of 2010, and pricing has not been announced.
Oracle Access Manager (OAM) is a centralized identity management and access control solution, enabling enterprises to mange access to their applications. The authentication process is handled through agents running on the application servers, through dedicated proxy servers, or written into the application itself.
Through OAM, enterprises can develop and administer access control policies and enable a single sign-on for users across all applications. F5 has suggested that while there needs to be a 1:1 ratio between application server and proxy server, using the BIG-IP for authentication will scale this up to a 10:1 ratio between appliance and application server.  
For enterprise customers, moving access control to the network's edge within the BIG-IP will certainly streamline the process of managing user access to applications. Moving this work to the same appliance that is handling load balancing and network security is quite a logical progression, and will likely take some of the workload of development and server teams.
While it remains to be seen whether Oracle adopts the BIG-IP as the preferred method of OAM deployment, it will still be a compelling alternative to rolling out additional physical or virtual servers solely for access control.