Thursday Jul 19, 2012

Oracle Identity Management 11g R2: Securing the New Digital Experience

Today, the 11g R2 version of the Oracle Identity and Access Management platform was formally announced, with the tagline, “Optimized to Secure the New Digital Experience.”

We in the information security organizations of Oracle have been waiting anxiously for this announcement.  This week, the North American Sales and Sales Consulting organizations gathered in Santa Clara, CA, to be training in this exciting new set of products.

There are three major reasons why I believe this announcement is a big step forward for our customers.

First, this release delivers advanced functionality that gives really compelling business reasons for existing Sun Identity Manager customers to migrate to the Oracle Platform. It is no longer an issue of “moving from point A to point A in functionality,” just to get on the Oracle platform before premium support expires for the Sun product.  It means moving to the Oracle platform to leverage really innovative capabilities that will accelerate business value..

Second, this platform brings to reality a dream we were promoting at Sun as part of Project Destination way back before the Oracle acquisition: integrating Identity and SOA technologies to deliver “highly personalized, identity-enabled, blended applications on mobile devices.”  The new Mobile and Social capabilities and Secure API functionality added to the Oracle Access Management platform, provide a fully-integrated platform to deliver such functionality more easily and more securely than ever before.  Back at Sun, many of our customers adopted the vision we espoused, but making it happen was pretty hard work.  Now, the Oracle Access Management platform does all the heavy lifting for us.

Third, this release shows continued, significant progress towards Oracle’s vision of a truly integrated, service-oriented architecture for Identity and Access Management.  No longer is the Oracle suite just a nice collection of acquired products.  From my perspective as an Enterprise Architect, it is great to see the convergence of data models, functionality, administration services and architectural components.  It is the simplification and streamlining of architecture that will ultimately solve the complexity our customers face.

So, it will be great to work with our customers to show how they can leverage this great platform to meet their business needs. Saddle up for a great ride!

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

Telcos and "On Demand" Computing

Ten years ago, while employed by Oracle, I worked on a project where we tried to convince the large North American telcos to act as Application Service Providers (ASP) and host Oracle applications for their customers.  We proposed that the combination of existing telco data centers, network connectivity, business customer base and billing infrastructure provided an ideal foundation for such services.  At that time, we didn’t get much traction with the telcos, but Oracle went ahead and launched their own ASP service, now known as "Oracle On Demand.”

Now, as Sun awaits acquisition by Oracle, it is interesting to see telco participation in what we now term “Cloud Computing.”  On Monday, AT&T announcedSynaptic Compute as a Service(SM), its latest innovative global cloud-based service, designed to give companies of all sizes simple on-demand access to scalable computing capacity.”  Ironically, the press release was entitled, “AT&T Unveils Network-Based 'On Demand' Computing for Companies of All Sizes.”  I’m not sure what Oracle might think of AT&T’s use of the “On Demand” term.

AT&T is working closely with Sun to use the Sun Cloud Open Cloud Platform, Sun Cloud APIs, cloud reference architecture and design expertise to create an environment to make it easy for developers to build and deploy value-added services.

"Sun is committed to helping our customers and partners deliver public and private clouds that are cost effective, open and interoperable," said Dave Douglas, senior vice president, Cloud Computing, Sun Microsystems. "AT&T's network and operational excellence coupled with Sun's Open Cloud Platform and Sun Cloud APIs delivers a revolutionary cloud offering. We're excited to be working with AT&T to bring an enterprise-class, highly scalable offering that delivers choice and flexibility to market."

The trend towards cloud computing marches on.  I think we will see more telco participation in this market. We have long accepted utility telephony services from telecom operators.  Offering computing utility services is a logical next step.

Thursday Nov 05, 2009

Identity Trend 11: Identity in the Cloud

This post is the last in a series of eleven posts I have written about trends in the Identity Management industry. 

imageI am certainly not an expert in the entire field of cloud computing, but find it fascinating to learn about this significant trend in computing technology. I recently read a book entitled, “The Big Switch:  Re-wiring the World, from Edison to Google,” by Nicholas Carr, which proposed that the shift from traditional data center computing to a utility-based computing model will follow the same general trend that electricity generation followed – from a model of each individual factory maintaining its own electricity generation capability to our current utility-based electricity generation and grid delivery model.  While I agree that the general direction is correct, there are several factors which make a move to utility computing much more difficult than a move to utility electricity generation.  I’ll address some of my thoughts about those differences in a future blog post.

Nevertheless, we can see that just like Identity is a core platform technology for computing in traditional enterprise IT environments, Identity is a critical foundation for cloud computing or utility computing.  Identity may be a component of cloud computing infrastructure, or exposed as a separate set of services in the form of Identity as a Service (IDaaS).

In some ways, the challenges and solutions about Identity in the Cloud are similar to Identity in traditional data center.   However, there is increased technical and administrative/legal complexity because of the locations and increased number of physical and virtual components involved. 

A few of the areas of increased complexity include:

  • Scale and distribution: Large numbers of accounts on large numbers of servers distributed globally.
  • Division of responsibility: The different levels of cloud computing – Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service  - may be split between different service providers.
  • Security Policy: Logging and auditing are essential to assure that cloud providers are not circumventing or compromising security policy.
  • Risk Management: Risk profiles are different for cloud users, depending on type of company (e.g. difference between SMB and high profile public company).
  • Legal and administrative: Control of Identity is often be delegated to external parties, so more complex trust relationships must be put in place.
  • Pricing.  How will Identity Services in the cloud be priced? How can the business value of Identity Services be quantified?
  • Governance.  How will Identity governance procedures become more complex as the number of stakeholders and individual companies increases?

One example of this increased complexity was highlighted in a recent legal case, where a lawsuit filed against eBay in Pennsylvania was transferred to Santa Clara, California because of a clause in eBay’s user agreement.  As with many areas of technology advancement, I expect that legal and procedural issues associated with cloud computing will be a challenging as the technologies involved.

A number of companies are emerging with the express emphasis of Identity Management in Cloud computing.  A couple of such companies I have recently connected with are Symplified and Conformity.  I expect many more will emerge and that existing vendors of Identity Management software will release software versions specifically tailored for cloud computing.

For example, some interesting discussions about cloud computing have been held with Oracle recently.  When asked about cloud computing by Ed Zander at the Churchill Club on September 21, 2009, Larry Ellison remarked, “just a lot of water vapor – nothing new!”

On the surface, it would seem that Larry was denigrating the whole idea of cloud computer.  However, further discussions revealed that Larry thinks that cloud computing is just another label for technology that has been around for awhile.  Oracle has been offering their ERP applications in a hosted, pay-as-you-go model for a decade.  I actually worked on that initiative while employed by Oracle nearly a ten years ago.

Coincidentally, the day I heard about Larry Ellison’s comments at the Churchill Club, I learned that Nishant Kaushik of Oracle had recently given an interesting presentation entitled “Identity Services And The Cloud.”  He also gave a follow-on presentation at Oracle Open World, entitled, “Identity Management in the Cloud: Stormy Days Ahead?”  Clearly, Oracle is right in the middle of addressing the issues surrounding Identity in the Cloud.

Questions to consider:

As you consider the implications of Identity Management as it applies to cloud computing, perhaps these questions will help:

  1. How does your enterprise use cloud-based computing now?
  2. What are your plans for the future?
  3. How do you plan to leverage your existing Identity infrastructure as you adopt more cloud-based computing models?
  4. What information security challenges do you see in extending Identity and Access Management into the cloud?
  5. How will inclusion of multiple cloud computing vendors affect your privacy protection methods?
  6. How will you will you comply with internal and external audit requirements as you adopt cloud computing principles?

Wednesday Jun 17, 2009

Kantara Initiative - Fostering Interoperable Identity-Enabled Solutions

Today market the official launch of the Kantara Initiative, "a new organization formed to solve the harmonization and interoperability challenges that currently exist among identity-enabled enterprise, Web 2.0 and Web-based applications and services. Kantara Initiative has been founded to collaboratively foster the innovation required for broad adoption of interoperable identity-enabled solutions across industries, regions and fixed and mobile networks."

Roger Sullivan, vice president Oracle Identity Management, has been elected president of the 2009 Kantara Initiative Board of Trustees.  Sun Microsystems is an initial member of the Board of Trustees.

I look forward to participating in this initiative as it moves forward.

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Thursday Oct 11, 2007

links for 2007-10-12

About

Discovering Identity was founded on blogs.sun.com in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at DiscoveringIdentity.com. In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Oracle Corporation, or any other person or organization.

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