HP & Sun Check ID

Both vendors added flesh to their identity management stories this week with Sun once again hitting the source

July 14, 2005

3 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) both made announcements this week designed to boost their identity management stories (see Sun Opens Source on SSO and HP Rolls Out ID Mgmt).

With companies increasingly relying on their partners to help run their day-to-day business, more and more people need secure access to corporate IT systems. Using an interface such as a Web portal, identity management software gives users a single password to connect to a variety of back-end IT systems (see Identity Management Heats Up).

Recent months have seen a flurry of activity from vendors such as HP, Sun, and Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), who are all attempting to make inroads in this market (see HP Offers Identity Mgt Trade Up , Sun Migrates Identity Management, and CA Nets Netegrity for $430M).

Sun, following a string of similar announcements in other parts of its product range, is now planning to open the source code for its Website authentication and single sign-on (SSO) technologies. The vendor also plans to release the source code for agents to connect the Website authentication and Web SSO technologies with Java System Web Server and Application Server.

Certainly, this approach has already reaped benefits elsewhere in the Sun empire. The vendor announced earlier this year that it had distributed one million licenses for Solaris 10, just a couple of months after opening up the operating systems source code. Since then, Sun has also unlocked a number of its key Java technologies (see Sun Hits the Source, Sun Distributes 1M Solaris 10 Licenses, and Sun Opens Source on Java).Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink LLC thinks that Sun’s decision to open source its identity management technologies could have a knock-on effect across the industry. “It will benefit users by bringing prices down overall in the identity management software market,” he says. “The more open source solutions there are out there, the less value there is to buying a proprietary solution.”

HP, however is taking a different tack. The vendor has overhauled its OpenView family of software with new federation, automation, compliance, and reporting features for identity management. HP also extended its relationship with Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) for SSO.

Bloomberg believes this announcement helps HP move towards Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs), which let users run services in the form of application software across different computing environments. “They are sort of cleaning up a lot of the old OpenView and moving towards a services oriented model,” he says.

With SOA technologies gaining momentum at the moment, Bloomberg feels that identity management is becoming even more important (see System Vendors Sight SOA). “You need identity management so that a request can be properly authorized and authenticated within a Service Oriented Architecture,” he says.

However, the big test for HP will be maneuvering the firm, which has recently undergone massive restructuring, to tackle SOA, according to Bloomberg. “For HP the challenge is turning their entire enterprise ship towards SOA,” he says.Robert Ayoub, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan thinks recent events will help raise the profile of identity management even further amongst users. “Considering what we just saw in London and increasing concern about terrorist attacks elsewhere, I think there’s going to be a growing need for identity management.”

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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