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.

Identity and Access Management - Enabling HIPAA/HITECH Compliance

hipaa The white paper I mentioned several days ago, Identity and Access Management – Enabling HIPAA/HITECH Compliance, is now hot off the press and ready for download.  Thanks to all the great people at Sun Microsystems that contributed to this project and made it a reality.  Hopefully, the paper will be beneficial to those who are facing the challenges of how to comply with the increasing regulations surrounding management of healthcare data and information systems.

The paper’s abstract reads:

As healthcare organizations and vendors become more reliant on digital information technology, complying with increasing regulatory requirements presents a range of challenges. This paper explores the requirements that these organizations face, best practices for implementing identity management systems that help ensure compliance, and how Sun’s pragmatic approach to identity management simplifies the technology environment.

The table of contents:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Healthcare Information Technology Challenges
  3. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  4. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
  5. Impact of HIPAA, HITECH and Related Regulations
  6. The Role of IAM in HIPAA/HITECH Compliance
  7. Sun IAM Product Introduction
  8. Best Practices for the IAM/Compliance Journey
  9. How to Get Started with HIPAA/HITECH and IAM
  10. The Sun IAM Workshop
  11. References

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss the content in more detail.

Frankly Speaking: Identity Management

It was nice to see a short piece covering the CIO Frankly Speaking Breakfast event in Toronto yesterday, where Michelle Dennedy and I fielded questions about Identity Management and Cloud Computing from John Pickett of IT World Canada.  I particularly liked the statement made by Michelle, “Identities are now being realized as the true assets for the organization.”

Thursday Jul 30, 2009

Contrast in Characters - Rapper and Prophet

For a guy whose theatrical credits are limited to an obscure high school play and boy scout skits, this week has been a high point in playing the part of interesting characters.

Last Saturday, I led a Pioneer Day celebration parade dressed as Brigham Young, the Mormon Prophet.  Wednesday night, I dressed the part of a 1980's rapper in the Sun Microsystems Catalyst Conference hospitality suite.  Thanks to Ian Glazer for the rapper photo and to my wife Claudia for the photo of Brigham on a horse.

Great times!

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Thursday Jun 04, 2009

Identity Critical to Interoperability

Dan'l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development for Microsoft, was on the big stage at JavaOne this morning, delivering a keynote presentation focused on interoperability among disparate information system platforms.  Acknowledging the critical importance of Identity in enabling interoperability, Dan'l remarked, "Identity is Fundamental," and "Nothing is more important than Identity."   He further remarked, "we just assume that Identity will be federated" as we move to cloud computing.

I started this blog on May 13, 2005 - the day Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer met in a press conference to announce commitment to interoperability between the Microsoft and Sun platforms.  In that maiden post, I stated:
"Identity Management is the key to enabling interoperability. It is the pivot about which the Microsoft/Sun relationship turns. Why - because Identity, by its very nature, transcends platforms. Regardless of which application or platform is being used, a user's basic identity doesn't change. So, in a naturally heterogenous world, an ability to rise above the differences between computer platforms is necessary if companies are to reach goals of efficiency and connectivity they require for business success."

It is heartening to hear Dan'l give essentially the same message today, and to see the progress that has been made in the past four years. 

It was also encouraging to hear both Dan'l and Aisling MacRunnels, Sun VP, Application Platform Software Marketing, re-state their respective committment to fostering interoperability between the Java and .Net computing platforms.  Aisling announced that Sun had strengthened its commitment to interoperability efforts by agreeing to participate in the Stonehenge project and contribute the Metro-based StockTrader application code to that project.

What do you think the next four years will bring?

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Thursday Feb 12, 2009

JavaFX Mobile + Malden Labs

JavaFXThis morning, Sun announced the availability of the JavaFX Mobile platform, which "delivers rich content and services across the broadest range of mobile devices – from mass market feature phones to smart phones."

From a company best known for functionality under the covers, it is great to see truly great user interface technology emerge to complete the virtual last mile to people on the "screens of our lives."

JavaFX Mobile will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, from February 16-19.  Coincidentally, today I am in beautiful Pebble Beach, California, for customer meetings where we will demonstrate JavaFX at work with Sun JavaFX partner Malden Labs.  Seeing the Malden "Channel Grid" user interface in operation within a browser, on a desktop and on a mobile phone is really cool.

The Malden Labs 6thSpace technology leverages JavaFX and the entire Sun software stack to build systems that are "Reasonable, Intelligent, Immersive and Pervasive."  It is a great example of how JavaFX provides innovative new ways to connect users to the rich functionality enabled by Sun's software infrastructure products.

I'll write more later about Malden and 6thSpace.  Beside being an great showcase for JavaFX, this system is an excellent example of how Identity plays a critical role in personalizing a user's interaction with business systems.  Stay tuned.

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Wednesday Jul 09, 2008

Scott McNealy - Cloud Computing and Open Source

In this Telecom TV video interview at the recent NXTComm conference, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems talks about the impact of cloud computing and open source software on the telecom industry.

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Thursday Feb 28, 2008

Be a Destination, Not a Gateway

Well, the cat is out of the bag. I can now blog about the major initiative that has been monopolizing my time for the past six months.

This morning, Slashdot picked up the post by BobB-nw: "Telecommunication companies need to go beyond just providing bandwidth and look into acquiring Internet destination sites that are heavily trafficked, says Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy. "I have explained to every telco that either you become a destination site, or the destination site will become a telco," McNealy said at a news conference at Sun Microsystems' Worldwide Education and Research Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday."

I am the guy in Sun's Americas Software Practice tabbed with leading the effort to make Scott's vision a reality for our large telecom customers. If you were here with me at Sun's Immersion Week today, you could attend my class for Sun systems engineers on the topic of Project Destination.

Project Destination is a Sun Microsystems initiative to give reality to Scott's vision that: Telcos must become "Destination Brands" or they will be only "Network Gateways" to companies that are Destination Brands (note that I said "Brand", not "Site." The term "site" is too limiting. We are talking about services delivered across the spectrum of online devices - phones, TVs and web browsers.)

A Destination Brand will:

  • Attract and retain subscribers to a brand
    • High perceived value: what subscribers want, when they want it
    • On demand information, media and online participation
  • Deliver rich user experience
    • Easy to use, responsive, innovative
    • Highly personalized - context based
    • Visually and aurally stimulating
    • Blend media types - photo/video/sound/music/text
  • Integrate user experience across three screens
    • Mobile device, desktop/laptop and TV
  • Enable new business models
    • Subscription, personalized advertising, transactions, service aggregation, managed services ...

What in the world does this have to do with Identity? Identity is at the very heart of delivering highly personalized, context aware services to subscribers on their choice of device. I like to call it "Identity-enabled Service Orchestration." Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I discuss issues and solutions in more detail.

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Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

Whiteboard Collaboration

Tom LimanekOne of the significant benefits of getting together at training events like Sun Immersion Week is participating in ad hoc whiteboard discussions like the one where I caught my colleague Tom Limanek in an intense Identity Management discussion. In an era of extensive conference calls and virtual interaction, it is sometimes very refreshing to have some serious face time together.

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Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

Welcome MySQL

Let me join the chorus saying welcome to our friends from MySQL who officially joined Sun today! I look forward to learning more about how we can leverage this great technology and organization, together with other Sun software products, to deliver more and more value to those whom we serve.

See you in Santa Clara!

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Winter Wonderland, Q-Center Style

I am spending the week at Sun Microsystems "Immersion Week," a yearly event where the technical side of the Sun sales force congregates for technical training and community building. Thanks to a spring snow storm, we were treated to some gorgeous winter sites at the Q-Center in St. Charles, Illinois.

With apologies for the limited clarity affored by my Treo camera, here are a few photos. You can click on any photo to see a larger version on Flickr.

Winter Scene at Q-Center Winter Scene at Q-Center

Winter Scene at Q-Center Winter Scene at Q-Center

Winter Scene at Q-Center Q-Center

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Wednesday Feb 20, 2008

Chicago Identity Management User Group Meeting

It was good to see Scott Fehrman's report on the first Sun Identity Manager User Group meeting in the Chicago area, held Tuesday, February 19th. User group meetings such as this are great forums for our customers to provide feedback to Sun and for sharing experiences and best practices that enhance all participants' abilities to leverage their investment in Identity Management technology and processes.

The next User Group meeting in the Chicago area will be help at the Sun Itasca Office @ 6:30 pm on Thursday May 22nd 2008. The following items will be addressed in that meeting:

  • Upgrading Identity Manager (Laurus Technologies)
  • Getting more value out of Identity Manager (Deloitte)
  • Identity Manager 8.0 Overview (Sun)
If you're interested in joining the user group, please send an email to "Chicago_IdM_LUG [at] Sun [dot] com".

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Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Welcome, Vaau!

On February 15th, Sun completed its acquisition of Vaau, a premier provider of Enterprise Role Management (ERM) and identity compliance solutions. Please allow me to add my welcome to these great folks and great technology. I was pleased with Sun's announcement last November to acquire Vaau. It is always great to see good business transactions like this come to fruition.

Last week, I joined Sun software specialists from all over the world at a three day training event focused the RBACx product (now Sun Java System Role Manager) and related methodologies. We got to install to software, kick its tires, discuss the intriguing processes of applying the Vaau technology to business problems and hang out with a few of the key people in the organization.

In our training class, the characteristics that resonated most with me were:

  • The ability to define roles in a blended fashion - taking the best of top-down modelling and bottoms-up data mining role discovery methods
  • The facilities to not only discover, but manage and maintain role definitons as an organization grows and changes.
  • The linkage between RBACx and the Sun Identity Manager product for proactive compliance

I still have much to learn, but am confident this acquisition and the ongoing work to integrate the technology and people into Sun will be positive for our customers and for Sun.

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Thursday Jan 24, 2008

Welcome Gary Olson!

Please join me in welcoming Gary Olson to the blogsphere. Gary, who was recently name as US Software Practice Sales Director, launched his blog, "One Team ... One Fight" today with an inspiring tribute to one of his colleagues who is retiring from 25 years of service in the US Air Force.

May I share the final paragraph of Gary's post:

So, as you end or start your day, two requests:
  1. Please say a prayer or raise a glass to the thousands of men and women who sit guard today as my friend did for 25 years serving our country, selfless and with great resolve.
  2. As the next sun rises or sets, commit to yourself, to your family, to your team...that today YOU are going to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
ONE Team...ONE Fight!

Thanks, Gary, for your passionate leadership!

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Discovering Identity was founded on 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 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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