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Posts Tagged ‘Identity Management

An important milestone just got passed by Google – one of the big enterprise identity management vendors out there – Quest Software (full disclosure: I work for the company) – has added Google Apps as a directory to which they can provision identities and access.

One might argue that this is a small thing considering that Quest is by far not the first vendor to enter Google’s ecosystem. Google Solutions Marketplace lists a few hundred solutions and services around Google Apps and Enterprise Search.

However, Quest is the first among the big systems management (Quest, HP, CA, BMC, Symantec) and identity management (Quest, Oracle, Sun, Novell) vendors to get in there and this is a very important milestone for Google’s acceptance in the enterprise.

Technically, what Quest did was adding a Google Apps “connector” into their identity management and provisioning platform – ActiveRoles Server. This is an AD-centric platform which helps enterprises keep all their systems in-sync with Active Directory and automates the necessary identity management operations (provision or deprovision access, invoke associated approval workflows, check relevant policies and so on). Here’s a quick graphics from their whitepaper:

QuickConnect for Online Services

Obviously similar functionality is provided by Quest for multiple other enterprise platforms ranging from mainframes to Lotus Notes. Now Google Apps is one of them. Google becoming just yet another enterprise platform people want to get integrated with Active Directory, HR databases and their identity management systems. Boring. For Google, obviously, in a good way. 😉

See a little bit more information in this whitepaper (requires registration.)

Recording from my TEC session on IT professional view on identity management and AD-integration for Exchange Online and Windows Azure has just got posted:

Enjoy!

You can find other session recordings from TEC (including keynote!) here.

Also, if you are based in Europe – TEC Europe in coming to Berlin in September and early bird discounts are still available – see the conference site for details.

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Bob Ives published an overview of Webex Connect and it looks like SharePoint Online and other soon to be released Microsoft-hosted collaboration tools are going to face pretty tough competition from Cisco.

Feature-to-feature both companies are offering a very similar set of technologies: messaging, presence, document sharing, web meetings. So what’s the difference?

It looks like the companies took vastly different approaches. Microsoft (as it seems – the product has not been released yet) basically took their existing Exchange, SharePoint and LiveMeeting servers, and can now host them for you in their datacenter.

These are more or less the same products you would use today with on-premise deployments, except that instead of your corporate Active Directory identities you would have a set of Live IDs forming your corporate directory in the cloud, which you can set to automatically sync with AD (no password sync though – users need to run a sign-in utility on their computers if they don’t want to type in the credentials manually).

This means that basically, the main value proposition is that you get Microsoft to run the servers for you and save on the administration costs. However, the services are still targeted at the use within your company.

Cisco (which owns Webex) seems to be forming the suite from another side. They took Webex as a foundation and added persistent team collaboration to it. So from what I can say, their suite is going to be more integrated and far better suited to external collaboration.

How easy is it to invite someone not working for your company to your SharePoint? Almost impossible. ADFS was supposed to be the answer but never took off, and your IT has to figure out a way to create and maintain accounts for all external users – which is a huge headache. SharePoint Online does not seem to have any changes to make it work across the enterprise boundaries any better than its on-premise cousin.

By contrast, how easy is it to invite someone external to your Webex meeting? A piece of cake! You just need to type in the email address. From Webex Connect information posted on the Cisco site it seems that this approach will now work for all the other functionality at Webex Connect. Which means that business owners will now be able to easily invite their partners to their project site – isn’t it the way online collaboration should be?

Again, we will obviously have to wait and see what the Microsoft’s final solution will be but from what we know today it looks like Microsoft’s early corporate success and enterprise-oriented identity system is now holding them in the new era of cross-business online collaboration.

You can get a demo of Microsoft’s solution here and on Webex Connect here.

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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer Jelastic or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2008-2012 Dmitry Sotnikov

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