Virtual directory finally gains recognition

* Happenings in the virtual directory world

Virtual directory systems have been an integral ingredient in this newsletter's content since before it was called the "Identity Management" newsletter (it used to be called the "Directory Services" newsletter). Some think of virtual directories as the "Rodney Dangerfield" of identity management though - they don't get no respect. I prefer to think of them as the Ethernet of identity management.

For many years, during the late 1980s and early 90s, pundits were forever predicting that Ethernet was doomed and would be replaced. It would be replaced by Token-Ring, FDDI, ATM to the desktop, even frame relay! But if you had a dime for every network with ATM to the desktop today, you'd be hard pressed to get a venti cappuccino at your local Starbucks. Ethernet is still with us and only wireless networking seems destined to be able to break its big majority in network connections.

Similarly, the pundits in the 90s predicted that meta-directories - big, all-encompassing and physically imposing enterprise-wide directories would replace all of the many identity datastores that existed in our organizations. Last I looked, we all still had a plethora of identity datastores and their number wasn't shrinking. So virtual directories that contain only pointers to data rather than the data itself are more visible than ever in identity management rollouts and implementations.

Oracle has strengthened OctetString's virtual directory and tightly integrated it into all of the other identity management products and services it has developed and/or acquired (see Oracle's Virtual Directory page).

MaXware recently announced that its revenue for the first half of 2006 experienced "significant growth" which the company attributed to the "growing market adoption of virtualization as a critical component of identity management and security projects."

Radiant Logic has announced its second "Virtual Directory Users Group" meeting, which will take place in conjunction with next month's Digital ID World conference. Once again, I'll be addressing this group, this time the talk is called "The Evolution of Virtual Directory: From Proxy to Identity Service." Plus, you get a free lunch. (Or maybe that should be "at least you get a free lunch"!)

At the recent O'Reilly Open Source Conference a few weeks ago, Jim Yang, creator of Penrose, the open source virtual directory project, told me that Penrose was not only in a new release but also attracting more attention than ever.

Virtualization is hot and a virtual directory is the building block, or foundation, you should be looking at for your next identity management project.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.