Monday Jan 25, 2010

DSEE 7 Improves Import Speeds by 5X: What will Engineers Do With The Extra Time?

Importing an ldif file is a common task that every engineer needs to create a directory service.  This is also a task that some engineers need to perform when restoring an instance in their topology.  DSEE 7 has introduced new innovations into the code has resulted in 5x improvements in performance. 

Wajih Ahmed, this Wednesday, will detail how he used the new F-20's to improve import times using DSEE 7.  This improvement results in real measurable time/cost savings.  Since these tasks sometimes take place over weekends or during maintenance periods this means engineers will have more time to do other things.  We want to know what are they doing with that time?  

Here is a potential list of activities they might be doing with that extra time:
  1. Spending time with their families
  2. Downloading and creating a POC for OpenSSO
  3. Attending a soccer game for their daughter
  4. Setting up their Super Bowl pool favoring their favorite team
  5. Finding cheats to get promoted in HALO ODST.
  6. Arranging a family movie night
  7. Learn about Fine Grained Access Control with OpenSSO here
  8. Writing a blog post on why they should allow dedicated server versions of Modern Warfare 2
  9. Checking out the IT platform that will manage, capture and deliver the Vancouver Winter Olympics
  10. Perusing Facebook to find out what is going on with their friends today.

If you have other creative ideas on what engineers should be doing with this extra time that DSEE 7 has given back, please share below.  I think everyone should be getting ready for the Olympics so I have included the latest video on the Torch Relay from the Vacouver Winter Olympics site.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

NEW!! DSEE 7 Download, Documentation and Upgrade Guide Available Today

DSEE 7.0 is available for download today here with new documentation here.  The critical document you want to look at is the upgrade and migration guide here.

Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7.0 Boosts Speed and Performance: 

Considered one of the best extranet LDAP Directory Servers in the market today, the latest version of Directory Server Enterprise Edition allows enterprises to accelerate growth in a simplified way, improve performance and lower total cost of ownership. Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7.0 has been optimized to improve performance by more than three times when compared to its predecessor. In addition, this release provides innovations that improve authentication and modification performance by 60 percent, allowing customers to accelerate their applications without changing one line of code. 

What's New with Directory Server EE 7.0

Boosts speed and performance: DSEE 7.0 has been optimized to improve performance of some operations by more than 3x the current version. In addition, this release provides hardware optimization with up to 60% improvement in authentications and modifications. 
Reduces Total Cost of Ownership– Reduce cost by using the only solution in the market that provides customers with a directory server, virtual directory, proxy server, web console and Active Directory synchronization tool-kit under a single license. 
Hassle Free Upgrade – DSEE 7.0 provides a simple upgrade path and provides 5x performance improvement in data import times, thereby reducing migration costs. 

You can see a webinar we did recently on DSEE 7 and Role Manager 5 on why this release is important to your business and how this can help your company meet growth goals and reduce your total cost of ownership.

Monday Nov 16, 2009

Directory Server Performance and Cloud Computing

I recently attended Gartner IAM in San Diego and the topic of Cloud Computing permeated the titles of presentations throughout the conference.  Eric Sachs, from Google gave a good presentation on applying IAM principles to applications in the cloud.  RSA talked about network based security detection for companies leveraging the cloud.  You might even argue, depending on your definition of the cloud, that Matthew Modica's talk on using Sun Role Manager at Express Scripts was about using role management to help provide better security to cloud based services.  However, despite the good content and dialogue it seems that there is still some room for clarification as this space evolves.  The one thing that seemed obvious was that performance requirements for IAM infrastructure is going to continue to grow and be tested by this evolving space.  

At Sun, we worry about performance requirements every day as our customers push our existing technologies with demanding performance requirements.  Directory Server Enterprise Edition with it's more than 10 years of experience in the market has had to deal with cloud based architectures in a number of ways.  However, before we talk about how they intersect it is prudent for us to define the different types of clouds (prudent because there is still controversy over the definition of clouds). According to Wikipedia there are three different types of clouds: Public, Hybrid and Private.  

Directory Server Enterprise Edition (DSEE) provides infrastructure for companies that primarily use private and hybrid clouds.  In both the private and hybrid environments, these cloud based architectures reside in large enterprises using Directory Server to provide an authentication service for a portal and collaboration platforms for customer, employees and partner's. Additionally, Telco's and service providers have used DSEE to provide the identity backbone for private and hybrid clouds.  In these deployments DSEE is used as the access and authentication layer and OpenSSO as the single-sign-on, federation or web services security layer. However, the most common use case that we see today is enterprises using DSEE as the identity backbone for the hybrid cloud environment.  This is where companies are using federation or web services security on top of Directory Services to leverage Public Cloud services to extend the services they offer customers, employees and partners.   

At the very least these architectures in cloud computing are pushing performance beyond traditional levels.  This is also why we have seen a resurgence in interest in Directory Services.  The Directory Server and specifically Sun's Directory Server Enterprise Edition provides proven performance that enterprises can rely on as they build, experiment and deploy these new services.  We continue to push our existing products and new versions of the product to get the best performance out of the platform.  Terry Gardner, building off the great work Brad Diggs has done, recently published an example of this in his blog post to report performance results on a 13,800,000 user Directory using DSEE 5.2, Solaris 10 Update 7 using ZFS and Sun Netra x4250.  The deployment provided some impressive performance results below (taken from Terry's Blog here):

  • 8,000 searches per second with simultaneous updates
  • maximum 800 milliseconds for any single search
  • minimum 70% CPU utilization (usr+sys)
As DSEE 7 is available for download today (here) with 3x performance improvements it is worth remembering the strong foundation and history DSEE 7 follows.  I look forward to sharing with you over the next several months the performance figures of proven deployments as customers use DSEE 7.   These future architectures that drive performance whether they be to serve private or hybrid clouds or critical enterprise collaboration platforms will continue to drive us at Sun to produce the best proven performance directory server on the planet.

Friday Nov 13, 2009

Webinar: Identity Management and Healthcare

The  Sun Identity Management team will be giving a webinar next Wednesday to discuss the very important topic of Identity Management and healthcare.  As the healthcare legislation moves through congress the increase of 36M patients on healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients will be profound.  The cost savings projected by the bills will rely on IT systems to provide increased access to information to drive productivity gains.  As we have seen with recent high profile identity security breeches at hospitals identity security is critical in making sure the right people have access to the appropriate information, that information must be shared with all members of the value chain securely.

Sun's Identity Management Suite provides a powerful package of solutions to help with storing identity information with Directory Server Enterprise Edition;  managing authorization, federation and web services security with OpenSSO; providing provisioning solutions with Identity Manager; and, defining and managing role based access control with Role Manager.

Join this free Webinar to learn how Sun's identity management solutions can help your organization to:

  • Automate management of digital identities for other providers, patients, physicians, clinicians, and payors Provide single sign-on (SSO) and secure federated access to privacy-regulated healthcare information while adhering to strict mandates
  • Enable delegated, self-service password management
  • Comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), internal security policies, and corporate governance policies with complete auditing and reporting capabilities

Sun identity management solutions make it easier for healthcare organizations to manage and share digital information.

Register here.

Topic: Topic: Sun Webinar Series - Identity Management for Healthcare
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Time: 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT / 19.00 CET (check my timezone)
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker:

Sun Product Manager Suresh Sridharan


Thursday Nov 12, 2009

NY Identity User Group December 2

SAVE THE DATE - Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sun Identity Management User Group Session
Grammercy Park Room
Sun Microsystems, 101 Park Avenue, New York, NY

The Sun Identity Management User Group will meet for its next session at Sun Microsystems, 101 Park Avenue, New York, NY on Wednesday, December 2, 2009. 

We are still finalizing the agenda and I will publish in this blog as soon as it is ready. 

Register here

Here are a couple of pictures from a user group in London.  Etienne is doing the presentation on Directory Server.

Wednesday Nov 04, 2009

Gartner IAM, Nov. 9-11: Identity Management Isn't Hard

Next week, Nov. 9-11, the Identity Management Team travels down to Gartner Identity Access Management conference to showcase two of our latest releases DSEE 7 and Role Manager 5.  Gartner IAM is a great event because it not only gather's together experienced practitioners in the identity management space but has a number of events that are small enough that you can have quality conversations about real problems.  Last year, Verizon presented at this conference on the Directory and OpenSSO implementation that serves 50M users.  The presentation is a great example of the proven expertise that Sun brings to Identity Management and the proven extranet scale our products can support---not a marketing benchmark.

publisherID=1460825906">

Our team has taken a different approach to this even this year and we are participating in Gartner's Learning Lab's.  Vendors, customer's and identity specialists are encouraged to come-by in a classroom style and learn about specific problem's Sun's product, partner's and customer's are using to solve their identity business problems.  This is crucial today as the cost of failure or doing nothing rises exponentially.  The best way to ensure success is to learn from real-world implementations not marketing based slideware presentations.  This is why we have assembled not just the product teams but partners and real customer's to share their experience in these "learning labs".

The other great thing about Gartner IAM is that there are usually a few different ways to combine great industry expertise and a little fun.  On Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 9:00pm you can meet the Sun Identity team at the Hard Rock Rooftop bar for drinks and conversation.  The first 50 people get a wristband for free drinks.  Identity management isn't hard so come to the Hard Rock to find out how to make it easy! 

Gartner IAM Sun Schedule

Monday, Nov 9th

Learning Lab:

12:40 - 1:05pm “Increase Speed & Performance while reducing TCO with Sun Directory Server Enterprise Edition” Speaker: Nick Wooler, Sr Product Manager – Sun Microsystems

1:05 - 1:30pm “Changing the Rules of the game; Raising the bar with Rule Life-cycle Management and closed-loop remediation” Speaker: Neil Gandhi, Sr Product Manager – Sun Microsystems

1:35 - 2:00pm "IAM Governance, Risk and Compliance -- the future of IAM", Speaker: Sachin Nayyar, President - BrinQa

2:05 - 2:30pm "Enterprise Single Sign On for Sun Identity Management", Speaker: Stephane Fymat, VP of Strategy and Product Management - Passlogix

Sun Booth:

12:30 - 2:30pm Daniel Raskin showcasing OpenSSO

12:30 - 2:30pm Mat Hamlin showcasing Identity Manager

Tuesday, Nov 10th

Learning Lab:

12:10 - 12:35pm “Role based user provisioning; using business roles for identity life-cycle management and identity auditing”, Speaker: Mat Hamlin, Sr Product Manager, Sun Microsystems

12:35 - 1:00pm “Three tough challenges, one powerful solution: OpenSSO for web access management, federation and Web services security”, Speaker: Daniel Raskin, Chief Identity Strategist – Sun Microsystems

1:05 - 1:30pm "Privileged Identity Risk Management: Mitigating the Insider Threat", Speaker: Richard Weeks, VP of Channels and Business Development, Cyber-Ark

1:35 - 2:00pm "The WHO behind the WHAT: Arcot Authentication and Sun OpenSSO Enterprise "  Speaker: R 'Doc' Vaidhyanathan, Chief Product Officer - Arcot

Sun Booth:

12:00 - 2:00pm Nick Wooler, showcasing DSEE

12:00 - 2:00pm Neil Ghandi, showcasing Role Manager

Thursday Oct 22, 2009

What's New In Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7?

Yesterday, Neil Ghandi, Matt Hamlin, Etienne Remillon and I gave a quick overview of what is new in Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7 and Role Manager 5.  Here are just a few of the great highlights that were discussed during the presentation.  Of course, you can get the full video embeded below.  Lastly, if you are interested in seeing more events like this you can go to the webinar site here.  

You can download the slides here.  You can download the video here.

Friday Oct 16, 2009

Register for Webinar: What's New in DSEE 7 and Role Manager 5

Sun's Identity Team have been busy over the summer!  On Oct. 9, 2009 the Identity Management Team announced the release of Directory Server Enterprise Edition 7 and Role Manager 5.  Next Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 8:00am PT, Neil Ghandi (Role Manager Technical Product Manager) and I will be giving an overview of some of the great features that exist in the new releases.  Here are a couple of highlights:

What's New with Directory Server EE 7.0

Boosts speed and performance: DSEE 7.0 has been optimized to improve performance of some operations by more than 3x the current version. In addition, this release provides hardware optimization with up to 60% improvement in authentications and modifications. 
Reduces Total Cost of Ownership– Reduce cost by using the only solution in the market that provides customers with a directory server, virtual directory, proxy server, web console and Active Directory synchronization tool-kit under a single license.
Hassle Free Upgrade – DSEE 7.0 provides a simple upgrade path and provides 5x performance improvement in data import times, thereby reducing migration costs.
What's New with Role Manager 5.0
360 Degree View of Assigned Access – A unified view of data related to user access that empowers reviewers to make more         intelligent decisions concerning users access.
Closed-loop Remediation – A complete end-to-end solution for reviewing user access and removing inappropriately assigned access.
Rule Life-cycle Management – The first solution for managing the complete life-cycle of role assignment and SoD audit rules.

Interested in hearing more? Interested in hearing more about the release and what business problems it solves for your enterprise?  Register here for the Webinar here:

Topic: Improve Compliance, Access Controls, and Performance with Sun's Latest Releases of Role Manager and DSEE
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Time: 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT / 19.00 CET (check my timezone)
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker:

 Sun Product Managers: Neil Gandhi and Nick Wooler

Registration::

 Register Here


Wednesday Sep 02, 2009

LDAPCon2009: Growth in identities requires LDAP to innovate

Our very own, Ludo Poitou will be presenting with other luminaries in the identity industry at The 2nd.International conference on LDAP, LDAPCon 2009 will be held on September 20th and 21st at Waterfront Marriot Hotel , Portland OR, USA.

LDAP is gaining renewed attention as the identity repository for enterprise, telco's, global partner networks, healthcare and education institutions.  The LDAP repositories have been faced with massive growth over the last five years and the performance and availability they have come to rely upon is being tested. New requirements driven by the growth of users, the explosion of security requirements imposing more "writes" and the access to web services security and policies are forcing LDAP experts to look at new innovations.

You should attend, if you want to be apart of hearing how LDAP experts are innovating and addressing these business and technical challenges.  If you haven't registered yet, please register NOW here!

The registration fee includes access to the LinuxCon 2009 (Sep 21 - 23), and if you still need to be convinced that it's worth attending, you can check the agenda here.

Tuesday May 19, 2009

Last Chance to Register: Directory Server Webinar, Improve Enterprise Performance

I wanted to pass along a quick note about an upcomming webinar on Directory Services which will be held Wednesday, May 20.  The webinar will cover how to reduce cost and improve the speed and performance of your enterprise using directory services.  The conversation will go over the following:

  • How to use save cost by consolidating identity sprawl in your enterprise
  • How to meet agressive time-lines on a merger and acquisition
  • How to federate faster with virtual directories

If you are interested, please sign-up here.  Even if you are not able to attend, registering will give you access to the replay.

Oh, and that is not Craig MacDonald in the picture in the top-right.  I got this from a very talented photographer in the Creative Commons here.

If you attend and want to see what I look like, the picture to the left was captured at the European Identity Conference by the very serious people at the Daily Mail the bastion of great journalism in the UK.


Thursday May 14, 2009

iPhone Application of the Year: LDAP could increase productivity by 1.43 FTE

At this very moment, every company on the planet is trying to find ways to reduce cost.  A creative and innovative member of the Directory Server team at Sun has come up with a way to do just that using the iPhone and LDAP.  I am about to plagiarize from Ludo's blog post located here so please read it for more detail on how Anton put this solution together.  I am going to focus on the business angle of this important innovation using LDAP.  Again, I hope David Kearns is reading because this is really what "Pimping Your Directory" is all about.

More and more companies are having to support mobile workforces or employees that work a portion of their time at home.  Sun has been one of the leaders in this space.  Not only does it improve productivity but it gives knowledgeworkers more empowerment thus improving their quality of work and life and thus loyalty to the company that employs them.  However, the tools that support these workers have been slow to catch-up.  Company Directories are a good example.  How many times do employees call the 1-800 number to get an employee number to make a phone call on the road?  As a consultant, I used to do this all the time.  As a Sun employee, I have used this feature more than once while traveling to different trade shows, between offices, etc.  This ties up valuable resources who could be routing real customer calls! I have realized this paradox but when you have to get something done you go through the path of least resistance.  And, let's face it voice portals have not replaced human beings in either efficiency or effectiveness.

Here is where the innovator at Sun, Anton Bobrov, filled the gap. The Sun IT and Directory Teams recognized this gap a long time ago and placed a limited version of the employee directory outside the firewall.  It is a great tool if you have a web browser and don't want to VPN into the network.  However, Anton realized there was a better solution via the iPhone.  He has developed an iPhone App that is an LDAP browser that allows employees to connect to this Directory outside the firewall and quickly search, find an employee and make the phone call from one device.  My vote for iPhone App of the Year would be for the LDAP app by Zen and our very own Anton Bobrov. 

The Business Case

So hypothetically, using Company A with 33,000 employees as an example, imagine 5% of employees have an iPhone.  Imagine that same 5% make one phone call a week or 52 calls per year to the 1-800 number to get a phone call.  Imagine each call takes 2 min of productivity away from the call center employee then this simple application could save approximately 2,860 hours.  Put another way this is 1.43 FTE per year worth of productivity.

Number of Employees

 33,000 Employees 

Percent that have iPhone

 5% Employees 

Number of Employees with iPhone

 1,650 Employees 

Number of calls made per year to 1-800 per week by one employee
 52 calls per year per employee
Total number of calls made in a year
 85,800 calls per year
Total number of hours taken (avg time per search 2 min)  2,860 hours
 Number of Employees Needed to Cover this Task (50 weeks \* 40 hours)  1.43 FTE's

Please see Ludo's blog for more detail on how the app works and what Anton did to build it.  His bog is located here.

ZEN Directory App for iPhoneZEN Directory App for iPhone and iTouch

How do you get it?

Go to the App Store and seach "LDAP".  You want to download the Zen version for $3.99.  Refer to the cost savings table above if you balk at the price.  Here are the configuration details for Sun's directory, as described in Ludo's blog here.

Here's the settings that I've used (once you've installed the Directory application, there is a "Directory" section in the Settings application).

Identity: cn=John Smith (12345),ou=people,dc=sun,dc=com
[your Sun ID should be enclosed in brackets and watch the spaces]
Password: My Sun password
LDAP: book.sun.com
(Keep the remaining untouched).

How do I get one for my company?

If you are employee at a company that has a large mobile workforce you should show this blog post to an IT Director, Call Center Director, or someone who can make this project happen.  This is a quick win for most companies in improving productivity.  You can use DSEE or OpenDS with replication to create the directory instance outside the firewall.  Publish a configuration guide for employees and start improving productivity.

Tuesday May 12, 2009

Pimping for Directory Again! 450,000+ LDAP Operations per second

As I mentioned last week, David Kearns, wrote a great article a few weeks back titled "Pimp My Directory".  It is rare that you can use a theme for a blog entry twice in the same seven day span but when you here results like this I hope you agree....Sun is pimping their Directory.

Benoit Chaffanjon did an interesting "Benchmarketing" (you have to read his blog to understand why he calls it that) that showed Directory Server Enterprise Edition may be able to support 450,000 + LDAP operations per second.   The benchmarketing was done on a Sun Blade 6000 using the Intel Xeon x5560 on OpenSolaris.  All the gory details can be read in Benoit's blog here.  This is mind-blowing when you consider the cost of transaction per second and also what this might look like on an SSD.  We are doing some further testing as Mark Craig mentions in his blog not only to validate these amazing results but also to confirm the performance using OpenSSO and on a SSD.

You can Try It by clicking button below:


Here is one table taken from Benoit's blog

Modify Operations Performed  

Count

Avg/Second

Avg/Interval

Std Dev

Corr Coeff

4806293

4179.383

20896.913

55.65

-0.061

Modify Time (ms)  

Total Duration

Total Count

Avg Duration

Avg Count/Interval

Std Dev

Corr Coeff

29812733

480600

6.203

20895.652

0.19

-0.068

Search Operations Performed  

Count

Avg/Second

Avg/Interval

Std Dev

Corr Coeff

38452462

33436.922

167184.609

447.43

-0.061

Initial Search Time (ms)  

Total Duration

Total Count

Avg Duration

Avg Count/Interval

Std Dev

Corr Coeff

5000859

4807211

10.403

20900.913

0.375

0.015

Subsequent Search Time (ms)  

Total Duration

Total Count

Avg Duration

Avg Count/Interval

Std Dev

Corr Coeff

146366814

33643572

4.351

146276.391

0.189

0.171

You can Try and Buy one of these machines today. 



Monday May 11, 2009

Directory Server Webinar: Improve Enterprise Performance

The team is back from our successful trip to the European Identity ConferenceLudo and Mark Craig did a great job on the Identity Bus and Virtual Directory panels.  I will have more about this later in the week.  

I wanted to pass along a quick note about an upcomming webinar on Directory Services which will be held May 20.  The webinar will cover how to reduce cost and improve the speed and performance of your enterprise using directory services.  The conversation will go over the following:

  • How to use save cost by consolidating identity sprawl in your enterprise
  • How to meet agressive time-lines on a merger and acquisition
  • How to federate faster with virtual directories

If you are interested, please sign-up here.  Even if you are not able to attend, registering will give you access to the replay.

Oh, and that is not Craig MacDonald in the picture to the right.  I got this from a very talented photographer in the Creative Commons here.

Wednesday May 06, 2009

Pimping For Directory. Can your directory server do this?

David Kearns recently wrote an article for Network World called "Pimp my directory" so when Matt Swift wrote me about some interesting results from OpenDS Performance Testing, I could not resist borrowing the title to show what we are doing at Sun to innovate in OpenDS.  Now before I go to far into the detail I will offer the following disclaimer that the data being represented here are results from preliminary performance testing on OpenDS.  It is indicative of true performance and we are proud of these early results but we also are doing more formal performance testing, like we always do at Sun, to ensure these are more than just marketing benchmarks.   

Matt Swift and the OpenDS team deserve a lot of credit for thier great work because they are radically reducing the total cost of ownership for running a directory server.  Here are some of the latest statistics.  I will let Matt explain the gory detail on his blog but the bottom line is that with a 10M user test on a X4150 with 8CPU's and basic internal disks the team was able to perform between 12,000 and 14,000 modifications per second.  Yes.....Modifications!!!  Imagine what this would look like on SSD's.  Watch this space as we pimp our directory.

Lastly, this is just a small example of why Sun Open Source is the best in the industry for enterprises that need commercial grade software.  The unit testing and performance testing our teams do before we release a milestone or commercial version is the best in the industry.  Every day we put our reputation on the line as we expose builds for people to use in production environments.  Each daily build of OpenDS has 10M user test performed against it.  Each Milestone build has a 30M user performance test run to ensure data centers have telco grade software to run in their environments. 

Directory Experts Speak at European Identity Conference

Ludo Poitou and Mark Craig from Sun Microsystems will be a part of two illustrious panels at the European Identity Conference today.  Ludo will be a part of the panel talking about the Identity Bus which is a topic that Felix Gaethens, Kim Cameron, and David Kearns talked about last year.  The discussion should be interesting becasue Sun has some of the products necessary to create the "identity bus" today through OpenDS, DSEE, Virtual Directory, OpenSSO, Identity Manager Connectors, and Netbeans,  You don't need all of these to create the bus but a standards based way of storiing and accessing identities and then leveraging them via other applications or into the cloud are all possible using the tools at Sun.

Mark Craig will be joining Oracle, Radiant Logic and Symlabs in talking about Virtual Directories and their importance to Directory Services.  Sun includes it's virtual directory features as a part of it's core product and license so all customers who use DSEE 6.3 today have a virtual directory already as a part of their license.  Mark will be explaining how customers are using Virtual Directory to do data center consolidation, simplify mergers and acquisitions, and federate faster using Sun's Virtual Directory.

About

Sharing 12 years of technology experience as developer, product and program manager, and marketing director. Identity Management, Security, and Product Management issues occupy my mind during the working day. Water Polo keeps me healthy.

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